When you’re looking for a new job, it can feel like a race to get hired. It doesn’t matter if you are unemployed or you just need a change. The more time you spend looking, the more frustrating it can become.
It’s important to take a step back and remember your job hunt does not have to take up all of your time. There are ways stay organized and make your job hunt less time-consuming.
Whether you have another job or are just a busy person, these tips will help busy job seekers:
1. Make a Schedule. Organization is key for an efficient job search. Make a schedule and assign yourself specific job search tasks for specific times during the day. When you have specific times set aside for each task, you can make sure it all gets done.
2. Stop Procrastinating. It happens to all of us, but it is obvious procrastination slows us down. Find a place to conduct your job search that is free of distractions. When you finish the tasks you assigned yourself, you can go back to your television or Facebook or whatever you usually do to waste time.
3. Get Organized. Conducting a job search involves a lot of files and emails that can become overwhelming. Start the organization process by designating a folder on your desktop for all of your job search documents. Add sub-folders for various versions of your resume and cover letters. Next, organize your inbox in a similar fashion. Use filters so that you see the most important emails first. Sort emails into folders so that you don’t lose track of anything.
4. Be Very Prepared. There are a few things you should already have on hand before you start applying for jobs. Make sure your voicemail message and email address are professional.
Have templates of your resume and cover letter already written. Add new experiences to your resume as soon as they happen so it’s ready when you begin the job hunt. When you apply for a new position, alter the descriptions to match the requirements each specific role (without stretching the truth, of course!).
Create a list of references to have on hand when they’re requested. Make sure you have names, job titles, companies, phone numbers, and email addresses. Bring a copy of this list to all interviews so that you are ready if asked.
5. Use Job Search Engines. Search both major and niche job boards to find the biggest variety of job listings in one place. You don’t have to rule out large search sites, but regional and industry-driven sites can be more efficient. Many of these sites also have features that alert you of new job listings by email. Take advantage of these alerts to find out about jobs as soon as they are posted.
6. Tap Your Network. You already have a network of people who can help your job hunt. Tell all of these people that you are looking for a new job. According to a recent study, more than 30 percent of job seekers credit referrals from professional or personal contacts for their current jobs. It’s perfectly fine to ask for help.
7. Use Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are making the job hunt even easier. Follow specific companies on these platforms to hear about job openings quickly. If you’re in a position to advertise the fact that you’re seeking a job, make it known. According to that same survey, one in six job seekers credit social media with their current job.
8. Don’t Give Up. Searching for a job can be frustrating. If you let the frustration get to you, you can make mistakes. Keep your attitude positive and don’t lose sight of your organization. Everyone faces rejection sometimes, but don’t let it stop you from finding even better opportunities.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.