With so many distractions and all the fun ways to spend your time, summer is a tough time to look for work. Especially now, managing your job search requires dedication, discipline and organization.
No matter what field you hope to land in, here are the six steps you need to stay on top of your job search game during the summer months:
1. Know What You Want
Before starting any journey, you must have an idea of where you’d like to go.
While it’s never easy to identify your ideal career, summer is a great chance to focus on just that. One way to move in the right direction: identify things you like to do, the types of work environments that appeal to you and even the types of people you enjoy working with. Thinking about these elements will help you decide what companies, industries or roles would be good for you.
It could be helpful to try out some free personality assessment tools that can help you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. Myers & Briggs offers many personality tests, including some focussed on career. Via me offers a chance for candidates to get a free character strength profile, Colorcode offers a basic analysis and The Passion Test can help you discover your true passion.
2. Set Specific Goals and Parameters
To get and stay organized, clearly define and set goals for your job search. While your ultimate goal is to find employment, setting milestones throughout the summer gives you specific goals to work toward.
Set weekly goals for how many networking connections you’ll reach out to, the number of companies to research and how many jobs you’ll try to apply to each week. These goals will create the opportunities you need to track later in your job search.
It’s also important to know which priorities will help narrow down your search to the targeted opportunities. For instance, you should know if you want to work for a nonprofit organization or a Fortune 500 company or how far you’re willing to commute to work. Once you set those priorities, you can tailor your job search around them.
3. Create Meaningful Lists
It’s amazing how a simple spreadsheet can help keep you organized.
Don’t underestimate the power and simplicity of a good-ol’-fashioned list and checking off tasks as your job search progresses. Then break down those lists into three categories: today, soon and later.
List all of your tasks for today – and keep that list reasonable and constructive. Listing everything you need to do, but can’t possibly get done in one day, can create anxiety. Set your daily goals, and celebrate when you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to get done. And then go do something fun! (Or, maybe you feel like tackling an issue or two from the soon and later lists?)
4. Track Your Activity
Many job seekers rely on memory to stay on top of their activity. As you apply to more and more jobs and make more networking contacts. Needless to say, this can get difficult.
Stay organized and keep track of relevant information like when you applied to a certain job or how long it’s been since you heard from the hiring manager.
Using your accomplishments from your daily lists above, create a system to keep track of where you’ve applied, when you sent your materials, relevant company information, the names of people you’ve reached out to or spoken with, and interview requests.
5. Organize Your Job Search Workspace
In the digital age, we have both physical and online workspaces. Both should be set up in a way to keep you on top of your game.
Most people operate better when their workspace is neat and tidy.
Keeping your physical workspace and desktop de-cluttered will help you stay on top of deadlines. Of critical importance: organize your job applications, cover letters and variations of your resume as well. (Don’t risk sending the cover letter you wrote for company X to company Y!)
To stay organized in your digital space, compile your job search info, lists and any other information into one folder and subsequent subfolders. Whether you decide to use folders on your desktop, Dropbox or Google Docs, every document should have a home so you can find things quickly when you need to follow up on action items.
6. Don’t Spend Too Much — or Too Little — Time on One Thing
Ultimately, your progress this summer may depend on good time management skills.
Start by logging tasks and follow-up events in your calendar. Block out time for research, or allot time for responding to emails and following up. Dedicate a certain amount of time to your online presence, including LinkedIn Groups, reading and commenting on blogs. When you’re this organized with your time, success in your job search is close at hand!
Follow these six tips to organize your summer job search. The more focused and productive you are, the faster you’ll get the results (and job) you really want!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Brazen Careerist!
About the Author: Afifa Siddiqui is the Co-Founder of Careerleaf, the new generation of job board software focused on the candidate experience. Connect with Afifa and Careerleaf on Facebook and Twitter.
Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.