Jobhunting: make the most of your time

July 2011

word employment in focus under magnifying glassWhen you are out of work it can be difficult to motivate yourself or find the drive to energise your job search. What you do with your time and making the very most of every day is your key to long-term employment success.

Strength in structure

With time on your hands it can be easy to feel like your daily plans are flying out of the window. But doing the simple things well will make your days more productive and get your ball rolling in the right direction. Start with a day-to-day plan of what you need to do and achieve, the contacts and companies you need to call, useful websites to visit and appointments and interviews to attend. Stick to your daily plan and make it part of your routine. This will help you add structure to your week and help you build confidence.

Make good better

Many people also find this to be a great time to revisit their CV and refresh it. This doesn’t mean you need to overegg what’s already there, just try to make a stronger first impression. Keep it simple, honest and well written, preferably on two A4 sides. You should also write two or three paragraphs on a separate page, summarising who you are, what you have accomplished in employment, your abilities, skills and aspirations. These can form a foundation which you can adapt into a cover letter for each application.

Make your time pay

To find the job you want you need to remain productive and willing. Don’t lose hope if it doesn’t happen after a day, week or month. Try to stay busy and occupied with your search. Many recruitment companies and job vacancies appear on the internet and this will probably be your most valuable source. Build a list of your favourite and most useful websites and make it part of your daily and weekly routine to view and apply for new vacancies. Online adverts usually offer an easy and quick way to upload your CV and summary of yourself. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, try your local library or an internet cafe. But don’t focus only in this media. Make sure you invest time searching job boards, trade magazines and local and national newspapers. You can also consider seeking voluntary work as a way back into paid employment. Find out if there is a local or community project you can get involved with. This is a great way to keep your days fresh and stimulating. It also gives you a chance to meet new people perhaps in the same position as you, which may prove to be an excellent source of advice and information. You can even consider getting back into training and education. Choose a course that you’ll enjoy and one that will help your qualifications secure the job you want. This can be inexpensive, sometimes free and an invaluable asset to tell any future employer.

Inspire your interview

When you are out of work your confidence can be hit hard, which can sometimes rear its ugly head during your interview. First impressions say so much and one simple way to put your best foot forward in the real thing is to practise mock interviews with friends and family. You should also spend time beforehand researching the company and job, as well as compiling a short list of essential questions you can ask. After your interview you can also write down a list of everything you did well and didn’t do well. This will help you learn from experience and improve your communication, confidence and interview techniques.

What you do to keep your job search active and inspiring will be your most valuable input to finding employment. Here are other useful ways to make the most of your time out of work:

  1. Talk to family, friends and previous work colleagues. Such groups can be a great source of information and advice. They can also be very helpful when it comes to word-of-mouth recommendations.
  2. Keep in contact with your contacts, make regular calls and send emails to potential employers to demonstrate your willingness and hunger for work.
  3. Don’t stop searching, keep your search going and your ball rolling. Even if you land a job that isn’t quite what you want, don’t stop making contacts and applying for jobs you do want.
  4. Inspire your entrepreneurial aspirations; develop and build your own business plans and contact experts for best advice. This will help your get your big idea off the ground.

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