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A Routine for Success: How to Maximize Your Practices during a Job Search

A job search is often remembered for the key inflection points: a successful interview or an initial job offer. In reality, a job search is made up of months of faithful work to apply, interview, and follow up with potential employers. Habits drive—or sabotage—success. Making the most of your daily routine not only helps you secure the job you’re aiming for, it keeps you sane in the process. We have four tips to ensure your search strategy includes a daily regimen that works toward your unique circumstances and goals.

Set goals. Your job search will look very different if you are currently in a position and ready for a change than it will if you are unemployed. Set your goals accordingly. What is a reasonable number of applications and follow-ups to accomplish each week? Make a sustainable goal. This provides the architecture around which an effective job search can take shape.

Plan practices. What specific tasks will you undertake? What organization can you put in place to stay engaged and coordinated? Create a space where you can note jobs you want to pursue, log positions you’ve applied for, and track their status. This could be a dedicated notebook, a Word document, or Google spreadsheet. Be consistent so you can keep track of your efforts and not lose your place. Creating clearly labeled email folders and a job search task list are also key.

Establish routines. When do you work best? What times in your current schedule can you mobilize to research and apply for positions? Don’t fall prey to all-or-nothing thinking. Spending a daily 4-hour block of time applying for jobs may not be the best approach. Are you more likely to get quality work done if you allot 1 hour after breakfast and a space of time after lunch? Remember what has worked in the past and take an honest look at your current schedule.

Reflect and adjust. Each month spend some time evaluating what is working and what could be improved with your current job search routine. This doesn’t need to be an in-depth overhaul. Make a cup of coffee or go for a walk and consider the big picture. Making incremental adjustments allows you to correct course and work better.