26 Jun How To Create A Job Hunting Routine
Career Coaching and Job Searches: Creating Your Own Job Hunting Routine
I am currently working with someone who was made redundant around six months ago. When he first came to see me, he announced: “Six months ago I felt as though I had all the time in the world and didn’t do much to find a job; three months ago I was filling in job applications and sending off on spec inquiries practically all day long; now I can hardly make the effort to do an online job search. I need some motivation back.” This was how he described his predicament.
Motivation for Job Hunting
There is both a simple and a complicated answer to this one. The complicated one is to really dig deep and find something he longs to do so that there is the motivation there. Meanwhile, money has to come in from somewhere so we also have to adopt the simple method, and that’s to create a job search routine.
Before we talk about that, however, let’s address the subject of motivation. It’s a very common and modern fallacy that we can only achieve a goal if we are under the influence of motivation, if our passion has been sparked, and we feel led along a certain path. Sorry. That is absolute rubbish. Yes, motivation and passion are fantastic if you have them, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Often, the only way you will get there is by taking a big breath and doing it, perhaps over and over again. So, let’s put our obsession with motivation to the side for the moment and concentrate on getting things done.
Creating Your Own Routine: the Rules
1. Make it attractive
What can you do to make this a (relatively) enjoyable experience? Can you head to the local coffee shop and work on your job applications for 2-3 hours a day over a coffee or two? You’ll get a nice buzz from being around people and soon you’ll become a regular and benefit from that interaction with the staff and other regulars…something which can be supportive if you’re missing the social aspect of your past employment.
If you’re isolating how can you make your environment work for you? Can you lock yourself away in a particular room at home with a cup of your favorite tea and a plate of biscuits and relish the quiet? Having a set place just for your job finding work will help get you in the right frame of mind much faster, but it will also help you switch off too, when you’ve finished for the day.
2. Have a time limit
If you’re spending all day, every day on this you will burn out. Give yourself a timetable, perhaps with a day off now and again, and keep to it. What you think is sensible is up to you. I encourage clients to set aside a few hours every day of a non working day.
3. Sneak in the back way
If all you are doing is sending out CV after CV you are soon going to get bored. My suggestion is to find an organisation that you can intern with for a while or do some volunteer work, and get out there meeting people. This will also help you polish your skills and open up your horizons. You will have something fresh and up to date to talk upon on your CV and in interviews, and keep that energy up and vibrant.
4. Schedule in regular reviews
If you are sending CVs right, left and centre and nothing is happening, maybe it is time to book an appointment to look at your CV or covering letter. If you are getting interviews but not getting past the first meeting once, again, a little more polishing may be helpful. I would suggest you have your own review session once a month at the very least.
5. Take a job just for the money
You may have your heart set on something but feel that time is running out, financially. If so, think about taking on a job, just for the money. The trick here is to take on something that doesn’t seep into your non working hours so you can keep your head focused on your dream job hunt. Meanwhile, you take the pressure off financially. Another plus is that you’ll also be meeting people too. This keeps you feeling connected, confident and widens your network. You may be tired at first, especially if you’ve been out of the routine of work for a while, but soon you’ll be up to speed and back to the job hunting routine.
This is also a good thing to do if you find an unstructured life is making you a bit depressed. Imposing structure really helps some people. I’ve even known people decide to go back to University to get some structure to their day. There’s no shame in it; just recognise and work with that need.
6. Shake it up
Do different things every day. So Monday might be a day of looking through the online job listings. Tuesday is for phoning agencies and keeping in touch with them. Wednesday you’ll be going through all your trade or industry newsletters and papers to see what positions are being offered there. Thursday could be spent on LinkedIn and Friday actually on the phone and contacting old industry contacts. It’s up to you how you structure it. However, if you’re checking out the job ads every day and nothing new is coming up, you are going to feel a fatigued and deflated. This way, you give them a week to change and keep things varied for you.
7. Reward yourself
Don’t wait until you get that to to reward yourself. If you’ve done a month of keeping to your routine, give yourself a treat. Book yourself a massage, buy yourself a new book or just take a day off and catch a train to the coast.
A good regular job hunting routine will not only help you get things done, but also stop you burning out. have a think about what type of routine would suit you and start instigating it today!
Paula Gardner is a career psychologist and coach. Contact her at Paula(at) ScarletThinking.com to discuss how career coaching could help you find your dream job.