It’s never ‘easy’ to find a new job, but thankfully the market is starting to turn around enough that gaining a new employment opportunity no longer feels like an impossibility. If you’ve been working at home and are now looking to rejoin the workforce, the entire process is going to take some serious adjustment. Your day must be organized around your job search, and that means getting your home office in gear as well. Obviously you don’t want to spend a ton of money on this enterprise. If money was no object you probably wouldn’t be looking in the first place! But here are a few tips to help make your job search a success.
First off, you’re going to need some structure. Looking for a job can be a daunting experience, whether you’re a boomer with decades of top level experience or a college grad seeking his first big break. Most people hunt down opportunities online, and the internet is a big, scary place. So get yourself a white board you can use as an organizational tool. It should use dry erase markers, so you can adjust strategy and make notes as you go along. But hang it in a prominent place in your office. At the beginning of your search, use it to set goals. Write out a phrase or quote that inspires you, that hopefully will keep you going even in the toughest times. Then lay out a specific structure for your job search. Decide how many applications you want to send a week, and how many interviews you feel you will need to generate in order to get a job offer. Make some notes about the type of job you want, and what makes you uniquely qualified. This could also act as a visual cheat sheet if you get a recruiting call and need a reference during the conversation.
Now that you have the generalities in place you’ve got to get it down to specifics. For that you will need a calendar. Most people are comfortable enough on computers to use a calendar program, so hopefully you already have one set up. Break down your larger goals here, in a set of daily tasks. You might also want to set up a project management app or list app so you can keep tabs on each job you apply for or each week’s specific goals. Remember that you’ll need to take actionable steps each and every day, so use the calendar to keep you honest. If you aren’t comfortable with a computer calendar, get yourself one of those book-sized day planners you can use instead. The process will be completely the same, but you’ll write everything out instead of typing it.
You might also want to have some sort of filing system in place that you can reference easily. Again, this could be online, but many people prefer a physical filing cabinet. You can begin creating file folders to keep each job opportunity organized. You can use these during your research phase, as you gather information about the companies you would like to work for, and then you can reference back to these files when on a phone interview. Always have several copies of your most recent resume on hand in the file as well, and make sure you use high quality paper. You can organize the jobs alphabetically, but you might find it easier to order them by your preference. In either case, be diligent about the details. You never know when a random news article you printed out and slipped into a file could give you the piece of info you need to nail that interview.
Finally, make sure that you back up all of your data effectively. Your contact lists are crucial right now, as most jobs are filled through networking and not from random posting boards. Make sure your desktop folders are organized, and all of your data is backed up effectively. Get an additional hard drive if need be, and drop any unreliable machines. For example, put your dated fax machine out to pasture and check out www.onlinefaxservice.com instead. Now is not the time to miss out on an opportunity because a fax wasn’t properly sent.