Day-by-Day Job Search
Because searching for a job is a job in itself, you should be busy performing job search tasks all week long. Here is a handy weekly planning guide to a successful job search.
Traditionally, this is a day of rest, but not for the ambitious job seeker. The Sunday editions of many newspapers contain the thickest "want ad" section. Let the others rest, if you want to be the early bird who catches the employment worm, then you should spend this day poring over the employment section of your area newspaper. Pay attention to specific skills and requirements. Be prepared to customize your résumé and cover letter to demonstrate your expertise in the desired areas.
As many people begin the work week a little sluggish from the weekend, you are energized because you have cover letters to write and résumés to send in response to the employment ads you perused yesterday. Wake up early and get these documents produced and sent out. You want your résumé to be the first one they see.
Today is the day you will post your résumé online with an Internet job site. There are specific rules for Web postings, so make sure you read the site's requirements and follow them closely. You don't want a silly mistake or missed keyword to mean your résumé is passed up by potential employers. Set up auto searches and alerts to put the online job site to work for you. Make a list and bookmark company job sites where you'd like to work. This will make frequent scanning for new listings much easier.
Today is the day you will attend or at least research local job fairs where hundreds of potential employers will be waiting to talk to you. While most take place during the day, some occur after work hours. If you are currently working, schedule the morning or afternoon off. When you first arrive, obtain a list of participating companies and focus in on the ones you most want to work for. This will save you time and help you narrow your search. Collect business cards and company collateral materials. Afterwards, review your notes while they're still fresh in your mind.
Thursdays were made for networking. Today you will make calls to industry colleagues, set up meetings with contacts after work or sign up to attend a professional seminar. Follow up with an e-mail to each person you met at yesterday's job fair. Today, everyone you meet or contact will learn that you are seriously looking to make a move. The more people who know you are in the market for a new job, the greater your chances of hearing about a potential opportunity.
Fridays are important. Not only does Friday signal the end of the work week, it also means it's time for you to assess all you have done this week to get a new job. Check to see if any further follow-up from your week's efforts are needed before the day is over. Double check your wardrobe to ensure it's in good shape for the coming week. Celebrate all that you have accomplished in pursuit of new employment. Enjoy yourself tonight. You deserve it. Take a rest and recharge that battery because you've got another full week ahead of you.
Today will not be spent falling asleep on the couch watching sports. Instead, today you will plan your schedule of job search tasks for the next week. Create and/or update files with new leads, contacts and developments. Is there someone you wanted to talk to but couldn't because they were out of town? Make sure they get on next week's schedule. Do you need to restock your supply of résumés for the next job fair? Did you send in your registration for that seminar you want to attend? Today you prepare, because tomorrow, once again, it's full steam ahead!
In addition to these tasks, some activities should be performed daily. Check your e-mail for responses and online alerts. Listen to and empty your voice mail to ensure you have room for that important call to come in. Check your favorite employers' Web sites to see if any new listings have posted. And, each day take time to exercise, eat healthy and get plenty of rest to keep up your energy level and motivation.