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Posted by Hays UAE, February 2016

Marc Burrage, Managing Director of Hays Japan, offers advice on how to make the time to seek out the career opportunities that you want:

There’s no use in rushing your job search. You’ve made the bold decision to take the jump, so you may as well switch to a job that you’re really going to enjoy and thrive in. It’s all about streamlining the job search process and managing your time effectively.

Here are some tips to help you conduct a time-efficient job search, divided into two sections: passive (before you start researching) and active (once you’ve started researching):

Passive (before you start researching)

1. Stop procrastinating immediately: First things first, any periods of procrastination are going to have to go. Instead of twiddling your thumbs during your commute to work or taking the full 60 minutes for lunch why not spend this time researching relevant companies or updating your work documents? It is not a good idea however, to do this on a company computer.

2. Evaluate your skills ahead of time: Avoid rushing into your job search and scatter-applying for a range of vaguely relevant positions just because you are pushed for free time. Before you’ve embarked on the hunt itself, take the time to reflect upon what your ambitions are and in which direction your career is going.

  • What are your strengths?

  • What role would these strengths best lend themselves to?

  • Which industries are doing well and which aren’t?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

It sometimes helps to get the opinion of others on how accomplished our skillset really is – we’re not always the fairest judges of ourselves! Considering the circumstances, family or friends outside of work are probably the best people to approach – you don’t want to risk your employer discovering your plan. By only applying for roles that you’re likely to be a success in you’re saving both yourself and prospective employers a lot of precious time.

3. Get your affairs in order: Make sure all your personal and work information is current and relevant; this includes your online profiles as well as your CV. You can find some handy advice on optimising your LinkedIn profile here, and some tips on refining your CV here. One caveat however, don’t conduct too drastic an overhaul of your online profiles all at the same time – you don’t want to raise the suspicions of your current employer.

Save time by having all your information readily available across all of your devices. Make sure you have the full contact details of your referees on your smart phone as well as your laptop, for example – this way if you find an interesting role on the way to work which has an immediate deadline you can apply for it there and then.

You can also save yourself a great deal of time by having a few varied CV templates. How many of these you prepare obviously depends on how wide a net you’re casting in your job search. Create a loose CV for each role and then tailor them when applying to specific employers.

4. Cultivate a bustling network: This should be a constant consideration for most professionals. By maintaining a large and lively network of contacts you may not have to spend any time looking for a new job, it might come looking for you. Grow your network by connecting with relevant contacts and sharing relevant insights, as well as attending industry events which are of interest.

Again, you don’t want to alert your employer of your intentions to leave just yet so keep it casual. See if there’s anyone in your contacts book who you haven’t seen in a while and who might be able to recommend you an opportunity or employer.

Active (once you’ve started researching)

5. Schedule your day: Once you’ve refreshed your CV and your online profiles you need to carefully allocate some time to get on with the research and application stages. When are you most productive? The average person is most productive during the first two hours after waking up, so perhaps wake up an hour earlier than you otherwise would and get job hunting.

The reality might be that your schedule is already stretched to its limit, in which case you’re going to have to take advantage of any windows of free time that become available. This means: your commute to and from work, your lunch break, whilst cooking dinner and so on.

6. Only apply for jobs you love: The internet is your friend during this process; it has entirely revolutionised the way we job search, and sped the whole procedure up immeasurably. No longer do you have to go knocking on doors with a pile of CVs in hand to find the job you want. There are so many ways you can vet a whole catalogue of positions with just a few clicks – you can access Hays job database here.

By getting in contact with a Hays recruiter you can have them do all the work for you, meaning that you don’t have to reorganise your whole schedule. They will contact you once they’ve found an appropriate opportunity.

Save yourself time by only applying for positions that are relevant to your skillset, and which you have a real interest in. Recruiters examine job applications for a living and know if you’ve put much effort into the process or not. Contrary to popular belief, submitting a few well-considered applications will land you a job much quicker than churning out a quantity of hurried ones.

7. Search on a Monday, apply on a Tuesday: Store all the jobs that interest you in one place, and then apply for them during time you’ve set aside to do so – the Hays mobile site allows you to save jobs that interest you, and then return and review them later at a more suitable time.

The alternative – finding a job you like, applying for it straight away, repeat process – could mean that by the time you’ve found a role you really like, you might already have exhausted yourself completing a bunch of forms for jobs that you had minimal interest in.

Collate all the jobs that appeal to you over a few days and then prioritise your application process according to which one(s) interest you most. Make sure to keep a record of all the positions you’ve applied for, how you applied and what sort of responses you received. This is helpful both for monitoring the status of the application (and chasing it up), as well as refining your strategy around which approach worked best.

A final thought

Finding the right job isn’t easy at the best of times, never mind when you’re already in full time employment. You want to end up somewhere where you’ll feel motivated and competent; especially when you consider that you’ll be spending most of your waking hours there.

Searching for a new job whilst already in one depends heavily on being smart, and streamlining the process. There is much you can do before the actual ‘search’ begins – such as updating your CV and online profiles, keeping your network current and evaluating your own skills – but once it’s time to put yourself out there you need to be tactful in your approach, lest you become disinterested and demotivated.

Set aside times of the day for your job search when you are most alert, aim for quality of applications over quantity and keep a record of all your activity. If you’re still having no luck then maybe you’re making one of these common job search mistakes.

Thank you for reading and good luck with your search. If you are setting time aside for your job hunt, you may find some of the links below useful.