Our daily routine changes when we are searching for a job.
While you are at work, someone (likely your boss) dictated what you did from hour to hour. You had tasks, meetings and deliverables to break up your day, not to mention lunch buddies and errands to run during break time.
Suddenly you are in a job search. Out of work, your day stretches out in front of you like Saturday after Saturday. No boss, no lunch buddies or meetings scheduled for you. What is a hard working person supposed to do?
Katrina, an old friend from my Chicago days, sent a great article giving insight into what is actually going on in a typical job seeker’s day. The title says it all, “Unemployed More Likely to Go Shopping than Look for a Job.”
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers were interviewed and surveyed about how they spent time. The most recent data averages responses from 2010 to 2015.
On an average day unemployed Americans spent 2.58 hours searching for a job. The rest of the time was spent doing lots of other things like socializing, watching tv / movies, exercising, or shopping for items not related to food or gas to sustain the home.
Does this surprise you? It does not surprise me.
Most job seekers I talk to start the day scanning the job postings, finding a few that make sense, preparing then submitting responses to job ads then calling a few people they know to see if those folks are aware of any job openings.
Then what? That is a great question.
I think most job seekers are earnestly looking for work. At least the folks I encounter are. But after a while they don’t know what else to do to make something happen in their job search. So they fall back on what regular people do with their spare time: exercise, socialize, watch tv or shop. Amazon can be addicting – the soap operas of our day.
If that sounds familiar to you, if you don’t know what to do with your time then you need to change the way you organize your job search. Don’t double down on responding to job ads (an ineffective way to search for jobs anyway). Add networking to your job search.
Here are 5 tips to getting more out of your daily job search time:
- Create a job search marketing plan that outlines your job search goals.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is fully optimized to allow yourself to be found and to find people to network with who can help you get the job you want. Likely you don’t know those people yet so get out there and meet people figuratively through LinkedIn then literally through networking outreach.
- Target specific companies in your preferred geographic area that employ people like you. Research those companies, their goals, financials, and issues.
- Network to meet people in those companies using LinkedIn.
- Set specific daily and weekly goals for networking that keep you involved and active in your job search every day. Start by setting a goal for how many coffee networking meetings you want to have each week. Then back into the number of calls and new LinkedIn connections you need to make each day to achieve your weekly coffee goal. Track your efforts and you will see results.
The key is setting goals to increase your average daily job search time. Reserve shopping, movies and exercise for those hours after you achieve your daily job search goals.
Remember, job search is a numbers game. Get in there and increase the number of hours you spend on productive job search activities beyond submitting responses to job ads. The more people you talk to, the more people you connect with on LinkedIn, the more successful your job search hours will be.