Routine to Stay Focus when Job Searching and Unemployed

Losing your job from a corporate restructure, downsizing, company closing, lay off or even being fired, all are very stressful situations and many people lose structure of the day to day routine. Let’s face it you don’t have a direct report, but as the CEO of your life you need to stay focused. Don’t fall in the bad routine of; getting out of bed at 10am, watching Jerry Springer and The Price Is Right on television, staying in your sweatpants all day, then start your job search when Wheel of Fortune comes on at 7:30 pm. This type of routine will certainly destroy your motivation and waste valuable time.

Even a good routine can be monotonous, so when we speak of a job search routine we actually mean a list of job search responsibilities that need to take place in a certain time frame. If every day is a carbon copy of the day before it will become extremely mundane and humdrum; then fatigue, anxiety and loneliness can set in. Loneliness can be an obstacle many don’t think they would have to face. When you’re unemployed many of your friends and family have full time jobs, responsibilities and in many cases might be too busy for you. A job is also a social network that you lose when you lose your job. You need to mix it up, do things in a different order, concentrate on different items on certain days to get quality results and do things for yourself. There are things that need to happen every day to maintain over all structure to your job search.

Advice to Give Structure to your Routine

Every day you need to have your next day planned out and every week you need to have you next week planned out, you will constantly need to make changes to accommodate the needs of your job search.  Take the below advice and make a base routine for each day of the work week and on weekends squeeze in some time to research new job postings so Mondays you have your targets ready. Place your schedule on a daily calendar and check off each responsibility as you complete it.   It is suggested in the first few weeks of your job search you will need to be more aggressive in the amount of time you put into you job search routine since you will have more research and job postings to review.  At or about the third week you should see a harmony form within your routine.

  • Start of Day 6:30 am Daily — start your day at the same time every day. 6:30 am will give your day a good start and keep you structured.
  • 45 Minutes Daily — each morning you need to take a shower and get dressed and not in sweat pants, you need to put on real clothing not sleep wear. This will keep you from crawling up on the couch or in bed. Remember take pride in your appearance it will make you feel good and keep you motivated.
  • 15-30 Minutes Daily — eat breakfast, we all have heard it is the most important meal of the day and it will keep your energy levels on track.
  • 60 Minutes Daily — fitness, if you normally go to the gym or an exercise program, whether it’s in the morning, lunch time or evenings don’t change it, keep your fitness routine on track. If you don’t have a fitness routine or you had to cancel your gym membership due to loss of income, think of taking long walks, speed walking or even seek out playing your favorite sport, these all can do wonders for your fitness. Do workouts you can do at home; jump rope, weights, yoga and/or sit ups. Remember to consult your physician with any fitness routine you start.
  • 30 Minutes Daily — review any new job postings from on line search engines as we discussed in our The Web section. Print out a list of the jobs with their job description and web link.
  • 20 Minutes Daily — review the classified ads and circle jobs you want to apply for, as discussed in our Traditional Method section.
  • 30 Minutes Daily — work on your list of companies and organizations you desire to work for, even though they don’t have advertised job postings as discussed in our Traditional Method section. Take a few of these companies and track down the contact information of the person who would be doing the hiring and your next boss for your type of position at each of these companies.
  • 20 Minutes Daily — work your list of recruiters you need to contact as discussed in our Recruiters page.
  • 30-60 Minutes Daily — review your networking; leads, contacts and LinkedIn as discussed in our Networking/LinkedIn page and make a list of jobs or companies you want to apply for. Take part in LinkedIn group discussions and review you has viewed your profile for contact leads.
  • 60 Minutes Daily — take a lunch break
  • Two/20 Minutes Daily — take two/20 minute breaks a day on top of 30-60 minutes for lunch, get up walk around have a snack.
  • 3-4 Hours Daily — write your cover letters and make any changes to your resume to target each of the jobs you are applying for from the above list you complied. Send out cover letters and resumes by mail or email and complete any online job applications. Remember it is better to send out 10 well targeted cover letters and resumes to the right people than it is to send out 1,000 general ones.
  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — a few days during the work week, review your own finances and stay on top of them. Plan a budget and constantly review you spending and areas you can save money.
  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — meet colleagues, friends or even family members for an inexpensive breakfast, lunch, or cup of coffee. Communicate how your search is going; be open for advice and leads. This will help break up the monotonous of your week, fight some of the loneliness and can also add leads to your job search.
  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — work on your skills for landing a job. Attend online webinars, live seminars or workshops that are available to further your job seeking skills. There are many of these being offered that cover skills on; resumes, cover letters, looking for job openings, time management, interviewing, etc. You can also research many of these topics; online, books at the library or even in your local book store. Also reach out to your county unemployment offices, community centers, churches, schools and colleges many hold career clubs, support groups or career services that can be very beneficial.
  • End of Job Search Work Day approx. 5:00 pm — your job search day should end about the same time your normal work day ended. Just like in the real world of work there are times that you need to put in overtime. Spend time with family and friends, stay active and don’t become a couch potato.
  • 20 Minutes Daily — Each evening before you retire to bed, spend about 20 minutes to look over any emails or networking that might need your response.

As you can see a job search is a full day and we didn’t include any job interviews, career fairs or job fairs that you will need to attend. Stay on track and if you fall out of your routine, acknowledge it then get back on track. One important note is that you need a work space that is yours to use for you job search. If you have a home office space you’re in luck, but if you don’t you need to carve out a space where you can work without interruptions from others.

During unemployment is a good time to obtain job skills, certifications or licenses that can assist in your career. Take that course on a software program your missing, get certified on that piece of equipment, or make sure your licenses are up to date