How to keep productive while job hunting

How to keep productive while job hunting

When you are searching for new employment, it can be difficult to stay motivated and productive. You may feel disheartened but there are some ways that you can remain productive while looking for work, which are outlined below. It is important to remember that looking for a job does not have to be a stressful time. It can help you  to learn and grow, and become a better prospect for potential employees.

Build your personal brand

When you are looking for work, you should keep in mind that you are essentially selling your own personal brand to potential employers. While you are unemployed or searching for a job, you should work on building your personal brand during this time.

Building your personal brand involves cleaning up and rewriting your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, adding to your online or offline portfolio and improving your personal website. If you spend a few hours on these activities over the course of a week, you will look like a highly professional candidate to potential companies.

Pursue a passion

Are you passionate about animals, or are you an avid supporter of educating young children? During your unemployed period you can look into volunteering for causes that are close to your heat, or you could pursue a talent that you did not have time for previously.

If you are able to create a career out of your passion, you may not have to continue looking for a job. Pursuing your passions is a positive way to remain productive during your unemployment, and will impress potential employers. You can list volunteer experience as a job if you were paid for your time, and thus will have no gaps on your resume. You will also expand your network by taking part in volunteering or social programmes, which can lead to job prospects.

Brush up on your skills

When one is job searching, often the focus is on finding a new job rather than brushing up on skills that may have been lacking in the previous one. Take this time to improve your current skill set by taking part in courses, whether online or in a physical setting.

You can also look into learning new skills that may have interested you while working but you may not have had time for. If you are intrigued by coding, look for beginners courses online to learn some basics, or go to free lectures at your local technicon or university in topics that you enjoy. Having these skills and courses on your resume will show potential employers that you did not spend your time being idle and unproductive.

Networking is key

Yes, networking is easier when you are employed and attending conferences or get-togethers, but you should try to network even while you are in between jobs. Look for events that are open to local professionals and sign up to attend, or contact a company that interests you and see if you can set up an informational interview.

If you are still in contact with mentors from your university or previous jobs, call them up and arrange a coffee date and ask them for any contacts they may have in the company’s industry. Whatever you decide to do, getting out into the professional world will help immensely with finding a job. If you appear eager and active at networking events, you may find a potential employer on the day!

Stick to a schedule

Being unemployed or looking for a job often means that you have huge blocks of free time during the day. Rather than spending time browsing the internet for jobs and being distracted by other activities, set certain times a day specifically for job searching.

Create a schedule that is effective, such as starting your job search from 9 am and ending it at 2 pm – this time period will feel more like a work day than a day to idle about. You should also set specific goals on a daily basis, which could include sending out your resume to companies that interested you while you were employed or replying to recruiters’ emails. Looking for a job should not become a job in itself, so be sure to schedule in a day to take off from the search and do something fun and productive.

Keep track of every application

In order to save yourself the embarrassment of applying to a place twice in one week, you should draw up a spreadsheet and enter the details of every company you have applied to, including whether they responded or not.

You should include details such as companies you’ve applied to, when and with whom you followed up, and if you heard back. Be sure that you also list how the interview went and a simple bulleted list of the questions that you were asked, so you can prepare for any follow-ups and for interviews at other companies. This spreadsheet will help you to stay productive and will improve your organisational skills too.

Do not be discouraged

Job searching can be a daunting and disappointing time, but do not be discouraged. Staying productive will increase your positivity and will ensure that you do not become depressed during the period of unemployment. Improving your skills and learning new ones, pursuing a passion, volunteering and networking are all effective ways to not only boost your chances of finding employment but keep you productive and positive during this time.


Authored by: Pete Anderson

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