Welcome to this ninth module, looking how to structure your job hunting campaign so that you keep going and keep on track until you have secured your next job

Tackle the module in bite size chunks, don’t feel the need to do everything in one go and allow plenty of time to digest and apply the information covered

The module includes helpful ‘Activities’ for you to complete, it is strongly recommended that you undertake them to get the most out of the content and the key learning points

Allow yourself time to reflect and take on board the advice, key messages and suggested tasks contained in the module to enable you to move your job campaign forward

This module will

  • Help you to pull together everything you have leant so far in this programme into a coherent job hunting plan

 

 

  • Ensure you have a clear structure and a set of practical job hunting objectives to undertake and outcomes to achieve

  • Offer a range of time management and planning tools for you choose the one(s) that work(s) best for you

  • Provide guidance on how to get organised and stay in control of your job hunting campaign to find your next job

  • Enable you to prepare SMART action plans using the knowledge gained from this and all of the previous modules

  • Break your planning down into practical, easy to identify and implement ‘bite size chunks’ of activity​ to enable successful job hunting

As we have seen over the course of the previous modules, job hunting success involves managing eight key ingredients

  • Self-awareness – being clear what you have to offer, so recruiters are clear as well

  • CV writing – if it is generating interviews and meetings means then it is working well

  • Interview technique – positively standing out from other interviewees will produce offers

  • Market presence – getting and staying on ‘recruiters radars' to optimise opportunities

  • Motivation – being motivated to ensure that you are energised and 'campaign hungry'

  • Courage – managing fears (e.g. of failure or rejection) is empowering and liberating

  • Resilience – bouncing back from knock backs maintains momentum and confidence

  • Structure – being organised and keeping on track to get to the 'yes' responses

Structuring your campaign can take many forms and be done in lots of different ways

The following techniques are just a few of the ways to structure a successful job hunting campaign

The key thing is that you have a structure and you make things happen, by whatever route works best for you to get you where you want to be now and in the future career

During the rest of this module, you will be setting yourself a number of objectives

It's important that you make the objectives meaningful, manageable and useful to the success of your job hunting campaign

In particular the objectives must be SMART, that is

Specific – they must be clear and definite, not vague or fudged 

Measurable – outcomes sought and by when must be identified

Achievable – challenge and stretch are good, but they must be doable

 

Relevant – focus only on activities that are key to your job hunt

 

 

Timely – undertaken at a time and in an order that makes sense

Structuring an effective campaign involves four key components, you need to

 

 

  • Structure your attitude – ensuring yur behaviours and actions positively and proactively enable you to feel comfortable and confident to get on with your job of getting a job

 

 

  • Structure your wellbeing – safeguarding your physical and mental health and overall happiness both while you are job hunting and also in your new employment

 

 

  • Structure your time – effective time management is crucial, ensuring that you get the best possible results from your job hunting time and don’t waste time, effort and energy

  • Structure your campaign – making sure that you are clear on what outcomes you want to achieve with a practical, well organised and achievable set of action plans 

 

Lets spend some time looking at each of these four key components

We have already seen in the previous three modules that the three key components to having a positive mental attitude when job hunting are

 

 

  • Motivation – being internally driven and prepared to make things happen

 

 

  • Courage – enabling you to be brave and take risks by overcoming your fears

 

 

  • Resilience – having the ability to bounce back stronger than ever from adversity  

 

 

People who have a ‘winning attitude’ have all three attributes, as shown below

Having a ‘winning attitude’ will dramatically increase your chances of job hunting success and also make the process of job hunting a positive, learning and growing experience

 

Spend some time with the activity below to structure your objectives around ensuring that you have and maintain a ‘winning attitude’

Structuring your wellbeing is crucial, the five main types of wellbeing are

  • Physical wellbeing – improving body function via healthy eating and exercise habits

  • Emotional wellbeing – feeling good via a sense of balance and by minimising stress 

  • Social wellbeing – developing meaningful relationships and communication with others

  • Societal well being – enjoying participating in your community, culture and environment

  • Work wellbeing – gaining meaningful value from the job hunting campaign and new job

Wellbeing is crucial to job hunting and also to your ongoing career and personal life

There are seven proven, pragmatic techniques to manage and enhance your wellbeing

Surroundings

It is likely that during job hunting you will be spending more time at home

It’s also increasingly likely that once re-employed, you may be working more from home

So, to support your wellbeing at home and in any other relevant working environments

  • Spot your triggers – recognise what makes you feel negative and avoid or manage them

  • Compartmentalise – keep work and leisure time and activities distinct and clearly separated

  • Make time for yourself – a bit of selfishness is OK, be as generous with yourself as you are with others

  • Be kind to yourself – as long as you are doing the necessary tasks well, don’t give yourself a hard time

  • Celebrate small successes – like any good line manager, praise your own good work and effort

Connecting

Feeling close to others and being valued by them is a paramount relationship need

Feeling a sense of belonging, being there for others and them being there for you is key

Practical ways of making connections include

  • When appropriate, talk to someone rather than send an email or speak to someone new

  • Seek to genuinely empathise and build rapport with people, as well as completing the task(s)

  • Engage with the people around you including family, friends, colleagues, neighbours etc

  • Listening and being interested in people helps, whether it’s done remotely or face to face

Being Active

Regular physical exercise has been shown to lower anxiety, stress and feelings of depression

Being active also improves our mood and mental health, as well as generating a sense of positivity

Exercise is associated with avoiding or slowing down age related memory or cognitive decline

Go for a walk, jog or run, or start regular gardening, or perhaps take up a suitable sport or game 

Break up long periods of sitting with short walks or doing some quick and easy stretch exercises

Taking Notice

Awareness of what is going on around you and being ‘in the present’ improves wellbeing

Research has shown that it can enhance and reaffirm your motivation, drivers and life priorities

Heightened self awareness of your environment and yourself facilitates making positive choices

Take notice of how others are acting or feeling and positively and appropriately respond to them

Living more in the present means

  • Using your senses to appreciate what is going on around you

  • Tapping into your thoughts and feelings now, not in the past or the future

  • Connecting with the world around you, appreciating and savouring the moment

  • Be ‘in the moment’ also means noticing and appreciating change e.g. the seasons

  • Enjoy the present moment around you and the world generally in your thoughts and feelings

  • Being mindful, thoughtful and having an awareness of your environment and your personal needs

Keep Learning

Continuing to learn enhances self esteem, self awareness and self confidence

Learning encourages a more active mind and an interest in life and the external world

Learning also generates social interaction and the setting of positive personal goals

Learning isn't just about education, it’s also includes embracing new experiences and skills

Being curious and seeking out new positive experiences is proven to stimulates the brain

It’s about being open to new ideas and being willing to keep acquiring knowledge

Continuous learning enhances our ability to respond to change and to flexibly adapt

Set new goals, take up something new or rediscover a previous interest or hobby

Giving

Research indicates that people who help others are more likely to judge themselves as happy

Undertaking acts of kindness, however small, tend to increase life satisfaction and contentment

Do something nice or kind for somebody you know or volunteer your time for a good cause

It’s about developing a spirit of generosity and altruism, doing things purely for the ‘common good’

Our sense of purpose and self worth rises as we identify and enact deeds of kindness and generosity

Spend some time with the activity below to structure your objectives to ensure that you maintain and build your wellbeing in relation to the first six techniques we have just looked at

Feeling in control

The seventh wellbeing technique centres on building your sense of both feeling and being in control of your situation and your future

The fundamental difference between stress and pressure is you sense of control

You can be under a lot of pressure but not feel any stress as long as you feel in control

 

 

Conversely, you can have little pressure but feel very stressed if you don’t feel in control

 

 

The other key stress factor is your level of confidence that you are able to manage the situation

 

 

Low confidence, for example, means that, even if we feel in control, we doubt our ability to cope

The diagram below summarises the relationship between control, confidence and stress

Although you are in control of situations, you are plagued by misgivings and disbelief in your own abilities to cope

Because you feel in control and confident about managing situations, your stress levels are minimal regardless of how much pressure you are experiencing

You don’t know what the solutions are, so stress exists, but you do have faith in your ability to manage whatever comes your way

You experience maximum stress and distress levels in lots of situations, which is unhealthy, detrimental to your wellbeing and can render you dysfunctional

Feeling in control is also about

 

 

  • Focussing on what is either completely or partially in your control

 

 

  • Managing what is fully in your control and influencing what is partially in your control

 

 

  • Parking whatever is beyond your control and not wasting your time and energy on them

 

 

  • Spending time and energy only on those things that you can do something about

 

 

In terms of the diagram below, you need to

 

 

  • Spend all of your time prioritising the things in the green and blue areas

 

 

  • Park everything that you identify as being in the red area, so that you don’t waste time and energy

Time management

 

 

During a successful job hunting campaign, your time is a very precious and limited resource

 

 

The following are a selection of some of the most tried and tested time management techniques

 

 

Their relevance and value depend on what sort of person you are and what time issues you struggle with

 

 

You can use all of the techniques or, alternatively, you a can just apply those that will most benefit you

 

 

The crucial focus needs to be that you manage your time well by whatever techniques work best for you

 

 

As illustrated below, there are four dimensions to structuring your time

Let’s spend some time looking at each of these four dimensions and the range of techniques available to manage them

Allocating your time effectively is about ensuring that you have job hunting time available

Techniques to enable you to create designated job hunting periods  of time include

Time Blocking

This technique is particularly helpful to avoid

 

  • Tending to jump around from task to task

  • Being easily distracted or side tracked

  • A tendency to procrastinate and put off doing things

  • Lacking the discipline to do the things you don’t like

  • Difficulty prioritising tasks and how long to spend on them

Regularly blocking off specific time periods for specific tasks can be helpful

How you do it is up to you, but it could look something like this

The Pomodoro Technique

 

Once you have populated your blocks of time, you could break down each block further by using a timer or perhaps the alarm clock on your mobile phone

The technical term for these periods of time or intervals are the Pomodoro technique, the idea being that having short, sharp time slots to enable you to get things done with urgency and purpose

The time slots can be anywhere between 5 and 25 minutes, depending on the required task(s) with the key objective being to increase your productivity, focus and achievement of the outcomes sought

Parkinson’s Law

 

The converse to this approach is probably best encapsulated in what is known as Parkinson’s Law, which states that the amount of time you allocate to a task is the amount of time it will take to complete

So the longer time you give to a task or tasks, the longer it will take to complete, for example, if you tell yourself that you have all day to do ‘x, y and z’, then your whole day will, indeed, be spent making it so

The solution to avoid Parkinson’ Law is to set timings to complete tasks that are challenging but achievable and then stick with in them, so you don’t stretch the time too long over the day

The Eisenhower matrix

Dwight D Eisenhower, the famous World War Two Field Marshal and later US President, developed a matrix for prioritising and dealing with what was important vs unimportant and what was urgent vs not urgent

 

 

The following is the job hunting equivalent matrix

This quadrant is your 1st priority - everything else will have to wait until these items have been completed or are in the process of being completed

This quadrant is your 3rd priority - if all 1st and 2nd priority items are under control, then they can be allocated to whatever time you have left

This is your lowest priority quadrant - these items can be permanently parked or, if your 1st, 2nd and 3rd priorities have been completed, some can be selectively picked off

This quadrant is your 2nd priority - these items need to be done and not lost or ignored, but are not time critical, so they can be appropriately scheduled

The Pareto principle

The Pareto principle states that

  • 20% of your time spent job hunting will produce 80% of the outcomes you are trying to achieve

  • Conversely, 80% of your job hunting time will only produce 20% of the outcomes sought

The diagram below illustrates the principle

So, applying this principle in your time management strategies, you need to regularly keep

 

 

  • Identifying the high impact 20% time and focus on these tasks to realise the 80% of outcomes

  • Only tackle the 80% lower value tasks once all of the high value tasks are completed or  in progress

Pickle jar theory

This theory looks to help you work out what is useful to do or not useful to do in your daily life so that you can prioritise what you should be spending your day doing

The concept is that of a pickle jar that contains sand, pebbles and rocks, as illustrated below

The rocks = the most important tasks that must be done (or set in motion to be done) today

 

 

The pebbles = tasks that need doing but can be done after the rocks have been dealt with

The sand = the disrupters that keep interrupting you and stop you from getting things done

The pickle jar golden rules are that

  • In any list of tasks, you need to identify your rocks, pebbles and sand

  • Most of your time should be spent on the rocks and the pebbles

  • The rocks should always take precedent over the pebbles

  • The pebbles must always take precedent over the sand

  • The sand must occupy very little or none of your time

There are five poplar techniques for optimising your time, namely the

 

 

  • Opportunity cost approach

  • Rapid planning method

  • ‘Eat the frog’ concept

  • Distractions and habits manager

  • Supporters and drainers model

Let’s have a look at each of them in a  bit more detail

The opportunity cost approach

 

 

The opportunity cost of doing something is what else you could have done instead and the benefits and value you could have accrued that you have now missed out on

 

 

There is only one of you and only a limited, finite amount of time, so everything you do has an opportunity cost as there must, by definition, be other things you are not doing 

 

 

The thought processes that opportunity cost approach generates is that, once you have prepared your daily or weekly tasks, you should

 

 

  • Consider the relative opportunity cost of the items and activities on your list of tasks

  • Spend the maximum time on the high value, low opportunity cost items and activities

  • Satisfy yourself that the high opportunity cost tasks are worth missing the forgone value

Rapid planning method

RPM (rapid planning method) seeks to train and condition your brain to be motivated to focus on the outcomes you are trying to achieve

By empowering yourself to take control using a simple model, you can quickly make progress which will further motivate you

Having captured your tasks for the week (or whatever time frame you wish to set) and the results you are seeking to achieve, you will be motivated to then map out and action what needs to be done as illustrated below

Eat the frog

Based on a Mark Twain quotation, ‘eat the frog’ in job hunting terms says that you should identify the beneficial tasks you least like doing, tend to avoid, or just don’t really want to do and making sure you do them first and get them over and done with 

Perhaps an alternative and potentially more positive interpretation of the principle might be for you to do your MITs (most important tasks) in the morning while you are likely to be at your  freshest and feeling most energised

There are seven stages to ‘eat the frog’, namely

Managing your distractions and habits

 

 

Proactively manage the following so that they do not interfere with what youneed to do

  • Be sensitive to identifying and eliminating potential distractions

  • Be aware of just how distractions reduce your productivity

  • Watch out for procrastination or hesitancy in yourself

  • Spot your bad habits and coach yourself to overcome them

  • Understand that you are not perfect – you will make mistakes

  • Making mistakes isn’t bad – as long as you learn from them

  • Multitasking often lowers comprehension, effectiveness and productivity

  • Spot your most productive times of the day and optimise your use of them

  • If you feel the need, spend a week auditing your time to see what is and isn’t working

  • Breakdown large, scary looking tasks into lots of smaller ‘bite size’ tasks

  • Include smaller task milestones and reward yourself for reaching them

  • Group together and tackle together similar tasks from similar areas of activity

  • Schedule in breaks, leisure time, exercise and socialising activities

  • Ensure that you have a healthy and positive work-life balance

  • Identify your ‘keystone’ habits – that both solicit good habits and inhibit bad habits

  • Focusing on your ‘keystone’ habits will enable you to optimise your time management

Positive supporters and negative drainers

Your positive supporters – are the things that help you to stay on track with your job hunting

 

 

Your negative drainers – are all the things that prevent your from effectively job hunting

 

 

The key task is to identify what they each are and how you are going to manage them 

 

 

The best way to pull together these positive and negative aspects is via the diagram below 

There are three tried and tested approaches to organising your time, namely

 

 

  • The GTD model

  • The 'to do lists' approach

  • Effective action planning

Let’s have a look at these in more detail

The GTD method

The ‘getting things done’ (GTD) principle seeks to focus on making tasks more manageable and less onerous by getting them down on paper and then breaking them down into actionable ‘bite size chunks’

As illustrated below

To do list(s)

It can be surprisingly satisfying to crossed off or deleted tasks from a list once they have been completed

 

 

Your to do list(s) can be

 

 

  • Hand written or typed

  • Hard copy or soft copy

  • Prioritised or unordered

  • Subdivided or continuous

  • Alphabetical or random

Whatever format you choose, the items on the list(s) must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely

Below are action plan templates covering the key areas of your campaign namely your

  • CV Action Plan

  • Interview Action Plan

  • Networking Action plan

  • Social Media Action Plan

  • Recruitment Agency Action Plan

  • Adverts Action Plan

  • Speculative Approaches Action Plan

Your psychological contract – treat job hunting like any other job or project you’ve done

Organise yourself – prepare and implement a structured and flexible plan of action

 

Keep records – it doesn’t matter if it is hard or soft copy, just make sure you do it

 

 

Review progress – make it a learning and growing experience now and in the future

 

 

Recognise what is working and do more of it and spot and fix (or stop) what isn’t working

 

 

Use time efficiently – allocate your time according to the relative importance of tasks

 

 

Take control – focus on the things that are fully or partially in your control, park the rest

This module has enabled you to

 

  • Structure your job hunting campaign effectively with practical and proven tools and techniques

  • Understand and use top tips, principles and models to plan an efficient and powerful campaign

 

 

  • Identify SMART objectives and action plans that provide ‘bite size chunks’ of activity to undertake

  • Get ahead of competing jobhunters by being better organised and  structured in your job campaign

  • Recognise that managing the eight ingredients will provide you with incredibly valuable career long skills and abilities

In the next module, we will focus on how to make the best possible success of your new job, you will, no doubt, have worked long and hard to secure you new job, so it's important to to make the best of it and, indeed, to enjoy it!

Go to the next module by CLICKING HERE

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