How Do I Fit a Job Search Into My Busy Schedule? Time Management Tips for a Successful Job Search


By Casey Platt, Career Advisor at National Louis University

Applying for jobs may sound like a simple task, but in reality, it can be a time-consuming process. Especially if you have obligations such as family, work, school, and other life responsibilities, it can sometimes be difficult to find time for sleep, let alone searching and applying for jobs. Devoting more time to the job search process usually means higher quality applications, which will help you to stand out in a sea of applicants. This means a higher likelihood of getting the job you want! How can you fit the numerous job hunt steps into your busy schedule? You may want to consider the following tips:

  1. Evaluate Your Schedule

The first step in managing your time is to assess how much free time you actually have, and how much time you will need for your specific job search. Tailoring your resume and cover letters to each position you apply for, meeting with a Career Advisor to review and revise your documents before you send them out, practice interviewing, and other job search steps can take a significant amount of time. If you want to stand out as a quality candidate and be successful in your job search, I recommend using a time management calculator to calculate how much free time you have in a day or week. There are countless free tools available online, and they can help you to calculate and visualize the exact number of hours and minutes you have available. How much of this free time are you willing and able to dedicate to the job search process?

  1. Consider Your Priorities

After evaluating your schedule, you should have a better idea of when you will have time to search for available jobs, develop tailored resumes and cover letters, and begin the application process. While finding the job you want is undoubtedly important, it is essential to remember the most significant things in your life. For most people, family, health, and finances are among their most important priorities. It should go without saying that nobody should ever be sacrificing these things for their job search. With that said, a question you should ask yourself is: Where does your job search fall in your list of priorities?

  1. Setting Goals

One of the most crucial steps in this process is setting job search goals. These can be long-term or short-term, daily, weekly, or even monthly goals. I recommend using a calendar to write down at what point in time you want to have accomplished a certain goal. The overall goal of the job search process is to land the job you want, but there are individual milestones along the way that can make all the difference. For instance, depending on your schedule and priorities, you may want to find and apply for one job per week. This means you will need to tailor your resume, write a cover letter, and complete an application by a certain day each week. Setting clear and manageable goals will help you to stay motivated and consistent with your job search.

  1. Quality vs. Quantity

Although it is ideal to send out numerous applications to various different employers, it is important to balance quality and quantity. The amount of time that you dedicate to applying for jobs will likely dictate the quality of your applications. In order to stand out to employers, I recommend focusing on the quality of your applications, making sure to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job. This way, no matter how many applications you complete, you will have a higher likelihood of getting an interview.

  1. Never Stop Updating!

Congratulations, you landed a job! Even though you may feel like you are finished with this process, you will want to make sure you do not abandon your resume. You should be mindful of your impact and accomplishments in your new position. Try to make note of your strengths and achievements about once a month so you can add these to your resume. You will be glad you did this if you ever need or want to apply for another job in the future!

It is my hope that by considering these tips, you will be better able to fit the job search process into your busy life. Best of luck!

For more tips and to make an appointment with a career advisor, visit National Louis University’s career resources webpages.