Your Hour-by-Hour Guide to Kicking Off Your Job Search in One Afternoon was originally published on The Muse, a great place to research companies and careers. Click here to search for great jobs and companies near you.
Finish that show you’ve been binging. Organize your bedroom. Bar hop with friends. Watch football. Go sledding with your kids. Sleep in.
These are the things you want to do on a Saturday.
Write a cover letter? Send out networking emails? Not so much.
But if you clicked on this article, that means you’re probably job searching, and have yet to find the motivation to do it on the weekend (even though you know you need to).
Lucky for you, I have the perfect calendar for really kick-starting the process (that won’t take up your entire day off). And you know what? If you follow this schedule for four weekends in a row and you’re going to be in a great place.
Whether you’re starting at 9 AM (because you’re a morning person) or at 5 PM (because you’re a night owl), it’s important to get yourself mentally—and physically—in the zone.
Throw on your comfiest clothes and get settled in a place where you know you’ll be productive.
Make sure you’re surrounded by everything you need (so you don’t get distracted tracking them down later)—your laptop, a notebook or your planner, snacks, a water bottle, tissues, a bathroom. Now open up your LinkedIn profile, your resume, and any other materials you think you might need.
Lastly, reach out to a few trusted friends and see if they’re available to do some quick proofreading later in the day.
For the first hour, peruse job boards (like The Muse!) and company websites for openings. Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to find the perfect role or collecting X amount of prospective jobs. Just enjoy checking out what different roles offer and the cultures of various companies, and jot down or save anything that sticks out to you or sounds interesting to apply to.
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Dig out that old resume of yours and get it up to date. Add new jobs, delete old ones, reorganize (a.k.a., put new or most applicable jobs higher up), fix any dates or inaccurate bullets, and edit for spelling and grammar (mistakes can cost you more than you realize).
Need to write one from scratch, fast? Read this.
And have some extra time? Try adding some graphic elements or using a resume template.
To Help You Update Your Resume: How to Update Your Resume in 30 Minutes—and Turn in an Impressive, Typo-Free Version
Time to be judgemental and pick your three favorites. Then, go to LinkedIn and see if you have any connections at those companies, and if so, set up an informational interview with them—here’s a template for asking people you know well. If you don’t know anyone, you’re not off the hook yet! Here’s how to reach out to people you don’t know at all .
Because truth is, you need a connection to make sure your application gets out of the black hole. And setting up a few of these meetings helps to make that possible.
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I know, this is probably the worst part of the whole process, but you’re halfway done so hang in there! Next up is that tailoring that cover letter to the job your chose.
And, I can make it super simple for you: This is the perfect template you can just copy, paste, and edit with your own experiences. Remember to keep it under one page and tailor it to the specific job (a.k.a., show how you’re passionate and qualified for the role).
To Help You Craft Your Cover Letter: How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter From Scratch in 30 Minutes
What does this mean? Make a copy of that resume you just refined, and make sure the most applicable skills and experiences to the job are the most prominent on your resume. Also, make it clear the reason you’re applying—for example, if you’re a career changer, it should be obvious to someone reading that you’re both qualified and passionate about this new field.
To Help You Tailor: What it Really Means to “Tailor Your Resume”
Have them read it over, spot any errors, and give you honest feedback while you take a break to make a snack, take a quick nap, or relax with a short show. Bonus if they work in your desired field.
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Incorporate any feedback you got, and check everything one last time for mistakes, as well as compare your application to the job’s requirements—did you answer everything they asked?
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…And find two one-hour slots this week to tailor your materials and apply to those other two jobs you set aside as “favorites.” Make sure it’s a day when you know you’ll be in a good place (a.k.a., after a not-so-busy work day).
To Help You Find Time in Your Packed Schedule: This Free Calculator Will Find You Spare Time in Your Busy, Busy Schedule
You know what they say: Hiring managers stalk.
So, better to make sure your online presence is spotless before they search for your name on Monday morning. Make sure to write your summary, alter your headline so that your expertise is clear, fill in your experience, arrange your skills, and (if you have time) email a past co-worker or boss for a recommendation.
To Help Update Your Profile: How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for Your Job Search in 30 Minutes
I saved the easiest task for last (you’re welcome).
To wind down your day (and supplement all the work you did), spend 10 minutes writing up and sending out emails to anyone—a friend in the same field, an old co-worker, a distant relative. Ask them for coffee, for advice, or even just to take a look at your resume and give feedback. The more help and support you surround yourself with, the easier your job search will ultimately be.
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I get it, job searching on a Saturday is a huge bummer. But there’s never going to be a “fun” time to do it. And if you repeat this for a few weekends in a row, you’ll be lining up interviews in no time.
Think about it this way: Start today and you could have a shiny new job by next month.