SPEAKER’S CORNER: How to Manage Your Time During the Job Hunt

 By Mike Palestina

Mike is an International Coach Federation Certified Coach and Leadership Consultant with more than 200 hours of accredited coaching training, and over 25 years of practical business services experience.

Having held leadership roles in a variety of functional areas he has personally experienced and understands the challenges leaders face throughout their organizations and while in transition.

Mike facilitated a round table discusssion on job search at the PSGCNJ general meeting on June 6.

The question about “How do I schedule my time” seems to come up a lot in discussions at networking functions. The following are my suggestions on time management during normal business hours.

Networking – Approximately 80%

We have all heard that networking is the key to a successful job search and that there is a high probability that your next opportunity will come from someone you have not yet met.

Research indicates that successful candidates spend approximately 80% of their job search time networking. Assuming that your current job is to find a job that translates into approximately 32 hours per week. How many of you spend that much time every week networking? Seems almost impossible doesn’t it? Well it’s not. Here is how you can accomplish this assuming you are willing to expend the required amount of positive energy.

There are many formal networking opportunities available to you within an hour’s drive. Choose five meetings a week with the objective of meeting at least five people at each of the meetings and you will average approximately 35 hours a week networking. Here’s how. Each group networking meeting is usually two hours in duration. If you schedule separate one hour discussions (30 minutes for your agenda and 30 minutes for your contact’s agenda) with five people from each group meeting you will exceed the 32 hour objective (2 hours (per group meeting) + 5 hours (from individual meetings) = 7 hours generated from each group meeting x 5 group meetings per week = 35 hours). Give it a try. You don’t need to get there over night but the sooner you do the better.

Social Media and Online Job Boards – Approximately 10%

Hopefully you are all aware of the importance of having LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. These social media sites are rapidly becoming a strategic component in many employers’ candidate search strategies with LinkedIn being the clear front runner.

There are many online job boards so I suggest that you narrow the field to a manageable few. My suggestions are Indeed.com, Simplyhired.com, and AllianceQ.com.

You should spend no more than 10% of your time (from 9:00am-6:00pm, Monday-Friday) reviewing all of these sites and any others you choose to use. Feel free to review these sites as much as you want during non-business hours but the business day should be used primarily for discussions with networking contacts.

Search Firms – Approximately 5%

There are two types of recruiters, retained and contingency and both work on behalf of employers, not job candidates.

Retained recruiters are hired to identify, recruit and evaluate candidates for a specific role. Contingency recruiters target many diverse roles and are compensated only if the candidate they present is hired.

Many employers are seeking ways to significantly reduce their hiring expenses and are doing so by reducing the role of recruiters and increasing the role of LinkedIn and other online tools. This is one reason why you should consider spending a limited amount of your time working with recruiters.

Another reason for limiting time spent working with recruiters is many times you can find the same role simply by staying connected to your network and reviewing company job sites on your own.

And while the vast majority of recruiters are well respected be very careful about who you choose to represent you.

Contract and Temporary Agencies – Approximately 5%

The term “portfolio career” has started to be used recently and it means working as a contract employee as opposed to a full-time employee. For many job searchers this may require a shift in how they think about their careers.

Contract roles have been gaining traction in the IT and project management areas and may sometimes lead to full-time employment. Many contract assignments offer competitive pay and some benefits as well.

As with search firms choose carefully which agencies you allow to represent you and read the contract carefully. Make sure the employer pays all fees associated with your contract.

Good luck!

Michael Palestina
ICF Certified Executive Coach / Leadership Consultant / Career Coach
Black River Group, Inc.
Cell: 973-534-8685
Skype: mike.palestina

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