4 Must-Have Time Management Skills for Your Job Search

Job seekers may be among the most time-crunched people on the planet—particularly when juggling multiple responsibilities, such as parenting or other forms of caregiving.

It’s hard enough to manage your time well when you’re working full-time, but when you need to actually find work to ensure you can pay your rent or ensure your livelihood, every hour should be well-spent.

Consider the four tips below that offer four must-have time management skills to enhance your job search.

Get a Jump on the Day

Finding a job is a competitive exercise, so you want to approach it with the same urgency and gusto that you’d apply to achieve any other professional goal.

While it’s important to ensure that you prioritize morning self-care before business, snoozing too long may lead to losing the opportunity you wanted—and that someone else snagged first.

FlexJobs has reported that you’ll do better if you apply for a job within a week or two of its posting, and Brazen notes that close to half of positions are filled during the first 30 days after an opening is listed.

So, once you’re fueled and ready to go, approach your job search as the hard work it is, and get going on it first thing in the morning.

Put Up Strong Boundaries

When you don’t have a boss or colleagues to help keep you focused on what has to happen today at work, then you’ll need to be very disciplined to achieve the tasks required to land a job.

If you’re conducting your job search from home, then like any virtual worker, you’ll need to be merciless with your boundary-setting to ensure that you’re able to focus on what’s most important right now: finding and landing a job.

You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating: don’t get sucked into the sinkhole of social media or personal email if you’re trying to maximize your time.

To be successful, your job search requires that you prioritize taking the steps necessary to identify opportunities, write cover letters, submit applications, and interview with hiring teams. Learn to say no when it’s needed to safeguard your attention on job search matters first.

Set Daily Goals

As with any project, time-effective job searching requires clarity around daily goals to help you reach your ultimate goal of being hired. Set some numeric benchmarks to designate what you plan to accomplish each day. For example, your daily job search goals might include:

  • Each morning, check 10 key job listing sites that you’ve identified in advance to quickly identify new posts of interest.
  • Tailor your cover letter and resume to apply to two new opportunities per day.
  • Review a daily status list of your applications in progress to flag any follow-ups or next steps needed.

More: The Complete Guide to Job Applications

Time-Block Your Priorities

Part of the three steps above is to schedule definitive blocks of time to get each step done. Once you’ve committed to getting up early, set boundaries to ensure your focus, and identified your daily job search goals, then you need to time-block specific hours on your calendar to ensure that you actually achieve your objectives.

That might look something like this:

  • 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.: Check job sites
  • 10:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.: Create and submit job applications
  • 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Continue creating and submitting job applications
  • 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Review daily status list to follow up on any next steps in the applications previously submitted

Spend Your Time Wisely

Taking the time to manage your job search hours better may seem labor-intensive on the front end, but investing in the four steps above can quickly pay off in smoother days that get more of the right things done to help you get the job you want.

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