Job Search Tips

The To-Do List: Making an Old Tool New Again

Do you use to-do lists primarily for errands? Let’s discuss one quick way you can use an old tool, the to-do list, in a new way to instantly increase productivity in your job search.

Take a look at your job search file. Whether electronic or on paper, at this point it should be a tome. Let’s hope it’s filled with information on prospective jobs, names and contact information from networking, and important dates and deadlines for events, job applications and interviews.

Starting today, jot down three to five of the most important things you have to do by tomorrow to move ahead toward your professional goals. The list may look something like this:

  • Complete application for Regional Sales Manager.
  • Call contact from East Coast office.
  • Add one more contact from East Coast office to LinkedIn.
  • Check out salary information on Glassdoor to prep for potential interview questions about salary.

Although this may sound like a traditional to do list, this is actually a priority list and it can go a long way toward increasing your productivity, getting you to an interview and a job offer. Rather than a long list of all of the things you could be doing tomorrow, you now have a short list of priority items. This limits unproductive work and allows you to focus on what is most important in getting to the next step.

Imagine how easy your days would be if all the most pressing things were taken care of? You may actually find time for all those pesky errands.

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Tracking Your Progress

Whether or not you’ve achieved significant milestones in your career or job search, it’s a good idea to track your progress once in a while, just to take account of what you’ve learned along the way.

A great way to track your progress is to apply a tool you already have in a new way. Let’s try this with your elevator speech. Ask yourself, what did my elevator speech sound like when I started my job search? What did it sound like a year ago?

For a more detailed review of your progress towards professional goals, let’s go back to another tool you’ve been using: the work journal you put together at the beginning of your search.

Take a look at your journal or notes: Have you refined the industry and companies you are interested in? Have you established good relationships with contacts at these companies by attending industry events or conducting informational interviews? What kind of feedback have you received on your skills and experience from job applications or interviews so far? How has this affected the type of roles you are applying to? How has this changed what you are looking for in your work?

Getting that next offer or promotion may have been your goal early on in your job search. If you are not already there, hopefully tracking your progress will show you that you are heading toward the role that is just right for you.

Your Elevator Speech

So much of your job search happens online, especially in technology and software sales. Therefore, it’s important that you make good use of any chance you get to connect face to face in your job search.

In an interview, at a conference or at a networking event, how would you describe yourself and where you are headed in your career path? You have less than 30 seconds…

Describing your professional experience and goals in brief is commonly called an “elevator speech”. To develop a successful elevator speech, try to answer the following questions in less than a minute:

  • How many years of experience do you have in a specific industry?
  • What skills have you gained in that time?
  • In what role would you like to apply those skills next?
  • For what purpose?

This template will help you to distinguish between your industry, your skills and how they fit into specific roles. Practice your elevator speech the next time someone says to you: “tell me a little bit about yourself”.