5 Simple Ways to Find 9 Hours of Job Search Time Per Week

Would you like to find 9 hours of job search time per week? Want more time to job search?Do you find yourself asking these questions: “How am I supposed to look for a job, when I am employed?” “Finding a job is a full-time job…and I already have a job. How am I supposed to do this?” Sound familiar? I hear these questions from job seekers quite often. It is a perplexing dilemma in today’s world of over scheduling, multitasking and uber-achievement. These strategies and tools have been time-tested by me and my clients to generate at least 9 hours per week in time that can be used towards a job search, when these tactics are employed consistently and diligently. Are you up for the challenge? Here goes: (1)    Shut off all notifications on your smart phone and your computer.  (Gains 2.5 hours minimum) Yeah, you heard me. (I think a few readers may need a defibrillator after reading this statement—STAT!).  This is not as easy as it sounds.  For me, this was a multistage process with my iPhone that has actually taken a couple of weeks to figure out. First, I thought if I simply turned the Notification Center to the OFF position for a particular item (ex. Email, Facebook) that it was taken care of and I would no longer receive notifications…oh no. There’s more to do. In addition to that, I had to turn of the Alert Style (without that, I was still getting banner alerts) and the Badge App Icon (or I would still receive the icon pop-up notification number that just sent my notification addiction back into a frenzy). After I realized all of these steps had to be taken for EVERY app/function on my iPhone, did I stop receiving notifications. This elimination of constant distractions (SQUIRREL!) has saved me approximately 10 seconds reviewing each notification, approximately 150 notifications per day conservatively, which is a 2.5 hour savings per week (10 seconds x 150 notifications x 7 days).   (2)    Unsubscribe from newsletters. Or at least get these out of your main email account. (Gains 3.25 hours per week). I did both of these actions. I unsubscribed from newsletters I had not read in over a week after receiving it. And others that I read/scan for professional development and general interest, I redirected to another email address dedicated just for newsletters. Some have decided to use www.feedly.com as an alternative to Google Reader. Now Gmail users can use the sorting and prioritization functions to do move newsletters to another area. Pick your poison, but do it now. When I did this, my email decreased to such a point that I had to check my email was working occasionally. (Can you say detox?) The time I saved not reading these emails on the fly, being disrupted and having to refocus on a project at hand was quite significant. At least a 45 minutes per day, or 5.25 hours per week. Instead, I now schedule two 1-hour slots per week to read the articles in the designated newsletter email account. And since I am focused on the reading, I create defined action items from the new knowledge I absorbed. Net time saved? 5.25 hours minus 2 hours is 3.25 hours saved.   (3)    Set up job search processes and systems to streamline your time. (Gains 1.25 Hours) Not having to create letters, resume customizations and other communications from scratch each time will easily save you 1.25 hours per week. For example, if you make 5 submissions per week and each take you 45 minutes to do (3.75 hours), if you set up personalized templates of your more frequently used types of documents and are not starting the customization from scratch, you will easily cut that application time by  33%, or a 1.25 hour savings. Suggested processes to create are:
  • House your resume as a personal template <YourNameResumeTemplate> with sections highlighted to customize each time, but in a simple, time-saving manner. Once you make all of the customizations, then save that version of your resume in a resume file named <CompanyName-YourName> for future search ease.
  • Have multiple templates of your personal cover letters created (i.e. Formal, Job Posting Response, Networking Connection, Referred By So-in-So). Like the previous suggestion, do not start your customizations from the beginning each time. Have template variations made with common changes you make and start your customization further along in the process, saving you time.
  • Organize your time and applications with an Excel spreadsheet, or applications like www.applymate.com or www.jibberjobber.com, to track contact dates, contacts made, and future actions to take.
  (4)    Set up job alerts to have the right jobs forwarded to you. Do not troll the job boards. (Easy 2 hour/week of time savings). Most popular and niche job boards have an alert function. In Google, you can set up Google Alerts, where common searches you perform for job openings can have search results sent to you periodically. There is no bigger waste of time than scrolling long lists of job postings looking for the right jobs to which to apply.   (5)    Lastly, and this is the most important step, you have to prioritize it. Learn how to say ‘no’ to commitments that are not supporting your ability to create time for your job search.  If you do not prioritize it, no one else will. Not your spouse, your co-workers, your executive coach, your accountability partner, your manager, your children, your friends…no one will prioritize this for you. So you need protect your time and guard it with your life. Saying ‘no’ is the most powerful way to get this accomplished. If you want to do a job search, you will. No ‘time savings’ for this step, per say, but if your head is focused on your job search, you will find a way to make time for it.  

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