Organisation. I’m not always the best at it. I’m the kind of girl whose friends creep up behind her to pull the tag out of her new clothes, or the girl who leaves getting ready to the absolute last minute, only to realise (after a very strange train journey: the one time you’d prefer people to look you in the eye!) that she’s wearing two completely different shoes (this has only happened once. Thank god. I’m hoping it won’t again). So other than highlighting how lovely my friends are and how awkward a train journey can get, the above examples highlight an obvious weakness I have; staying organised.
You’re probably thinking, ‘If she’s so disorganised, how can she possibly offer us any valuable advice?!’ Well, my inability to organise myself has, so far, left my professional life unaffected. But it takes keeping organisation at the forefront of my mind daily to prevent it. This was especially true while I was job hunting; as structuring your day can be a real headache when you have so many distractions at your fingers tips!
So I’m going to talk you through my average day when I was hunting for a job;
8:00 – 9:00: Wake up. Drink coffee. Get dressed. Drink coffee. Eat Breakfast. Drink tea (variety is the spice of life!)
It’s really important to keep a routine when applying for jobs, and staying in bed until mid-afternoon, continuing or reliving your student days just isn’t going to cut it –take this example: if you’re immediately available and applying for temporary roles, you could easily get a call from a recruiter at half 8, for a job starting at half 9 – but there’s no need to panic – because you’re up, dressed and onto you’re second coffee of the day; you’re almost good to go!
And the wonders getting dressed in the morning can do for moral is indisputable; feeling fresh and together can give you that extra confidence and edge to help you formulate the perfect answer, making you standout from the crowd!
9:00 – 09:30: Check the diary. Find the phone.
Before I’d start applying for jobs I’d always check my emails ( for any responses to my applications) and make sure I had my phone to hand. You never know when you may get the call! So keep track of your phone. I’d also check my diary system for any:
- Calls scheduled
- Interviews I needed to prep for/attend
- Follow up calls to make
It’s important to keep on top of your applications. A follow up call after an interview may not seem important, because if you haven’t heard anything back you probably weren’t successful, however, the call not only shows the employer how keen you are (which could be in your favour if they’ve delayed the recruitment process), and if you were unsuccessful it gives you the opportunity to receive feedback on your performance.
09:30 – 11:00: Sift through new jobs.
Use this time to look through any new jobs that may have been uploaded since the previous day or any that may have been missed – I mean, we’re all only human! I would then list my top five jobs to come back to after a quick break! Listing five jobs, as opposed to apply for many, means you have the time to focus on each application and tailor your CV to it.
11:00 – 11:30: Banana and brew!
Searching for a job is no easy task – it takes a lot of concentration! So you need to break and re-fuel!
11:30 – 13:00: CV and cover letter adjustments. Check emails.
I’d use this time to tailor my CV and cover letter to the top five jobs I’d previously picked. It’s important to do so, as no two jobs will necessarily be the same – the job description may be very similar, but the organisations themselves will probably differ or vice-versa.
The advert may ask for skills and experience that you do have, but haven’t mentioned in your original CV or haven’t focused on in as much detail. You also get the opportunity to digest the role you’re applying for – is it the right role for you? Do you have all the essential skills they’ve asked for? If not, save yourself and the employer the time that would be wasted by applying.
13:00 – 14:30: Lunch.
Like I said earlier, you need your concentration to be at its highest when you’re looking for a job; so breaks are essential. And with so many distractions around, especially if you’re applying for jobs from the comfort of your own home, it quickly becomes a challenge staying focused. And you may as well take a long lunch, as very soon you won’t be able to!
14:30 – 17:00: Follow up calls, Interview prep and finish application forms.
I’d use this time to:
- Finish my top five applications and send them
- Follow up any applications I’ve made or interviews I’d attended
- Prepare for an interview
If I had an interview scheduled for the following day, I would use this time to ensure I had my CV and cover letter/application printed and any documents (e.g. passport, birth certificate, driver licence, pay slip…). I would also research the company and its culture, re-read my CV and Cover letter and any literature I’ve been sent by the company (including the job specification). Then come 5:00pm it’s time to clock off for the day!
17:00 – 22:30: Me time!
I know I’m really driving this point home, but searching for work does really take its toll on a person; you’ll feel drained, exhausted and at time deflated (some days you’ll feel them all at the same time!) So it’s really important to set aside some time for yourself. Run yourself a long relaxing bath, watch a bit of cringe TV or go for a meal and catch up with your friends – anything you enjoy! And after an enjoyable evening, it’s time for bed – we have a day full of job hunting tomorrow!
So there you have it! I’d be lying if I said I stuck to this schedule religiously every day, some days I may start later and finish later, or I may start later and finish earlier, but I always checked my diary first thing, applied for my top five jobs each day and made sure I was available for any important phone calls.
I hope this has helped! If you have any other suggestions or would like to share your average day leave me a comment!