Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
Job searching takes time and dedication, and sometimes it can seem like you never have enough time to devote to the process.
Whether you are balancing a job search while still employed, managing a house or caregiving responsibilities, or simply overwhelmed with having to organize a job search, finding time can be challenging. That’s where job search hacks can make a difference.
Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed by the cycle of lengthy tasks that need to be accomplished, why not create a more manageable schedule that helps ensure a stress-free job search?
Sure, all those tasks need to be completed, but try scheduling some shorter ones that can be checked off quickly.
You’ll still keep your momentum going, but you can leave the more lengthy tasks to later in the day or on your days off when you have more time available.
Create Job Search Success in Short Chunks
Most career coaches and experts agree that creating an organized approach to your job search is critical to finding success. Use your small chunks of time to check off some of the shorter “to-do’s” on your list.
1. Proactively Reach Out
If you’re interested in working for a specific company but haven’t seen any job listings, don’t despair. Just reach out to them directly!
Contact the HR person and inquire about open positions. Even if there aren’t any available, you can still submit your resume and cover letter for future consideration.
When the time comes to fill a newly opened position, your application may be right at the top of the pile!
This is a great way to get your foot in the door with your dream company. So, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and reach out today.
2. Update Social Media
Regarding social media, it’s important to remember that different platforms serve different purposes. Your personal Facebook page is a great place to share photos and quotes with your friends and family, but having a more reserved presence in your professional life is crucial.
That’s not to say that you can’t be friendly and personable on your professional social media accounts, but you should make sure that the overall tone is more focused on your work and less on your personal life.
In addition, it’s essential to keep your accounts updated regularly, as this will show potential employers that you’re keeping up with the latest trends and technologies.
By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your social media presence is working for you, not against you.
3. Take a Break
It can be tempting to hunker down and focus all your energy on your job search when you’re unemployed. But it’s important to remember that caring for yourself is just as important as finding a job.
After all, a job search can be stressful, and if you’re not taking care of yourself, you will be less happy and less likely to succeed.
So, make sure to take some time for yourself every day. Snag a healthy snack, do some quick yoga, or connect with friends and family for a quick visit.
Taking time for yourself will help you feel better and be more successful in your job search.
4. Research Your Salary
It can be tricky to know how much you should be making, especially if you’re new to the job market. But fortunately, there are ways to figure it out.
Check listings within your field and sites like Payscale, which offer salary calculators that can help you determine your worth to a potential employer.
With that information, you’ll be in a much better position to negotiate salary. Take five minutes to verify your salary range.
5. Declutter Ruthlessly
You can’t expect a quick and easy job search if your desk is scattered with papers, coffee mugs, and twisted cables. Before launching your job search for the day, take some time to clear the clutter.
A clean desk will clear the slate for a much smoother search. Toss anything that’s not necessary, scan or file papers, and vow to keep it clean.
Give yourself five minutes to complete this task and see how far you can get.
6. Reach Out to Referrals
There’s a reason why you receive so many LinkedIn requests for referrals — they matter, not only to the recipient but also to potential employers.
Go through your previous employers and colleagues with whom you’re still on good terms and ask for recommendations.
But don’t simply use the auto-generated LinkedIn email request. Personalize your request so that your past connections can remember who you are and write a glowing recommendation.
7. Manage Your Calendar
One of the most important things you can do when looking for a job is manage your time well. Spending hours on the internet looking for job postings is probably not the best use of your time.
It’s better to set some boundaries and be intentional with the time you spend looking for a job.
Take a few minutes to organize your schedule. Decide how many hours you want to spend searching for a job, and stick to that schedule. Then, decide what tasks you want to accomplish within that time frame.
For example, you might want to spend 30 minutes networking, 30 minutes researching companies, and 30 minutes creating or updating your social media profiles. By pausing to set boundaries before you jump in, you’ll be more likely to find a job that’s a good fit for you in a shorter amount of time.
8. Define Your Next Step
Have you discovered that your skills don’t match up to the requirements of your dream job? If you’re determined to make this career a reality, write down what it would take for you to land this type of job (e.g., specific certifications or education level).
Within a few minutes, create development goals that you can add to your plan after researching the process to achieve them. Maybe that’s volunteering to add some on-the-job experience or taking an online course to get a certification.
Taking a few minutes to list the next steps is an excellent way to spend a small chunk of time.
9. Grow Your Network
Networking can often seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure where to start.
One way to ease into networking is to take a few minutes daily to engage with LinkedIn groups or comment on industry forums. These small interactions can help to build your network and put you in touch with potential clients or business partners.
In addition, by responding to posts and offering your insights, you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Next time you feel overwhelmed by networking, remember that even small interactions can make a big difference.
10. Touch Base
Are you looking for another way to boost your network and increase your chances of finding a job that you can fit into a short time frame? Send a quick email or LinkedIn message to former colleagues, coworkers, friends, family members, and bosses.
Tell them you are looking for a job, and be specific about the type of job you would like to do. By staying in touch with your network, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect job.
11. Set Up Job Alerts
Organization and time management are critical to successfully managing your job search. If you haven’t already done so, set up job alerts on any websites you’re using, such as FlexJobs, to receive matching listings straight to your inbox.
You’ll save countless hours scrolling through irrelevant job listings, and you can use that time to research and tailor your applications.
12. Research a Company
Admittedly, this task should take longer than five minutes as a whole. However, you can break down your research into smaller chunks when you have a dream company you’re longing to work for.
Take five minutes during your break to dive into their Facebook page. The next time you have some spare time, you can peruse some of their blog posts to get a feel for their tone.
Create a document that travels with you, such as on your Google drive, to keep your notes in one place.
Little Steps Toward Your Goal
When you’re looking for a new job, regardless of whether you’re employed currently or not, it can be easy to only focus on the primary goal of finding a new job. However, you can quickly get defeated because it’s unlikely you’ll get to mark that as complete right away.
Instead, breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable goals can help ensure that you’re always ready to devote any short breaks to meaningful assignments that will help move you toward your larger goal over time.
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