If you’re currently employed and looking to make a career move, you might be finding it tough to fit applying for jobs into your schedule. It’s hard to give your all at your current job while staying on top of all the new job postings that come out each day. And there’s no way around the fact that an aggressive job search strategy is going to consume a significant amount of time and energy. But, there are a few practices that you can put into place that will help you make the job hunt just a little more manageable. Here are three tips for you to consider:
1. Target your search. Your goal should not be to send out 50 job applications a day. Doing so will decrease the quality of your applications. Go for quality over quantity instead. If you can make a list of 10-15 companies (or fewer!) that you’re really interested in and focus the majority of your energy mining the career pages, reaching out to recruiters or hiring managers, or making contacts at those companies, you’ll be making the best possible use of your time. Obviously, the goal is to find a job that you’re passionate about, and a very targeted job search is the way to do it.
2. Create a schedule. Set aside time for job applications and create a routine that you can stick to. Divide up the 10-15 companies on your list and tackle a few each day. For example, perhaps you visit the career portals for companies 1-5 on Monday, 6-10 on Tuesday, and 11-15 on Wednesday, then spend time on Thursday looking up various job lists and checking LinkedIn. If you don't see any openings you’re interested in on a particular day, spend time searching LinkedIn for employees who might be able to sit down with you for an informational interview.
3. Let the internet do some of the work for you. Getting automated job alerts delivered directly to your inbox is a great way to save time. Many companies’ career pages have an option to sign up for job alerts, so check if any of the companies in your top 15 have this feature and implement it immediately. If that's not an option, you can set up a Google alert to conduct these automated searches for you. Finally, LinkedIn is very useful for identifying potential opportunities, often at companies you hadn’t considered before. You can create saved searches through LinkedIn with specific search terms, and the site will email you daily with openings that match your keywords. Set up a few different alerts with relevant phrases and see what comes up. Even better, when you start clicking on the positions that interest you, LinkedIn’s algorithm will further refine your search results, so be sure to check the “Jobs You May Be Interested In” page regularly (in addition to your email alerts) to maximize your chances of finding a cool gig.
Keep in mind that a strong network is going to be a big part of making the job search less time consuming—a direct email from an employee notifying you of a job opening is going to save you the time of digging around on the internet, and it’s the most efficient and direct way to get your resume into the right hands. So even if you aren’t seeing great opportunities every day, you can still spend your time networking with the right people, and when that perfect position opens up, you’ll be first in line.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan