Job seeking, whether it’s full-time or part-time, can take up a lot of your time and energy. If unorganised, it can be easy to lose track of time spent, work or simply forget what you did and when. Much like a typical day job, it can be a good idea to add a bit of structure and routine to your job search. You may prefer to take tasks as they come and go, but routine can be beneficial in a variety of different ways. If you’re struggling with your job search or find it hard to keep a routine, why not try some of the suggestions below? They may just help you get into the swing of things and help towards a successful job search.
Why should you consider a specific routine?
Not only can a daily routine help you keep control of your job search, but it can help reduce stress, help your emotional-wellbeing, and even help you control your energy levels. Routine can be helpful during times of unreliability and when you have a lot happening at once, it can help you prioritise and get the work you need to do, done.
Structure can also help with your memory. It helps you get used to doing certain things on a certain day or specific time and can become like muscle memory.
A routine is all about prioritising your time. Choosing what you should be doing, setting deadlines, as well as taking time out for yourself. It can also help with focus, productivity and sometimes, your overall mood. You should factor in time for yourself, and other life admin as well, not just prioritise work and your job search. So, what could be included in your weekly plan?
Research is a key part of job seeking and the time taken to make sure this stage is done right, is frequently underestimated. There are also so many different elements of research that should be a crucial part of your job search.
The jobs – This may seem obvious for a job search, but simply looking for jobs, researching companies and job titles can be a lengthy process. You should be exploring different job titles as well. Sometimes, multiple job titles or names are used to describe a single role. So don’t miss out on opportunities because you aren’t searching for specific job titles.
Location – As well as job titles, job locations are usually shared on the employer’s advert or job description. Think about important questions:
- Where do you want to work?
- How far would you be willing to travel into work?
- Are there remote working opportunities?
Location research can be a key thing that a lot of people forget to look into. But location can be just as important as the role to some individuals.
Salary – Money is important. When you’re looking for a new job, you might not be 100% aware of average salaries for specific job titles. It’s important to know what the industry average is and what you should be entitled to, before applying for roles and heading to interviews. Take the time to research salaries, see what companies are paying and what your work is worth.
Employers – When you are invited to an interview, it’s good practice to research the company and double check your facts. It can be simple things like who they are, what they do and their latest projects. But check before you apply, you don’t want to waste time applying for roles at a company that can’t give you what you want in a job.
Searching for jobs
Looking for jobs is obviously the most important part of a job search. You want to be looking for roles that suit you, fit your criteria and provide you with the benefits and work life you want. This, however, can feel like a very long and gruelling task. (That will hopefully be worth it in the long run)
It may be a good idea to block out an entire day in your weekly plan for just job searching. This includes:
- Using search engines
- Searching on careers pages and job sites
- Saving jobs that are of interest to you, so you can apply later
Take time to simply search for jobs. Browse career sites, read through the job specs, and save them to double check at a later time or date. This might not be your preferred technique, but if you need somewhere to start, this technique can be very useful.
If job searching can feel overwhelming, searching and saving for later can be a good technique. This way, you have the job saved so you don’t lose it and you can give every job another read before applying. This means a thorough read of the job spec, a bit of background around the company and just double checking it would be a good fit for you. Read each job carefully and apply one at a time. This will also help with tailoring your CV.
Make sure you are also checking the end dates on job descriptions. This way you’re not likely to miss deadlines and you can prioritise job applications by date. Don’t let dates be the thing stopping you finding the job for you.
You should be tailoring your CV to each role you apply for. It can be a good idea to have a dedicated day of the week for this task. It should be after you have searched for and saved the jobs you want to go back and apply for. This way, you know what to include in your CV and you can slowly apply for jobs one-by-one.
Before applying for any jobs, it’s important to make sure that all of your contact information is up to date, to ensure employers can actually get in touch. As well as including all of your latest employment information in the experience section. It might be worth having a once over of your personal statement whilst you’re at it.
Amending your CV can be a tedious task, but the perk is, once you have one, you have a good template to work from when you go back and start making amends or tailoring it for specific jobs. Tailoring your CV is very important. It can be easy to just send the same CV to every employer but then it’s not personalised to them. The job spec tells you exactly what they’re looking for, so if you can, make your CV exactly what they want in a candidate.
Your cover letter should be sent with your initial application. Your CV isn’t easily forgotten, and your cover letter should also be high on the priority list. If it fits in with your schedule and you have time, it could be a good idea to work on your cover letter as and when you are tailoring your CV. This saves time and ensures the correct cover letter is sent with the matching version of your CV.
Cover letters can be easily forgotten and undervalued but it’s a document that can be extremely valued by employers. It also gives you a chance to talk about elements of your career history that you may not have been able to fit onto your CV. So don’t forget this part!
Pencil in interviews
Amongst all the job searching and CV amendments, you should be making sure you have time for the all-important interviews. These are what you are working towards, so don’t forget to pencil in time. Once you have an interview in your diary, it may be a good idea to take a bit of time to prepare for these individually.
Have an interview bag – A lot of employers will ask for the same things when you are invited to an interview. Your CV, examples of your work, qualifications etc. So, if you keep all of this in one folder, you can just pop it in your bag and be ready to go.
Research the company – As mentioned above, researching each employer beforehand can be very handy. Make notes and take these with you if you feel necessary.
Have your questions – For any interview, it’s good to have questions prepared. There may be certain questions you have as a default to ask every employer, so keep these handy in a notebook. If you have employer specific questions, keep note of these beforehand as well.
Make sure you are leaving time for interviews. Some may give you more time to prepare than others, so it’s a good idea to leave a bit of space in your dairy for impromptu interviews. They may not happen often, but if they do, you have time available.
Usually, employers will give you a bit of time to prepare. So, make sure you are aware of the times and dates for all of your interviews and keep a diary. This makes it harder to forget and miss something important. It’s easily done.
Take time to recover
A job search isn’t always smooth sailing, and you need to make sure you are giving yourself the time you need and deserve to rest. Typical jobs will usually give you 2 days off a week, so why should your job search be any different? Make sure you are having rest days, like a weekend, to catch-up on rest, spend time with your family and prioritise other life commitments. It can be easy to let a job search take over all of your time, but a good work-life balance is all about finding time that suits you and working at your own pace.
Choose your days off and stick to them. In order to have a successful job search, you need to be taking care of both your physical and mental wellbeing. Take time for yourself and prioritise it. The more rested you are, the more motivated you may be to carry on when it’s time to get back to job seeking.
What could a weekly plan look like for you?
Our weekly schedules are all going to look and be different. The key here is to not compare yourself to anyone else. We all have different commitments; amounts of time and boundaries we need to adhere to. Below is a simple example of what your job seeking work week could look like.
Monday (am) – Research time
Monday (pm) – Start searching for and saving jobs
Tuesday (am) – Follow on searching for and save jobs of interest
Tuesday (pm) – Start filtering through jobs you have saved and deleting ones that are of no interest
Wednesday (am) – Do some background research on the jobs you are interested in
Wednesday (pm) – Start tailoring your CV and cover letters (choose a certain number of jobs to begin with)
Thursday (am) – Finish tailoring your CV and cover letters
Thursday (pm) – Apply for the roles you have tailored your CV to
Friday (am) – A mixture of the above tasks if you feel there is still more to do
Friday (pm) – Start planning next week, consider space and time for interviews
Saturday & Sunday – Time off
The above can be used as a simple structure to get you into your own job seeking routine. This may change week-by-week, as your routine develops, and you need to fit in interviews and prioritise certain tasks. It will also look different if you are working alongside your job search or weekends aren’t good days off for you. It will be different for everyone.
Routines can take time to get used to. It is likely to take a few weeks to get used to and find the right way to work for you. We all have different working styles, so the above might not work for you, or it may be just the thing you are looking for. Structure it how you like but bear in mind that it might change as your job search develops. Which is why it can be so important to take time at the end of your week, to plan for the week ahead. Job seeking can feel like a full-time job at times, so make sure you are planning for it and time doesn’t get the better of you.