The following article was originally posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, in the Globe and Mail.
Are there any daily routines that job seekers should maintain while they’re looking for work in order to stay motivated and remain consistent with their job search efforts?
By far, the best way to stay motivated in your job search is to approach looking for a job as if it were a job all on its own. This means disciplining yourself, keeping to a schedule, being organized, setting objectives and measuring your performance against those objectives.
The most successful job seekers who I meet maintain a daily routine. They get up early enough in the morning so they are ready to hit the ground running by the start of the business day.
By contrast, I can tell you that I’ve called many candidates at 11 a.m., only to hear their sleepy voice on the other end of the line. While there’s nothing wrong with sleeping in per se, it doesn’t project a professional profile to a prospective employer. So always let your calls go to voicemail if you’re still in bed. Once you’re up and ready, return those calls promptly.
Next, create a daily task list for yourself, just like you’d do if you were at work. Develop a target list of companies that you want to work for. Set up online search alerts to monitor their public activities. Read their blogs and social media posts, and look for ways to engage with them intelligently. Set aside some time everyday to do this. Keeping to a schedule and doing the same task at the same time everyday can help you stay disciplined. It can also help you in your career down the road.
Also, set up daily, weekly, and even monthly goals for yourself. Promise to send a certain number of résumés out within a specific time period, connect to a certain number of prospective employers via social media, attend a certain number of networking events, and so on. This can help you maintain your productivity.
Last but not least, analyze and measure your job search efforts. Any interest from a prospective employer is a good thing, regardless of whether you end up getting the job. Look at those indicators as a positive, and a way to gain job search experience. That momentum can help you in many ways – from your tone of voice during a phone call, to your body language in an interview. If you’re not getting the responses you had hoped for, re-evaluate the type of jobs you’re applying to, and how you are presenting yourself both on paper and in-person.
Approach your search in a trial and error manner. That “test and learn” process will help your overall search, and help you land the job you’ve been pursuing, faster.