This post was sponsored by AT-A-GLANCE as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
I’ve always been an pretty old-school when it comes to organization. I have a filing cabinet, two wall calendars, countless to-do list pads, a planner, sticky-notes, and a lot of notebooks. Would some call this an addiction to paper products? Maybe. As much as I’ve tried to turn my organizational efforts digital like the rest of my life, nothing beats a good ol’ paper and pen. I even write my blog posts in a notebook sometimes! I’m a visual person so being able to physically write things out and see them not only helps me remember what needs to get done, but makes me feel like I’ve got my ish together when it’s all right in front of me.
I haven’t spoken about this much on Style Tab, but the last half of 2016 was a pretty crazy one for me. I quit my job to attend a 3-month, full-time coding bootcamp to transition into a career in tech. Some of you reading this may not know what the heck I’m talking about, and that’s OK. Here are the SparkNotes: I took a really big risk to follow a path I’ve always wanted to go down and it was really scary, but also one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far. Needless to stay, during this whole thing I was always carrying around at least two notebooks and my planner at any given time because there was a lot I needed to stay on top of in multiple areas of my life.
I’m happy to report that I made it through the course relatively unscathed in mid-November, and then the fun began: job hunting. I had given myself a deadline of two months to find a new gig after completing my course which was a bit aggressive considering with the holidays and end-of-year budgets, job prospecting isn’t always booming this time of year. So with the support of my career coach and my beloved paper products, I started writing down my plan of attack a month before graduation so I could be prepared. Thankfully, the planning paid off because I accepted a job offer just last week! So today, I wanted to share some of the best tips I received over the past few months on job hunting and how you can use my new favorite planner brand, AT-A-GLANCE, to stay on top of it all.
4 Tips for Staying Organized During Your Job Hunt
Make a schedule – and stick to it!
This was by far the hardest part of the job hunting process for me. I went from a very regimented routine to having the most freedom I’ve had since college, so it was really difficult to avoid procrastination at first. If you’re in college or job hunting full-time, I recommend creating an hour-by-hour schedule for each day of your week. I made sure to front load my company and job research in the beginning of the week from 9am-3pm so that I could add in some ‘life’ and ‘fun’ things to do later on in the week, like working out, doing laundry, getting lunch with a friend, etc. This will keep you sane, but don’t make excuses for the fun stuff – keep it to a reasonable amount so you’re staying productive.
If you’re currently working but looking for something new, I recommend selecting which nights of the week you’ll dedicate to your job hunt, and then break down your tasks hour-by-hour. My AT-A-GLANCE weekly planner has an hourly breakdown for each day of the week, which makes scheduling super easy!
Network, network, network!
This was my favorite part of the process! Throughout my course I went to as many tech networking meet-ups as I could. I used Meetup.com and followed local Boston sites such as Bostinno and General Assembly (that’s where I took my course) to keep tabs on new events that were popping up. Networking can seem seriously scary at first, but once you rip the Band-Aid off, the nerves quickly disappear. Being able to chat with people in your industry in a casual setting is such a prime opportunity to learn about what people do, get advice, learn about companies you may have never heard of, and even make some new friends along the way.
I also was a big fan of finding people on LinkedIn who worked at a company I was interested in and messaging them to grab a coffee. Again, that can sound scary but people love to talk about themselves and I guarantee you’ll get more yes’s than you think! Utilizing AT-A-GLANCE’s monthly planner (pictured above) is the perfect way to keep track of all of your events and coffee dates. The monthly view is my favorite and I love that I can just go to the next page and see a new month without having to flip through multiple pages.
Keep a master list for each individual job you apply to.
This is a big one. The first task on this list should be to screenshot the job posting. Depending on your situation, you may be applying to a lot of jobs and when a recruiter comes calling three weeks later about XYZ job, you want to make sure you know which one they’re referring to. After that, add tasks such as “send Thank You email after phone screen”. Be sure you mark down the date of every task you complete so you can send additional follow-ups if things go quiet. This list should also include any key topics that were discussed so you can jog your memory and bring them up in additional interviews.
Level up your skills.
In the tech world, there’s always something shiny and new to learn. After looking at countless job postings there was a programming technology that a lot of companies seemed to be using that I didn’t know much about. So, I added to my schedule to start teaching myself the basics of this tool, so that I could become familiar with it in the event I got asked about it during an interview.
Take a look at the skills needed on job postings at your dream companies. Do you meet all of the requirements? Doubt it. Pick a skill or tool that is relevant and industry-standard, then learn it or improve upon it. Doing so will not only allow you to say that you’re a self-starter, but that you enjoy learning new things and want continue your professional growth. Plus, being able to learn something new on your own can be a lot of fun and really rewarding!
I hope these tips were helpful and good luck out there! Here’s to a productive and #organized 2017!