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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

Here's How to Kick-Start Your Job Search in 30 Minutes (and Make Your Life Easier in the Process)

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We’ve all been there before. You’re totally ready to leave your position because you know it’s no longer the right fit, yet you keep showing up day after day. Why? Because diving into a job search seems so incredibly daunting.

Starting means tackling a variety of annoying, yet necessary tasks. And I often see people get stuck at this very beginning stage—overthinking every detail and overwhelmed by the upcoming time commitment.

Now, I think it’s pretty obvious that you’re not going to land a new gig in 30 minutes, but if you have a half-hour you can give yourself a really solid start by getting all that administrative stuff out of the way.

So, set your timers and let’s get going.

Minutes 1 Through 10: Get Organized

A successful job search isn’t something that just happens in a few spare minutes each day. It’s going to take a time and dedication, even on the days you don’t feel like it (especially on the days you don’t feel like it!).

So, open up your calendar and start setting aside dedicated chunks of time to tackle the tasks. Block out 30-minute slots over the coming weeks to revise your master resume, update your LinkedIn profile, write cover letters, find listings that look interesting, tailor your materials to those jobs, and network.

This is also a good time to set a goal about what you want to accomplish each week. It can be completing a certain number of applications or dedicating a specific amount of time to the search. And then—the fun part!—decide how you’re going to treat yourself when you hit those goals.

Minutes 10 Through 20: Prepare Your Network

Once your materials are ready, it’s time to tap into your network. Head over to LinkedIn and make a list of past colleagues, mentors, and anyone else you think would be willing to help you out in your search.

Don’t worry about reaching out just yet. Right now, you only need to focus on pulling a list of as many people as possible. Because the more contacts you can enlist to help, the more doors will open.

If you have a lot of people (go you!), you might want to consider splitting them up into categories—either by industry, experience, or how comfortable you feel asking for help.

Minutes 20 Through 30: Figure Out Where Your Jobs Are

While reaching out to your network may yield some viable opportunities, you’re also going to want to be actively looking for openings.

So, now’s the time to make a list of all those places you’ll be checking out. While your personal list will be dependent on your field, here are a few places almost everyone can look on a regular basis:

  • The career pages and social media channels for your dream companies
  • Your LinkedIn newsfeed
  • The Muse
  • Twitter hashtags
  • Industry-specific sites, newsletters, or Facebook groups

If you’re unsure of where your field typically posts openings, ask your network as you start to reach out. (In fact, that’s a great question to ask if you’re struggling to think of any.) Often times, positions are shared there long before they make their way to places like LinkedIn. In addition, you can make your life even easier by setting job alerts now so that more listings will come directly to your inbox.

And that brings us to the end of the half-hour. As you can see, you can make some serious progress in a relatively short amount of time. While there is still plenty more to do (like the actual emailing, applying, and resume revising), push yourself—I promise it’ll be worth it.

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