Schedule Your Days While in a Job Search

Many unemployed individuals struggle with handling their time without the structure of a job. This can leads to excessive wasting of time and easy distractions. Donnell Turner of the Loyola University of Chicago Career Center shared a great outline he provides to members of his alumni job club at the recent MACCA Conference. With thanks to Donnell, here is the suggested schedule with comments:

8:00 -10:00          Research-Industries and Companies*

10:00-12:00         Call/email Contacts**

12:00-1:00           Lunch

1:00-2:00              Review trade Journals/Blogs

2:00-4:00              Networking Activities**              

4:00-5:00              Apply for Jobs*

Start Out with Research. Many contacts are either commuting or settling in to their days at this time. Gather information on job & fields as well as companies you have interest in. Check for any job alerts received from any career boards you’re registered on. Set up a list of the calls and job applications to complete that day.

Call & emails. Make sure no matter how busy you get with any follow up calls and emails, you build in a set number of new or “cold” calls in to expand your contact lists. These are never fun or easy, but you’ll never get better at them without practice.

Lunch.  Add in some form of exercise, even if it’s a 30-minute walk. Take care of yourself. The stress of unemployment often leads to increases or decreases in eating and sleeping. This can take a toll on health and weight factors.

Review Trade Journals/Blogs. Rather than researching places to apply, use this period to keep up to date on your professional field information. Post comments on articles and blogs as well as asking and answering questions in LinkedIn groups. This allows more people in your field to see your expertise.

Networking Activities. Whether it’s a job club meeting or information interview, you need the interaction with other people. Work toward scheduling at least one per day. Most job seekers report that once you start requesting these meetings, they’re amazed at how easy they are to schedule.

Apply for Jobs. Slating this at the end of the day limits potential distractions from calls and follow up emails. Focus on completing each application, cover letter or résumé once you’ve started it. Only take calls or emails that require immediate attention. Without breaks, you can complete these activities more efficiently.

The *and** designate interchangeable time frames. If you feel more comfortable doing task-oriented activities first thing in the morning and research/ reading later, by all means schedule it that way. Similarly, if you prefer making networking contacts in the morning, you will probably get better results by having them when you feel more comfortable.  This can also vary from day-to-day as well. The important factor is that by scheduling and planning out your activities will result in more productive days. Then maybe you can relax a little more and do something for yourself in the evenings.

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