Jobfully Blog

Troubleshooting Tuesday: Are You Spending Your Time on the Wrong Things?

The old saying “Time is money” may seem irrelevant to job seekers. After all, you’re not getting paid to look for work. Yet time out of work equals lost income, so how you spend your job search time has great financial impact.  Today on Troubleshooting Tuesday, a look at whether you’re spending your time on tasks with the greatest benefit to your job search success.

How are you really spending your time?

Step one is to understand exactly how you are spending your time. The easiest way to do that is to keep a log of job seeking activities.  Track how much time you spend on each of these buckets:

  1. Self-Assessment and preparation: This includes exercises to look at who you are, where you fit in today’s job market, and learning skills you will use in your job search.
  2. Marketing: Creating marketing materials including resumes, cover letters, online profiles.
  3. Job leads:
    • Advertised jobs: Seeking and applying for advertised jobs including those found on job boards.
    • Hidden Jobs: Networking including meeting with contacts, growing your network online and attending networking and professional events.
  4. Interviewing: Time spent on preparing, such as company research, and attending interviews.

Items 1 and 2 are important parts of a job search. Be sure to make the most of the time you spend on them by reading Troubleshooting Tuesday reports on setting the right size target and optimizing your resume.

Many job seekers spend excessive amounts of time on advertised jobs. This creates a false sense of productivity.  It also leads to neglecting hidden jobs. Focusing on advertised jobs takes time away from networking, which is the biggest source of job leads.

As you track your time you may discover most of your time is not spent on the most productive activities.  Keeping a log will help keep you on track.

Changing how you spend your time

While there is no one formula that is right for dividing up your time, your job search will benefit from targets around each activity. Even if you’ve already done self assessment and preparation work, spend additional time on them each week for continuous improvement.  Keep learning about job search best practices. The Jobfully Resource Library has a wealth of information. Or visit our homepage to learn about Jobfully’s success plan and productivity tools.

In addition, consider decreasing time spent looking for advertised jobs and increasing time spent on networking for the next few weeks.  A good experiment would be a ratio of one hour on advertised jobs for every three hours networking.  Observe the results.

One way to measure productivity is to map time-spent to interviews-generated. (If you are not having trouble getting interviews, but are not getting beyond the interview phase, use a different measure, such as call back for second interviews.) At first, it seems obvious that looking at posted jobs exposes you to more leads than attending a networking event. It takes longer for networking to pay off. But in the long run, you will see your networking efforts begin to yield better results. Networking reveals hidden jobs, allows you to apply for jobs with a warm introduction and garners you inside information that ultimately helps you land a job.

Another reason job searches sometimes stall around time management is that the job seeker simply isn’t devoting enough time to it.  Next on Troubleshooting Tuesday, we’ll look at how much time you should be spending on your job search and how to focus that time effectively.

Other Troubleshooting Tuesday Problems and Solutions:

Overview of Troubleshooting

Is Networking Your Problem?

Stalling after Interviews

Improving Communication in Interviews

Why Aren’t You Making Progress?

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carrie Krueger, Jobfully. Jobfully said: Are you spending job search time on the wrong things? Better choices for greater success on Troubleshooting Tuesday http://bit.ly/e8T3HN [...]

  2. [...] Last week on Troubleshooting Tuesday, we suggested you keep a log of how you spend your job search time, and modify your focus.  But if you’re already spending time on the right activities, you may want to take a look at whether you are giving your job search enough time. [...]

  3. By Troubleshooting Your Job Search | Jobfully Blog on November 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    [...] For making sure that time is well spent see Troubleshooting Tuesday: Are you Spending Your Time on the Right Things? [...]

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