A day in the life of the jobseeker: How to make finding work your day job

Roll up Sleeves

Most job seekers have heard this saying at least once: When looking for a job, you need to make your job search your full-time occupation. This is the truth. Those who focus their full-time efforts on finding a job have a higher chance of actually landing one. How do you do that?

How they approach the day makes all the difference in the life of active job seekers.

Most business offices are open between 8am and 5pm, no matter what industry you work in. While you may be looking for a job that can have different hours, the HR department and most managers keep regular weekday hours. They are the ones you need to mimic during your job search. So, your job seeking workday is from 8 to 5 now. That means you get up, get dressed, and have breakfast before arriving at your desk at 8 to start job hunting.

For days when you do not have an interview, use these tasks to organize your day:

  • Complete any unfinished business from the day before. Write thank you notes for interviews or information meetings you had. Follow-up on any phone calls you were unable to return.
  • Search for new job openings.  You should already have accounts on common posting websites like Workopolis.com, Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com. First thing in the morning, look through the new job openings and make note of any that fit your skills and career goals.
  • Besides looking for new job openings on the sites you already look through, look for new job posting sites. Most urban and suburban areas have their own local job web sites.  Also, local newspapers and other publications offer job listings. Add these to your daily list as well.  Check the direct websites of any companies you are targetting and look for postings directly on their sites.
  • If you received any leads or referrals from friends and former co-workers, you need to follow-up on them as soon as possible. Be sure to send a thank you note to the person who gave you the lead.
  • Do basic homework on any job opening or lead you get. Get to know a bit about the company and assess how you meet their requirements and embody their values.
  • Prepare resumes and cover letters for all openings that show promise. Follow the guidelines for submission carefully. Get those submissions done as soon as possible.
  • Make contact with one or two professionals in your industry and ask for an information interview.
  • Follow-up on any hits you get on your Linked-In profile and eResumeTM.
  • If you have an interview coming up, do your homework. That means researching the company, preparing strategic answers to questions, and preparing your interview clothing.
  • Study news in your industry to keep up to date. Job seekers need to stay relevant. You can get alerts through Google or other news feeds. This news can give you hints of potential job openings at noted companies as well. If your industry has magazines or trade journals, try to keep a subscription if the budget allows or check any free content online.
  • Look for classes online or at your local college / post secondary school that will help keep your skills up to date.  Industry workshops and certification courses can help. These classes can be in any relevant topic: software, soft skills, safety standards, or industry-specific.
  • Before the end your day, check the job posting boards again. If there are new listings, those are your first priority the next morning.
  • The last thing for job seekers to do is plan the next day.

At the end of your day, straighten out your work area and walk away. Organizing your day and going at it full-time is very important in your job search. But, taking time during the evening to relax will give you the energy to start over tomorrow.