When you're unemployed or trapped in a job you don't enjoy, it's easy to get caught spending your downtime in front of the TV or surfing the net. But doing so won't get you any closer to the job of your dreams. Instead, every morning — or better yet, the night before — plan out what you need to accomplish that day. Make your list in order of importance. For exampe, if you can't hand out resumes until you finish your cover letter, writing that letter should be at the top of your list. Most important, keep the list in a place you check frequently. Whether that means it's taped to the bathroom mirror or on your phone, ensure it is constantly available for you to look at. Eat a good breakfast, and then tackle that list from beginning to end!
The most effective way to land a job is by making sure you are seen and heard. An online application is a good place to start, but an outgoing, driven person standing in front of a potential employer says a lot more. The danger when you go out into the world with a handful of resumes is how easy it can be to lose track of time and cover less ground than you mean to. So before you head out, do a little planning. Think of all the locations you can reasonably visit within a day. Then draw a map for yourself that lays out the most efficient way to get to each of them. When that is complete, make a rough schedule for yourself based on how long it should take to get to each location. Allow yourself adequate time at each place in case you have to wait in the lobby or the manager is interested in you and has a moment to chat. The most important thing is to stick to the schedule unless a real opportunity presents itself. Avoid getting distracted by your favourite department store or stopping somewhere to grab a few groceries. Make the day about you getting a job, and stray from the schedule only if doing so will get you closer to your goal.
Job-hunting is tiring and stressful, so you have to take a break. But don't let a quick break turn into you watching a TV marathon for hours. Scheduled pauses are very important. The next time you're hard at work, time how long it takes you to get irritable, tired or distracted. For some people it may happen every 20 minutes or so; others can go for a solid hour before they slow down. There's no right or wrong; it's just about knowing yourself. Once you know the time frame you are working with, schedule breaks accordingly. If you need a rest after 20 minutes, try to keep your break to a quick 5–10 minutes, and if you are able to work longer, don't feel too guilty about resting for 20 minutes or so. By giving yourself time to recover, you'll start up again happier, and ultimately you'll be more efficient!
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