Hiring Hacks: Track your activity

When looking for a new job it is very easy to get overwhelmed, yet feel like you are not getting anything done. This combination can lead to a negative feedback cycle which leads to you feeling worse.

To prevent this, every day you should write down the activities that you did. And just as  importantly, you should write down the results. Let’s look at why and how this can help.

What did I do?

There are 24 hours in the day. Each hour is composed of 60 minutes. Every day we all do a countless number of things, some important, but most are mundane. (Think of things like drinking water, looking out a window, etc.)

If you take the time to write down the important things, they will stand out in your mind. The more they stand out to you, the more attention you will pay attention to those tasks. And if the task is important and you are paying more attention to it, you are more likely to do a “better job” with it.

But what’s important? It all depends on what your goal is. If you want to get a new job, then anything that gets you closer to that goal is important. This includes sending out resumes, talking to people, and any kind of reading or practice that you do to help you improve your skills.

Think about it: If it is important to get a job and your track “important” activities such as emailing your resume, you’ll start to notice how many times you’ve sent your resume out.

Why track these things?

It can be hard to make ourselves do something we find un-fun or unpleasant. But one thing that that humans are very good at is playing games. Think of all the hours you’ve spent playing games. Things like Famville, twitter, and traditional video games tend to be lots of fun, that’s why we do them!

If you start tracking how many resumes you’ve sent out, then it will start to look like a game. “Yesterday I sent out 3 resumes and got 1 phone call. I wonder if I sent out 6 resumes if I’d get 2 phone calls?”

Doing important things

Once you start tracking what you did, you will notice that your activities tend to cluster together into certain categories. For me, I’ve noticed it tends to be “entertainment”, “learning”, and “job hunting”.

From those 3 things its pretty clear that one of them is going to be pretty important if I want to get a new job. The other two are important, but if I’m doing them too much, then I’m not going to be moving closer to my goal of getting a new job.

By make a list over several days you too can start to see where you are spending your time. Ask yourself this question: “Am I doing the things that are going to get me closer to my goal?” If the answer is no, then It should be pretty clear what you need to stop doing in order to make the change.

One more thing: tracking what you do helps out if you need to file for unemployment. Typically if the government is going to give you money they want to know what you are going to do to “earn” it. Being able to show details of your day shows that you are serious about getting back into the job market.

Wrapping up… for victory!

Its easy to lose track of time and focus while job hunting. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Every time you do something important, write it down!
  • Every day, look at what you’ve accomplished
  • Every week look back at what you did
  • Decide what was important, and do more of that!
  • Decide what wasn’t important, and do less of that 😉

Using these hacks you can get your brain focused and see the progress you are making, and more importantly get to your goal faster!