Over the years, I’ve coached many people who are unemployed.

One of the questions that I ask them is, “What are you currently doing to find work?”

I am constantly surprised by the response that I generally get as the activities often add up to about five hours of work per week.

I can’t help but feel that in the current economic situation that’s gripping most countries, that this isn’t going to be enough to find a meaningful full-time job.  John Lees, author of “How to Get a Job You Love” puts it this way, “Today a lack-lustre job search will net you virtually nothing.”

If a full-time job is generally seen as working 40 hours per week, then I think that should be the aim for any job-seeker.  Not only will such a volume of work increase your opportunity to be successful, but when you find a job, you’ll be well-tuned for the rigours of full-time work, something that can be an issue if you’ve been out of the workplace for a while.

But how do you fill up 40 hours a week with meaningful activities that will get you closer to your goal?

Here are 12 suggestions that I hope are helpful:

  • Start your “working” day at a reasonable time in the morning.  Don’t be tempted to sleep in, just because you have no job to go to.  I would suggest finding a rhythm with the same starting time each week-day, perhaps at 9am, but certainly no later than 10am.
  • Dress the part.  Don’t start your job search without showering and shaving first.  Leave the tracksuit pants in the wardrobe and dress for success.  It will impact your mindset in positive ways that will enable you to operate with increased enthusiasm and effectiveness.
  • Go through the relevant job-hunting web-sites in your country.  Scroll through each site, looking for jobs that you would like to apply for, printing out the ad so that you can make notes on it.
  • Don’t just send off applications as soon as you see something you like.  Adapt the language and terminology in your resume and cover letter to match the job requirements in the ad.  Taking the time to do this can make a significant difference in whether or not you get an interview.
  • Work the phones.  After you’ve sent in an application, call the company or recruiters to let them know that you’ve applied.  This increases the chances of them noticing your name when your resume comes across their desk.
  • Organise meetings with recruitment companies that specialise in the industry that you’re interested in.  This can give you some insights as to how to package yourself more effectively, what the trends are in the industry and increase your network.
  • Practice your interview answers.  Take the time every day to review and speak out loud your potential responses to questions that you may be asked.
  • Learn more about your industry.  Read books, check out web-sites and blogs and talk to people you know who work in the area that you’re looking to work in.  Perhaps even take a night-school course to upgrade your skills.
  • Learn more about how to build your career.  Find some great career blogs and buy books on the subject.  I would highly recommend “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard N. Bolles.  To quote Fortune magazine, “Ideally, everyone should read What Color Is Your Parachute? in the tenth grade and again every year thereafter.” 
  • Don’t spend all day at the computer.  If you’re reliant on the Internet to get you a job, you may be in for a long wait.  You need to work on getting out and meeting people who can assist you in your career.
  • Follow up with a phone call after interviews.  I explain this more in this post, but in short there are benefits to following up whether or not you get the job.
  • More than anything, don’t give up.  Don’t try this for a week and give up because it hasn’t worked immediately.  I know it’s disappointing to miss out on a role (or two or 100), but the moment you lose hope is the moment you’ve lost.  There are jobs out there, you just need to find them and this is a full-time job.

I’ve said before that the only guarantee when looking for work is that you won’t get a job that you don’t apply for.

I’m sure that there are some people who successfully find great jobs with a half-hearted effort, just as there are those who work long and hard, but struggle to find work.  However, given the choice between the two, I know which strategy I think will be more successful in the long-term, so let me encourage you to make getting a full-time job a full-time job.

Do you have any other additions to the list of tasks that people can perform to help them find full-time work?

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