5 Daily Rituals for Job Seekers

Mar 25, 2021 | Job Search Strategy

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Finding it hard to focus on your job search? Give your strategy some structure with these five daily rituals. 

By: Ryan Thornton | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Here we go again, another day of “doomscrolling” for jobs, crossing our fingers, and fretting over the future.

Or … how about not?

Finding a great job these days is a delicate mix of some good fortune, a lot of hard work, and rugged persistence. So, rather than spending yet another day worrying about what you’re doing or not doing to improve your job search, try establishing a daily routine that gets you a little closer to your dream job offer one day at a time.

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Find a Routine

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

A regular daily routine will give your job search structure and focus. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Finding a great job these days is a delicate mix of some good fortune, a lot of hard work, and rugged persistence. So, rather than spending yet another day worrying about what you’re doing or not doing to improve your job search, try establishing a daily routine that gets you a little closer to your dream job offer one day at a time.

Sticking to a good job-seeking schedule will help you in several ways. It will help you find great new job opportunities that you might easily miss in a haphazard job hunt. It will also ensure you aren’t avoiding any potential weak links like a confusing resume, a lack of professional connections, or a vague understanding of your industry. Finally, it will help you avoid the emotional burnout that can accompany the uncertainty of unemployment.

In the end, your schedule will reflect your own job search, so it probably won’t look identical to other routines you may have seen. You might even decide to modify your routine from week to week once you discover which areas need the most work. However, there are a few key tasks that are essential to any solid daily routine.

1. Check for new openings and set up job alerts

The more job openings you have to choose among during your search, the more likely you are to find positions and companies that are a good fit for your values and skills. We already know that a significant percentage of job openings never make it out of the “hidden job market” into a public post, so you really can’t afford to miss out on the opportunities that are made public.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to hit refresh on your preferred job board sites all day long – this won’t help you much in the long run. Instead, set aside some time every day to browse the top job boards for your industry, making full use of the search terms and filters to save your brainpower for actually reading job descriptions properly. Do yourself a favor and add these job boards to your browser’s favorites toolbar. If you’ve identified a few companies you’d most like to join, you may also want to create shortcuts for quick access to their current job openings pages.

Job alerts are an excellent way to supplement your active searches. Popular job board sites like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, and others will offer to send you regular emails with new job postings once you sign up for an account. No job board is perfect, so it’s a good idea to sign up for several job alert subscriptions, especially if you are currently out of work and in urgent need of a new job.

Reading job alerts can jumpstart your daily search routine, since it allows you more flexibility in the day to put together an application if you come across a great opportunity. Previous research from StartWire has indicated that roughly half of successful applicants applied within the first week of a job being posted, so you want to know about new openings as early as possible.

Stay diligent with these job searches to improve your chances. Although you never want to rush an application, we recommend getting applications in early, within a few days of a job posting, for best results.

2. Spend some time networking

Man having online interview. Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

An informational interview is a great way to get your foot in the door at your dream company, or learn more about a field you’re interested in. Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

We’ve all heard the numbers. Personal and professional connections may be the ticket for as many as 80 percent of all new hires. Your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile may be highly impressive, but you’re missing a giant opportunity if you’re not networking a little every day.

However, you want to think of this as making friends, not business connections. It turns out that making friends isn’t just fun, but smart for your career as well.

This is especially true when your new friends are in a position or with a company that aligns with your own career ambitions. In one of our recent Career Warrior podcast episodes, we featured the sage advice of millennial career strategist Adunola Adeshola, who encouraged job seekers to prioritize building strategic new connections.

Adunola’s rule of thumb? Reach out to people who you would be curious about even if you weren’t job hunting. If all goes smoothly, your genuine curiosity in their life and work will help build a natural affinity and, ultimately, a great new professional connection to help you take your next step.

Adunola recommends sending an email to guarantee your request is seen. Once you’ve spent some time studying their LinkedIn profile or company website, you can refer to some examples to help formulate a respectful and personal message.

Alternatively, your version of networking may lean more heavily on commenting on LinkedIn posts or messaging people there. If you are currently employed, you can also consider “internal networking” with colleagues who may be able to help you get headed in the direction you want to go.

3. Research companies

Depending on your flexibility, you might want to start your job search by making a list of target companies you’d like to join. If this is your chosen route, you should spend some time every day following and asking questions about these companies like they are your favorite new K-pop crew. Even if you don’t go with a list of companies, you should be considering those questions before applying for an open position.

You can also use this research time to set up “informational interviews” with employees who work in your field and may have valuable information about some of your target companies.

4. Monitor your results

Person writing checklist. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

It’s key to stay organized and on top of where you are at each stage of the process in each company. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Keeping track of your progress is a really good way to stay motivated when you get discouraged and can also help you identify any weak points in your application process.

Using a bullet journal or spreadsheet can help you identify what stage in the process you need to focus on right away. If, for example, you are often getting invited to interview but no further than that, you know the main problem is likely not with your resume.

In any case, you don’t want to read too much into any single result while monitoring your progress. As research from TalentWorks has shown, the odds of being invited to a first interview, let alone receiving a job offer, are very rarely in your favor. Monitoring your results can help you improve those odds in incremental steps, while minding the difference between the trap of perfectionism and meaningful changes.

5. Take a freakin’ break!

This is not optional! Taking time for rest and relaxation is critical to long-term health and happiness no matter what, but especially so if you are enduring the stress of securing a new job and struggling to avoid burnout.

Last year, entrepreneur and author Matt Zinman joined the Career Warrior podcast to discuss the importance of setting aside time to go on walks or listen to music during your job search, even if doing so feels counterproductive. If you’re barely surviving your job search, you can download Matt’s self-care report card to keep track of your mental and physical well-being throughout the process.

Make It Personal

Now that you know how to upgrade your job search, it’s time to put these tasks into a personal daily schedule. Be realistic about your time and energy: if your schedule doesn’t work well for you, it will be more difficult to stick with. Plus, you will still need to spend some of your time writing cover letters, making sure your resume is targeted to the job description, and applying for the positions you find, so you don’t need to allocate your entire day to looking for new openings, networking, researching companies, and tracking your progress. Just don’t let yourself skip over any of these essential tasks, and always include time for relaxation and rest.

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