Applying for jobs is overwhelming. After sifting through hundreds of potential gigs comes the stress of reworking your resume and writing the perfect cover letter.
Plus, how much time are you supposed to spend networking? And developing your skill set? Even in the best of circumstances, it’s a lot to juggle.
One way you can make your job search feel more attainable and even enjoyable is to create a daily checklist. Stay on track by giving yourself specific tasks to complete every day. Another huge benefit of this strategy: once you’ve knocked out everything on your list, you can step away from the computer and call it a day, confident that you’ve done everything you need to in order to get noticed and get hired.
We’re committed to helping our students turn their education into a long-lasting tech career, so we know how to guide job-seekers through the application process in a way that’s effective (and still maintains your sanity). Here’s our daily to-do list to help you shape your job hunt.
Spend 30 Minutes Focusing on Your Career Development
Thinkful Career Coach Amber Arnold recommends setting aside time for personal exploration as you plan out your new career path. “I ask people to answer questions around their motivations (why am I doing this) and their resilience (when I feel burned out, I will...).”
So dedicate half an hour each day to clarifying your career goals. That could mean journaling about the aspects of a potential job that really appeal to you, researching career paths, or talking to friends and family about your long-term plans. Any activity that gets you thinking about your goals and why they matter to you will help you hone your job search.
Make 5 New Connections
Speaking of connections: every day, find yourself five professional contacts. You can do this by messaging people on LinkedIn, tapping into your alumni network or requesting an informational interview with a local employer.
And if you feel like you’ve already taken advantage of every potential connection, encourage new faces to find you. Amber recommends commenting on LinkedIn posts to boost your visibility in your professional community.
Spend an Hour a Day Developing Your Skills
Whether you’re applying to your first job or looking to lead a team, you can always get better at what you do. If you’re learning a new programming language, keep it up while you apply to jobs. If you’ve been meaning to try your hand at a specialized software, dedicate some time every day to taking a free tech webinar on the subject.
Your learning and professional development doesn’t have to stop just because you’re focused on landing a new job. Remember, every new skill makes you a more valuable hire, and also gives you something to talk about in interviews.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this. Career Coach Tracy Skala advises students to contribute to an open source project or volunteer to help a connection with a project they're working on. “The networking aspect is so important, and if you can position yourself to add value to another person's workload, they will want to help you in turn.”
Apply to 5 Jobs Every Day
And not just any job. Put your effort into just a few jobs every day that really sound exciting to you.
There might be 800 jobs available for your preferred title on Indeed, but you should only be applying to the ones that are a great fit for your goals and abilities. That way you’ll put more time into each application, tailoring your cover letter and resume for that specific employer. You’ll save yourself hours of time spent hastily applying to positions that you wouldn’t even enjoy, or aren’t qualified for.
Spend 30 Minutes Perfecting Your Application Materials
As you apply to more roles, you’ll hone in on the skills you really want to emphasize. So take some time every day to re-read your resume, cover letter, portfolio and LinkedIn profile. You can even perfect your “elevator pitch” about what you do and why you love it, which will come in handy at networking events and in emails to recruiters.
Spend 30 Minutes Blogging Every Day
Blogging is a great way to demonstrate your communication skills and passion for the subject. Plus, potential employers will love that you’re taking the initiative to write original content. Amber suggests creating a Medium account to easily self-publish and connect with others in the tech world.
Even if you only spend 30 minutes each day writing and brainstorming, you’ll end up creating enough content to publish a new post every week or two. Every post gives you an opportunity to share your expertise on LinkedIn and start up a conversation with others in your field.
Follow-up with Potential Employers
Write your Thank You’s for any interviews you had the previous day. Then move on to the jobs you applied for one week ago: if they haven’t sent you any updates, give them a call. If you haven’t heard from a potential employer for two weeks, send a second email. After that, make a note to contact them once more in a month.
By following this system, you’ll never forget to send the crucial follow-up email after your application (and you won’t have to worry about overdoing it with too many, either).
Peruse a LinkedIn post about prepping for interviews, a book on machine learning or a news article about an employer you’re interested in. Just give yourself one “homework assignment” each day to stay informed on what’s going on in the tech world or in your particular industry.
You can give yourself a constant stream of relevant info by signing up for a blog focused on the tech industry, and joining some relevant LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
Finding a job is one thing. But if you’re trying to start a whole new career, you don’t have to do it alone: we’re here to help. Schedule a quick call with Admissions to talk about your path to a rewarding tech career.