You just received your lay off notice and all of a sudden have 40+ hours a week to devote to your job search. We all know looking for work is a full time job, which it is. How you spend that time will greatly influence how quickly you land your next job.
One of the biggest challenges newly unemployed people face is how to create structure in the days and weeks that lie ahead. It is also normal for most people to experience depression during the first weeks of unemployment as they adjust to the idea of not having a job to go to every day. Here are 9 proven steps to help you make your transition to your next job as short as possible.
1. Adopt a routine and stick with it. This is probably the hardest step. Once you don’t have an office to go to every day it is easy to let the hours slip by without having a plan. Treat your time off as if you were at work. Schedule tasks and appointments in your Outlook or your favorite calendar management tool first thing in the morning, if not the night before.
2. Know your peak productivity time. Each of us has a peak time or times during the day when we are most productive. Determine yours. Maybe you are a morning person who enjoys tackling challenging tasks following your morning cup of coffee. Or perhaps you are a night owl and become most creative closer to midnight. When I left the corporate world to start my coaching practice I learned that I was most productive between 4 and 7 in the evening. This is when I typically do most of my writing.
3. Designate daily hours for job search tasks. Once you know your peak productivity time(s) schedule your most mentally challenging tasks during that time. Use those times to polish your resume and LinkedIn profile or research a company of interest. And be sure to carve out a workspace where you can concentrate without interruptions. If a home office is not available visit your favorite Wi-Fi hotspot.
4. Network by day; apply for jobs by night. You should be spending your daylight hours networking, getting ahold of people who are in a position to help you with your job search. Save your online job application activity for the evening hours when network contacts are less available.
5. Set a goal of 5 to 10 network contacts weekly. As an unemployed job seeker, nurturing your network should be your first priority. These interactions, whether they are by phone, Internet or (ideally) in person, will be the motivators to keep you in the game. Sadly, many unemployed individuals spend the majority of their time networking with their keyboards, spending endless hours applying for jobs on line.
6. Learn when to say no. I can’t tell you how many of my clients complain that other people suck up their time once they have become unemployed. It is easy for friends to impose on you, asking you to drop their kids off at school or do a ‘brief’ errand because they assume you have nothing better to do. If this is happening you need to put the brakes on. Set your boundaries by reminding your friends and family members that you have a full time job…looking for work.
7. Maintain a fitness regimen. Staying fit and healthy during your unemployment is good for you both physically and mentally. Regular exercise will help keep you focused and boost your stamina for the effort you will need to put forth. If you haven’t exercised in the past, now is an excellent time to start. Be sure to consult with a medical professional first. If you have a gym membership, keep it up and continue to patronize the place regularly.
8. Nourish personal relationships. Now is the time to catch up with old friends who you may have neglected while employed full time. Remember, reaching out to others is key to maintaining a healthy outlook on life. You will hit roadblocks along the way in your job search. Allow your friends to support you during this challenging transition.
9. Plan fun into your schedule. Letting go and having some plain old fun during unemployment is key for your psyche. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Something as simple as visiting a favorite museum or taking a walk with your best friend can help you recharge for the work that lies ahead. It won’t do you any good to work around the clock. Enjoy a little free time and you will be amazed at what it will do for your frame of mind.
What we are talking about here is time management for your job search. By incorporating the steps above you will be able to jump start your job search and make the most of your new found freedom. Good Luck. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.