Between the demands of employment, family, and personal obligations, maybe job seekers identify with the challenge of being “too busy to job search”, or to dedicate a significant portion of time and energy to doing so.
As the saying goes, job searching is a full-time job in itself – but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re in a time crunch and need to find a position for financial or work eligibility reasons, then it’s a slightly different story. But when your job search is rooted in a desire to change careers, to find a new position or company, or simply an interest in “seeing what’s out there,” it’s more about effective prioritization and time management than anything else.
So where can you get the most bang for your buck – or your hour – when you only have a couple of hours per week to focus uninterrupted on your search efforts?
Here are some suggestions:
Get Your Resume in Shape
First and foremost, this is the engine of your job search, and it needs to be fine-tuned if the rest of the machine is going to make it to point B. In other words, if your time is limited, make updating and perfecting your resume your number one priority.
The interview determines whether or not you’ll move on to an offer, and the resume determines whether or not you’ll make it to the interview stage. It’s the first point of contact between you and hiring managers, and it’s all about making a solid first impression that shows your potential, and that compels them to want to start a conversation with you.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence
As I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is the number one platform that recruiters are utilizing to source for qualified candidates, and if you want to remain competitive, you need to have a profile that effectively markets and communicates your top selling points. You might have a profile, or the bones of one, already in existence, but have you really spent the time to develop a strategy, write out content around that strategy, connect with your peers, and start conversations?
At the very least, you’ll want your profile to include a professional-looking photo, a strong headline that suggests what you do, or even your current title, your industry designation, a strong intro summary statement, and high-level descriptions of your most recent work/roles, as well as the appropriate skill sets for your target specialization.
Start there, and then look at how you can work a few extra emails, conversations, or connection requests into your strategy each week to start building your network and your visibility.
Search the LinkedIn Job Boards & Join Groups
Employers pay good money to advertise their openings on LinkedIn, so you can be sure most of them are up to date and relevant. Make sure you’re searching for updated listings on a weekly, or even daily, basis.
Additionally, stay in touch with opportunities posted by your peers by joining relevant industry or work groups. Each group has its own daily and weekly digest that comes right to your inbox with job opportunities posted by other members. All you have to do is spend a few seconds scanning them each day.
Setup Google Alerts for Relevant Job Titles or Company Names
If you’re not familiar with using Google Alerts, it’s a tool that sends notifications straight to your inbox when a new listing or search results pops up based on relevant keywords that you specify. So for instance, you can set up Google Alerts on your own name to remain abreast of anything new that gets posted about you.
Similarly, it’s a great function to use for job titles or company names that you’re actively following. As soon as something is posted about that company, or a relevant listing with the keywords “Product Manager New York” comes up (for example), you’ll be notified. This helps you stay ahead of your competition, maintains relevance in your searches, and minimizes the need to search through hundreds of results in a blind search.
Bonus: you can adjust the frequency of alerts to appear as they’re published, or based on a particular daily/weekly timeline.
It’s the quality of the activities you conduct in your search, versus the quantity, and even if you have only a few minutes per day, if you’re strategic and focused with your time, you can still yield ideal results. Think about your objective – make sure all of your employer-facing profiles and materials reflect that same objective and message, and that you’re spending your time on the types of activities most likely to yield a result for folks in your industry and at your level.
Scouring the job boards might not be as effective for a C-level executive as for a mid-level project manager. Know your industry, the key players, and where hiring managers are spending their own time, effort, and resources, and you’ll be more likely to tap into the types of positions that are right for you.