The internet has revolutionised the way we look for jobs: online job boards and e-mail means quick, easy access to all the latest vacancies and the recruiters that are looking to fill them.
Unfortunately, the internet has also revolutionised the way we entertain ourselves: it’s a big world online, and there’s plenty to take your mind off the task in hand. If you’re not careful, you can find you’re kicking yourself after another day of job search turns into a marathon of episodes from your latest favourite series or hours ambling through blogs.
On top of all the distractions the internet has to offer, it’s a tough season to focus; chances are your family and friends are on holiday and looking to spend some time with you, and there are leftovers to be eaten and toasts to be raised. Irregular hours and a bunch of people vying for your attention can take its toll on your job search.
Ask yourself, “Why am I getting distracted?”
Is your personal pitfall an addiction to cat videos online, or are you shying off searching for jobs because you’ve been left unmotivated by lack of feedback or success? Being aware of where your weaknesses lie will help you overcome them as you take the following advice…
The first thing to do to combat distractions is get organised. You’ll want to have all your information at your fingertips, neatly ordered and filed: that way, it’s quick and easy to see what you’ve applied for, what stage you’re at in different applications and what versions of your CV you have ready.
It may seem arbitrary but spending twenty minutes getting everything in a binder or in a folder on your desktop will help you keep your mind on track, too. You won’t have to disrupt your search because you’re getting up to dig around for mislaid things, and you can be confident and systematic as you apply for roles.
Having a calendar so you can see when you applied for things – and whether it’s time for a follow up e-mail – could also be helpful, and one really good idea is to have a dedicated folder in your e-mail inbox too. That way, you can access information about your job applications while you’re on the go.
After your paperwork’s primed, the most important thing is to establish a routine: whether it’s four hours in the morning or a couple of hours last thing at night, putting aside regular time to respond to e-mails, check listings for new postings or touch up your CV means that you’ll always feel in control of your job search.
Do a little self-searching and decide when you’ll be at your most productive, then clear that time to turn off your mobile, log out of your social media accounts and focus on all things career-orientated. Don’t worry about little chores that need doing or try to work with the TV on in the background – pretend you’re at work and you’ll get in the right mindset to get things done. Cordoning this time off just for job searching will also mean you’ll have a boundary between ‘work’ online and ‘fun’; so later, when you’re watching a film, you won’t feel obliged to tinker with your CV, either.
Now you’re not wasting time while you’re searching, you don’t have to feel guilty about making time for yourself away from your desk. Many people say that looking for a job should be a full time job, but that doesn’t have to mean eight non-stop hours at your computer. Get enough sleep and get out and about – a bit of light exercise and a good sleeping pattern will help your ability to focus, so it’s a win-win!
You can get more careers advice here.