You need to think about organizing your career search and defining a strategy that will get you the job you want. Here are some tips you can implement today to manage the time you spend on your job search.
1. Clean your desk.
They say that a cluttered desk is a sign of a creative mind, but it’s also a sign that you’ve gotten off track with your plan. Take 15 minutes every morning to go through an old stack of papers or file bills. Put all those business cards you collected into stack.
Simple strategy for today: Put your business card collection into sandwich baggies. You can label the outside of the bag with industry, company, or other type of contact, and you’ll have the cards stacked neatly at the ready when you need them.
2. Make a list of the contacts you’ve been meaning to call.
Get your networking strategy off the ground by determining whom you need to reach. Networking—online or in real life–is now the number one method of finding a job. For you to use this critical network effectively you’ll need to record whom you have contacted, what they said, and when you plan to reach them again.
Simple strategy for today: Build a networking spreadsheet. Label the columns with name, dates, subject, industry, and anything else you find relevant to your job search. Keep this record of your contacts up to date, and you’ll always have a handy reference to your networking strategy.
3. Answer a LinkedIn question.
Remind your LinkedIn contacts that you’re still in the game and that you truly are an expert in your field. Pick a question or two and deliver great resources. You’ll prove yourself to be an online expert and likely gain some new connections for your network (see #2 above).
Simple strategy for today: It takes a lot of effort to use online resources effectively without getting distracted by all of the possibilities the web has to offer. Commit to answering one or two questions, then walk away from your computer. Don’t spin your wheels trying to find a job online when you could be calling a contact or going to a networking group in real time or face to face.
4. Read a book on career search strategy.
My weekly trips to the bookstore reveal that there are simply dozens of career strategy books. Clear your mind and get some good information at the same time (not to mention a great cup of coffee). Sit down with yourself for an hour and learn something new.
Simple strategy for today: The next time you’re completing #3 above, ASK this question of your LinkedIn network: What is the best book you’ve read on improving your career search strategy. You’ll get some amazing advice, and, again, effortlessly build your connection base.
5. Do whatever it was that you were planning to do for your career search but got sidetracked.
We all get sidetracked. It’s human nature to be attracted to the next best thing. I know that you’ve had something in your head that you have been meaning to do that you simply keep forgetting to do. Set a time and a date to do this one thing, and commit to getting it done.
Simple strategy for today: Write down this one thing you have been meaning to do. Someone once said that a goal is only a wish until you write it down—make this one thing an actual task with deadlines and boundaries. Put this goal on an index card and tape it above your desk. When you finish, hang up another index card with another goal. You’ll be amazed at how much you can complete and how far your own personal career search strategy will take you.