BY RICK WOLF, CAREER PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL – ST. LOUIS
The pace of life and work has drastically changed compared to what it used to be. In the 80s and 90s, you spent the majority of your time making sure your resume didn’t show the whiteout from all your revisions. Your primary focus was responding to “want ads” in the newspaper and contacting a few search firms, with just a little networking sprinkled in for good luck. You followed a standard job search process, and after applying to a number of companies, you hopefully received an offer.
A few things have changed since then. We now have email, company websites, company research databases, recruiting databases, numerous job boards, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many other technology platforms to deal with during a typical job search, in order to succeed.
As the adage goes, looking for a job is a full-time job. Well, like any type of work, being disorganized can prolong your workday, thus prolonging your search and making it that much more difficult.
In fact, you can probably go through most, if not all, of your contacts by sending emails with your resume attached in about 15-20 minutes. So, what steps can you take in the early stages of your job search to best manage your transition efforts and make the best use of your valuable time?
Here are 8 recommendations that will save precious time and organize your efforts:
Choose a Contact Manager you are comfortable with and use it
Decide on which contact manager will work best for you. Whether it is Outlook, Google Contacts, Gmail, or even Excel spreadsheets, you’ll need one of these tools to organize your search effectively. The key is to pick one that you will use, keep it accurate and update it religiously. There’s even a tool out there called JibberJobber, an online platform designed to effectively organize your job search efforts in a way that’s easy to understand.
Use a File Naming Method that works for you
So as not to get confused with the many resume versions, cover letters, and thank-you notes that you will be sending during your job search, get a system for naming your files so that you can get them when needed.
Use a Calendar that syncs to your cell phone
Your goal is to make the job search process as easy as possible, and keeping a calendar that is accurate and automatically updates when you add dates/times from your computer will make life so much easier. This way, you won’t miss that important networking coffee meeting.
Update your LinkedIn profile and picture
Unlike many other job search tools, LinkedIn also plays a major role in modern professional networking even when employed. It can even be used for sales and marketing purposes by organizations. Make sure your profile gives an excellent overview of your strengths and potential, not just an “autopsy” of your work. Also, if you don’t have a good “head shot” photo…get one. Every potential search firm, recruiter, and hiring manager will be looking at it.
Make sure your time is well spent and covers all key job-search areas simultaneously
Always make sure you are dividing your time/activities between doing company research, researching job boards, networking, personal development, and even taking personal time so as not to get burned out. Looking for a job is tough enough. If you don’t break it down into doing numerous and diverse activities every week, you will not uncover enough potential opportunities.
Push yourself to attend breakfasts, lunches, and even select dinner meetings to network
If you are like many, you have fallen away from the active networking because what little time you had, you devoted to your family and friends. Now you must re-engage in that process. If you dislike networking events, invite a friend to go with you to lower the pressure. Think of it this way, with all of the time you are going to save utilizing the wonderful technology that’s available, you will have more time for personal meetings. Availing yourself of these time-saving tools is a stress reliever and can have a major impact in your job search.
Create a timeline to track your weekly and monthly goals in your job search
Unless you are committed to tracking your efforts and improving on them, you will never know how you are progressing. You can lose valuable time and miss opportunities in the job search process without maintaining such a record.
Stay upbeat and focused on your end goal
This is, by far, the most important step. It is your attitude and the lifeblood of your job search. No matter how challenging and frustrating your search may get, never lose site of the end goal…a great job that you are excited about and will bring out your best.
Job searches are no easy task. You’ll face difficult issues that may force you to make major changes in your career path. However, by following these tips you’ll be able to ensure that your transition is quick and efficient. Which of these tips have you found effective in previous job searches.
A St. Louis native with over 25 years of experience, Rick’s areas of expertise include assessments, development, performance management, career transition, executive search, succession planning, and career planning. He is certified in the Trimetrix Assessment System, DISC, and the PIAV. Active in the community, Rick served on the SLU John Cook School of Business Alumni Board, the West County YMCA Board and co-chaired the annual Night to Remember for the St. Louis Chapter of Alzheimer’s Assoc.