Structure Your Job Search Like It's a Job

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When looking for work full-time, you must take on the role of your own boss and assign yourself tasks, projects and deadlines. But far too many job seekers fail at managing themselves, writes Phyllis Korkki in the New York Times.

"Having no structure is the biggest enemy to being organized and being focused," productivity consultant Julie Morgenstern told the Times. Morgenstern advises that job-seekers create specific work hours and a time map along with "mini-deadlines," and treat the search itself like a full-time job.

Kimberly Bishop, CEO of the Kimberly B career management firm in New York suggests:

- Set aside a special place in your home dedicated to your job hunt.

- Dedicate a few days a week to organizing your search and figuring out the order in which you're going to do things.

- Pull together your resume, cover letter, references and samples of work first, then start your search.

- Create an organizational system that tracks your efforts, including leads you find, where you apply, who you're networking with, and, one hopes, interviews.

Organizing your job-search information can keep you in control when a callback comes in from a recruiter or a human resources manager. The last thing you want in that situation, Morgenstern remarks, is to be left stammering, "Who did you say you were again? You say I applied there?"

Once the search is up and running, she advises devoting equal amounts of time to groundwork, research and follow-ups. If you catch yourself spending more than a third of your time on any one of those tasks, re-focus.

Plan at least three days ahead, and schedule at least one meeting each day that takes you out of the house. "People are energized by getting things done," notes Morgenstern. "Energy then begets more energy and more productivity" - and in turn, more confidence.

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