How to use your time in a job hunt

by Salpeter, Miriam Monday, September 12, 2011
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Are you looking in the mirror when you search for a job – to take a good, hard look and see if there is something about your attitude or approach that you can change? Staying positive and upbeat is important to your ultimate success.

Another important tip? Use your time well if you are not currently working. It’s easy to let hours, days and weeks pass by before setting up a strategy that will help you succeed in your hunt.

I’ve already shared great reasons to volunteer if you have some free time. Here are a few additional tips to consider if you’re not quite sure what to do with your time.

If you haven’t started, dive into social media and Web 2.0 applications! Yes, this can take some time if you are going to do it full force. But, you have time, so go for it! Start searching for blogs in your niche. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop list is a perfect place to find blogs in an array of topics, but you can certainly use Google to find current information in your field of interest. Spend some time researching and exploring. See if you can identify the stars in your field. Use online mechanisms to connect to them!

How? Post smart comments on their blogs. See if they use Twitter and follow them. (Read more of my suggestions about using Twitter for the job hunt HERE or check out my book, Social Networking for Career Success. (You can even get in on Kindle for a great price on Amazon.) Make sure you are using LinkedIn effectively. You may be amazed at how quickly you can connect and “befriend” people online. (Learn more about my book and my Google+ Guide!)

Consider authoring a blog. If you are a strong writer, there isn’t a better way to influence your Google rankings and demonstrate authority in your subject matter. If you have the time, why not try? You have nothing to lose. (If you want to learn more about what you’d put on your own website/social resume, but sure to check out my site. I can even help you get into your own site if you’re not technically inclined.)

Stop and think about what you really want to do. Use your time to assess yourself, your goals and plans for the future. How often are we forced to take a moment to really think about the future. This is your chance. Do you like the way your life is going? Are you happy with your path? If not, consider a coach to help you figure out a new direction.

Learn a new skill. Have you been thinking about taking a class in something that will help you with your job? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit? This is a good time. Doing something new and learning a new skill is good for your attitude and will help you in multiple ways.

There is so much information and opportunities to learn new things online for free. High-profile and talented people are offering free teleclasses, webinars and seminars all of the time. If you plug in, you’ll learn about these opportunities and benefit from them. Take advantage of your public library as a resource for information. Check in with the librarian for information you might be missing!

Don’t wait until you have an interview scheduled to prepare for the interview! Do you know what you’ll wear to an interview? Does it fit? Is it clean and pressed? How about your shoes? Do they pass muster? Dont’ wait until you’ve been searching for two months and get a call for an interview tomorrow to look in your closet!

Once you have an outfit ready, start planning and practicing what you will say in an interview, in a networking situation…Use your time to get ready. I work with clients on mock interviews, so you will really know what skills you can improve. If you are prepared, when you start pulling in opportunities, you won’t panic!

Of course, much of your “free” time will be taken up with job hunting. Don’t forget, many of the activities listed above are part of your job hunt. I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention that networking (in person and online) is key – spend more time doing this than searching for online postings. Make sure your resume and materials are top-notch and use your time to prep for everything you will need.