One of the most difficult parts of a job search is finding the time, especially when you currently have a full time job during the week. The last thing you want to do when you get home at night is spend hours updating your resume, writing personalized cover letter, search through job postings, etc. In this new series of posts we will review one tip each Friday for you to focus on in the coming weekend.
This weekend create a list of priorities and a schedule for your job search.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” - Stephen R. Covey
Organization is key to ensure you have proper time to wind down from the past week, spend dedicate time for your job search and still prepare yourself for the week ahead. Look to the main key tasks you have to get done: update resume, reach out to network about leads and possible opportunities, search job postings, update online profiles and work samples, customize cover letters, etc. First thing is to identify the priorities. Create a list of all the items that need to get done. Identify the top 2 things that are the most important and create a schedule that focuses specifically on those. If you spread yourself too thin on the weekend you will not have time to relax or have anything of quality to show for your hard work.
Here is our shortlist of priorities in your job search:
#1 Identify Strengths and Weaknesses – It’s important to spend time being introspective. Think about your past and current position. What did you like about the daily tasks? How was the environment? Where did you succeed and fail? Reviewing this information will not only provide insights for your resume and cover letters, it will help you identify the company types, industries and positions you to target in your job search.
#2 Update Resume – Continually improving the information on your resume to focus specifically on your achievements and interests will make it a clearer representation of you as an individual. The more unique and honest your resume, the more it will stand out compared to others.
#3 Update LinkedIn Profile – Your online profile and network is a key piece that is often underutilized in a job search. Use this tool to your full advantage by first updating your profile – update your headline, summary and experience section with details from your resume. Remember to include keywords! These are what will identify you as a potential candidate to recruiters on LinkedIn.
#4 Connect with Past Colleagues – As mentioned before, LinkedIn is underutilized. This professional circle it connects you with has amazing power but you will never understand it until you use it. Email past colleagues who work at new organizations to see if they have any recommendations for you on openings or if they can refer you. Next, look to see if your past colleagues are connected to anyone at the organizations you are targeting in your job search. If so, they can give you insights that may help you land that interview and job.
#5 Create a template for cover letters – Having a standardized template that is customizable will save time. Bottom line. Yes it is important to customize each cover letter for each position, but you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Create a template that allows you to insert Company Names, Job Titles, key skills and related past accomplishments. Having the skills and accomplishments listed as bullet points in your cover letter will allow you to easily delete the irrelevant information each time you are submitting your resume. With this template, say goodbye to writing from scratch and say hello to reducing your resume submission time from 30 minutes to 5.
#6 Search and send – Do not get overwhelmed or stressed when you are searching job boards. Choose only one or two sites and setup email alerts and RSS feeds so that jobs matching your interests or desired title get delivered straight to your inbox. (Need to have a RSS Feed Reader i.e. Google Reader.) Then when a job comes in take 5 minutes to customize your cover letter and submit your resume. You will be more productive with a system like this setup then just submitting your resume to every position you see that ‘could’ be a good fit.
Once you have made your list of priorities and scheduled dedicated time in your weekend, make sure to stick to your plan and don’t forget to leave room for relaxing! The right mindset is a necessity in order to tackle your job search and continue to be successful at your current job.
By Liz Mazzei, Marketing Manager at Wall Street Services