The NFL season has come to an end with the biggest event in sports - Super Bowl 51. The Patriots led a massive comeback, in large part thanks to their incredible time management skills. Job seekers like you are usually in need of a major win. Take notes on some plays from the football field so you can score a big career touchdown.
Let’s take a look at time management tips from professional football teams that you can use to optimize your job search efforts:
1st Down: Set Your Goal
Every new possession of the ball, the offense sets a clear intention: get another first down. It’s simple and realistic. And of course, it’s time sensitive -- they only have four downs to do it.
You need to apply this same philosophy to your job search. Focus your day-to-day on specific, realistic pursuits.The larger goal for you is landing a job with an employer, which is equivalent to an offense aiming to score a touchdown. But you need to break your touchdown into a series of several first downs.
For example, your main goal is to get hired in a marketing representative role with Company XYZ. Do you expect to land a job immediately? Of course not.
Start by researching the company so you can see how you fit in with their culture and how you can bring value to the role. Another good subgoal is submitting your application online. When you break your job search tasks into simpler activities, you can better manage your time and pace yourself. Otherwise, you may start to feel overwhelmed.
2nd Down: Define Your Schedule
Strategy is crucial to working your way down field. Whether you’re unemployed, employed, or preparing to graduate college, you need a schedule. After all, most time management tips involve strategizing and planning ahead. Build your subgoals into each day and stay diligent in hitting them. If your schedule says you need to follow up with three recruiters by ten in the morning, you need to be making those phone calls.
You may need help with accountability. Some people put their money where their mouth is. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine published in May 2015 found that loss aversion can be quite motivational. In this case, people who risked $150 of their own money to win a $650 bonus prize were dramatically more likely to quit smoking than those who used traditional smoking cessation methods. Surprisingly, this group also beat out those who were offered an $800 reward with no deposit for staying smoke-free.
If you don’t want to fork over cash, consider making a fun bet with friends. For example, say if you don’t submit four applications every week, you have to wear a rival team’s jersey to your next social gathering.
3rd Down: Do Hard Tasks At Your Best Time
The career touchdown is close. You can see it. You just need to take action and go for it.
Remember when you're planning your days, you need to account for your levels of productivity and focus. For example, let’s say you feel most engaged from eight in the morning until noon.
One of the best time management tips is to complete your hardest task first. You should shift your schedule around so you accomplish these tough tasks when you’re most focused.
For example, if you want to learn more about marketing representatives and what their day-to-day looks like, schedule an informational interview with an industry expert before noon. This way, you aren’t crashing after lunch or losing focus while you’re talking to them.
4th Down: Track Your Communication
No matter how your drive down the field is going, you want to look back and know what you’re doing right and what you’re messing up. Just as an offense reviews their plays after a drive, you need to track how your job search is going and what you can do to score. Managing time requires tracking what you’ve done so you know how long tasks will take in the future.
If you’re applying to dozens of job openings, you need to get a handle on when to follow up with employers. Your schedule needs to align with your goals, factor in your most time consuming tasks, and allow yourself time to track your actions. This way, you can plan and prioritize.
No matter the results of your applications, maintain a relationship with potential employers to expand your professional network. Allot time for building these relationships and set reminders to occasionally contact these connections so they remember who you are. It may lead to a referral or a job offer.
What other time management tips do you use to improve your job search?