Three Things to Do before Applying for Jobs

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Some job searchers find themselves tempted to jump in with both feet, scouring the Internet for leads as soon as they know they need a new job. While there’s something to be said for taking action, it’s often best to make a plan for your search before you start looking for work. A job search plan can help you define your goals and track your progress during different phases of your search. It can also help you keep organized and away from common job-search pitfalls.

Start out by determining what kind of interests you. Your skills and experience might be applicable to many kinds of positions, so decide which of your attributes you’re going to focus on. Create a list of things you find attractive in a job. You may find it useful during this stage to take an online skills test or fill out an occupation profile, particularly if you’re having difficulty identifying the kind of work you’d like to do.

Next, map out your workspace. Having a dedicated space will help you stay on task and keep organized. Be sure it has room for your preferred organizational system, whether that’s digital or on paper, and that you have a way to keep records of your job applications and any communication you have with employers. Set up a calendar and areas for tools like networking letters and resumes, as well as a spot where you can store information you find while researching.

Third, create a schedule. Try to spend about half your time networking and most of the rest of your time finding and applying for jobs. However, don’t forget to build in a little time to keep things fun and maintain your workspace. Aim to keep regular hours if you’re unemployed, so that you stay in sync with the working world. In addition, be sure to revisit your schedule on a regular basis so that you continue to use your time as effectively as possible.

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