Five Ways to Find Nine Hours of Job Search Time Per Week
By Lisa Rangel
Want more time to job search? Would you like to find nine hours of job search time per week? Do you find yourself asking these questions?
“How am I supposed to look for a job when I am employed?”
“Finding a job is a full-time job…and I already have a job. How am I supposed to do this?”
Sound familiar? It is a perplexing dilemma in today’s world of over scheduling, multitasking and uber-achievement. But there is help. These strategies and tools have been time-tested to generate at least nine hours per week in time that can be used towards a job search, when these tactics are employed consistently and diligently. Are you up for the challenge?
Here are five ways to find more hours for your job search:
1. Shut off all notifications on your smart phone and your computer. (Gains 2.5 hours minimum per week)
This is not as easy as it sounds. It can be a multistage process and can actually take a couple of weeks to figure out. First, simply turning the Notification Center to the off position for a particular item (ex. email, Facebook) doesn’t necessarily mean you will no longer receive notifications. In addition to that, you have to turn off the alert style (to avoid getting banner alerts) and the badge app icon (or you will receive the icon pop-up notification number that can send your notification addiction back into a frenzy).
These steps need to be taken for every app/function on your phone. This elimination of constant distractions can save approximately ten seconds reviewing each notification, approximately 150 notifications per day conservatively, which is a 2.5 hour savings per week.
2. Unsubscribe from newsletters. Or at least get these out of your main email account. (Gains 3.25 hours per week).
Unsubscribe from newsletters you haven’t read in over a week after receiving it. And others that you read/scan for professional development and general interest, redirect them to another email address dedicated just for newsletters. Some have decided to use Feedly as an alternative to Google Reader. Now Gmail users can use the sorting and prioritization functions to move newsletters to another area. Pick your poison, but do it now.
The good news – your email can decrease to such a point that you feel you need to check that your email is working. (Can you say detox?) The time saved not reading these emails on the fly, being disrupted and having to refocus on a project at hand can be quite significant. At least 45 minutes per day, or 5.25 hours per week. Instead, schedule two one-hour slots per week to read the articles in the designated newsletter email account. And since you are focused on the reading, you can create defined action items from the new knowledge absorbed. Net time saved? 3.25 hours.
3. Set up job search processes and systems to streamline your time. (Gains 1.25 hours per week)
Not having to create letters, resume customizations and other communications from scratch each time will easily save you 1.25 hours per week. If you make five submissions per week and each take you 45 minutes to do (3.75 hours), by setting up personalized templates of your more frequently-used documents and are not starting the customization from scratch, you will easily cut that time by 33%, or a 1.25 hour savings.
Suggested processes to create are:
House your resume as a personal template with sections highlighted to customize each time, but in a simple, time-saving manner. Once you make all of the customizations, then save that version of your resume in a resume file named for future search ease.
Have multiple templates of your personal cover letters created (i.e. Formal, Job Posting Response, Networking Connection, Referred By So-in-So). Like the previous suggestion, do not start your customizations from the beginning each time. Have template variations made with common changes and start your customization further along in the process, thus saving you time.
Organize your time and applications with an Excel spreadsheet, or applications like ApplyMate or JibberJobber to track contact dates, contacts made, and future actions to take.
4. Set up job alerts to have the right jobs forwarded to you. (Gains two hours per week).
Most popular and niche job boards have an alert function. In Google, you can set up Google Alerts, where common searches you perform for job openings can have search results sent to you periodically.
5. Lastly, and this is the most important step, you have to prioritize it.
Learn how to say ‘no’ to commitments that are not supporting your ability to create time for your job search. If you do not prioritize it, no one else will. So you need to protect your time and guard it with your life. Saying ‘no’ is the most powerful way to get this accomplished. If you want to do a job search, you will. No ‘time savings’ for this step, per say, but if your head is focused on your job search, you will find a way to make time for it.
Hopefully these tips will help you find more time for your job search and land the job you’ve been seeking. Another great tip is to find a professional resume writing and job search service to help with your job search. They can save you a considerable amount of time by providing you with an excellent targeted resume.
Lisa Rangel is the Managing Director of Chameleon Resumes, an Executive Resume Writing and Job Search Service.