Are you unemployed? If you are, one thing you might be struggling with is how to run your day. I’ve written about the challenges of being unemployed before, and how the struggle of being without a job can bring you down and be a mental challenge. I want to help you overcome the challenge and give you an action plan you can follow to help you reduce the time needed to land your next job.
Starting Your Day Right
The first thing you need to do, is make sure you’re getting up and getting going early. The early bird gets the worm. If you’re unemployed, your fulltime job is to be on the job hunt. You work 40 hours a week to pay the bills, then you should be putting in 40 hours a week to find a job. Set that alarm for somewhere between 5-6 am.
If you’re sleeping in, you’re wasting your time. The less activity you do to help yourself find a job, the worse you will feel and your whole balance will be off.
Make sure you eat a balanced breakfast.
A side note, if you smoke, time to kick the habit. You can save a ton of money, make sure you’re in as good as health as possible and frankly it’ll help you not to smell like an ash tray when you do go in for an interview. I used to smoke, so I understand how hard it is to quit. Now’s the time for you to start making better decisions. No one ever regrets quitting smoking.
You might also want to start working out. If you eat right, exercise and get the proper amount of sleep, you’ll be amazed how fast everything else in your life starts to come together. I’m not a doctor, so make sure you see one before you make any major routine changes, but getting healthy is always a good idea, especially when you’re under a lot of mental stress.
Clock in at 8 am
No matter how you decide to start your day: with devotion time, exercise, personal hygiene, or anything else, you need to be dressed and ready to punch in at eight in the morning. You’re working to find a job. If you’re wise, you’ll not consider yourself your own boss, you can consider me your boss. I expect you to give me a full eight-hour day. I’m not paying you to sit and watch tv, goof around on your phone or sleep in. I’m not paying you at all. But if you follow my advice, I’ll help you find that job, so you can earn your next paycheck sooner.
Subdivide Your Day into Time Blocks
Want to get a lot done, stick to a well thought out plan. I am going to share with you a block schedule you can follow as a basic outline on how to spend your time. This will allow you to always know what type of activity you should be doing and keep you moving towards your goal. You may have to adjust for appointments, like interviews, but if you follow this as closely as you can, it’ll help you get to the goal, of landing a job sooner.
8 am to 9:45 am
Research your vertical market / industry for new trends, or look up companies that are hiring in your market. This isn’t the time to look at job listings, this is the time to find out more about the industry, what’s happening and find out more about the companies themselves. You want to learn as much as you can about the industry and the company so when you interview, you are up to date. Knowing the latest and as much as you can, will help you come across as a serious professional. It’ll also help you with your confidence.
9:45 am – 10 am Break
Get up, get away from the computer. Want to check social media and or watch something…do it from your phone or tablet, but get up and walk around, especially if you didn’t start the day with some much-needed exercise.
10 am to Noon
Look at job listings. Get on your favorite website, even consider ProjectHelpYouGrow.com or any you really like and look for new jobs, in your field. Bookmark the ones you like best, but DO NOT APPLY to them yet. If you’re still applying in mass to every job listing, then I now know why you’re still looking for work. Find the jobs you like, save them, then later in the day, we’ll come back to each of the ones you really like best and that you’re qualified for, and prepare you to apply one at a time.
Noon to 12:30 pm
Lunch. Eat something lite. No fast food if you can help it. Don’t overeat. There’s no time for you to be sluggish or take a nap.
12:30 pm to 2:00pm
Get social. Sound crazy? Most jobs are not earned by applying blindly to jobs listed on job boards. Most candidates are still hired who are recommended or referred by someone the company or recruiter knows. So, when I say be social, what I mean is get on social media, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and start befriending people who work for the companies you want to work for. How do you find them? Search the company name, search by city, search by industry type. Then you want to view profiles, hit the follow button, make comments on people’s posts. Share posts from those who write interesting posts that you like. To make friends is easier than you think. Be nice, make comments and interact with people.
Those who do this the best, are typically not unemployed for very long, especially if they follow my other strategy tips.
Keep in mind that on social media, especially when you’re job searching, you need to stay professional, always be polite and never engage with a troll. Someone says something you don’t like, keep scrolling. Make sure you avoid drama, make sure your photos are all professional in nature, meaning nothing from a club scene, nothing sexual in nature, avoid all politics and religion… why? You never know how those things can come to bite you. I avoid most of those things all the time anyway.
2 pm to 4pm
Time to look at those job listings you saved from earlier. Pick the one you like the most. You need to open your resume, run it in a scan system or manually check it for key words as I teach in a previous blog here: https://projecthelpyougrow.com/ats-screening-strategy-how-to-earn-the-interview/ and then do what you need to do to get those key words infused enough to earn your interview. Once you have done the needful, you can write your personalized cover letter for that job. This one job submission might take your entire 2-hour window, and if it does, that’s ok. Better to fire one silver bullet than to waste your time applying to 50 jobs with the same resume, as that approach will most likely not get you one single interview. If you have time to do more, than go through this process again. If you run out of time today, you can do more of this in the job search block tomorrow. You don’t need to keep searching for job listing if you have good ones you need to prepare your resume/cover letter to submit the application package for already in the hopper.
Please make sure you are working on adjusting each resume/cover letter for each specific job submission. I cannot stress this point enough. Today’s ATS screen / high competition rate makes it absolutely critical. You want to get passed the screen and have a real chance to win, you must show them how you fit before the interview and not expect the person considering your application to draw conclusions on how you are a good match. They have far too many other candidate submissions to do your work for you.
4 pm to 5 pm
Skills development time. You can read a book from your industry, take an on-line class (visit websites like https://www.coursera.org/) read blogs like those found on #ProjectHelpYouGrow at: https://projecthelpyougrow.com/blog/ or you can conduct informational interviews with people from your industry. If you chose to do an informational interview, try to pick people who have the type of job you have, or perhaps those who manage the people who have the type of job you have, and ask them all about how they got into the business, what makes someone successful who does that type of job and what challenges they see for professionals in that industry moving forward.
The bottom line is, if you don’t continue to improve, you won’t likely be the candidate of choice for many employers. Most industries are utilizing less labor to do more things. So those who continually improve their skills are the ones that will be most attractive to the employers of tomorrow.
5pm to bedtime (no later than midnight)
Eat something healthy. Do something physical. Read something you enjoy. Be social. Don’t hide away in shame. You just put in a full day’s work and you’re doing all you can to land a job. You have no need to be ashamed.
Don’t forget that workday starts all over tomorrow. Get to work as I’ve prescribed. Make adjustments as needed for your individual situation. If you are having trouble in one of these areas, you might consider hiring someone to help with your area of deficiency. Make sure you take advantage of free tools and resources at your disposal too.
I know you can do it. I hope this advice helps you land the job of your dreams very soon.