Timing and Planning Your Jobs Campaign
If you plan on being an efficient job-seeker, your goal is to be like a chef in a busy restaurant: someone who plans things so well that they can churn out dozens of orders for customers every hour.
The key is to have everything right at your fingertips when crunch time comes around, just as an experienced chef will have the vegetables chopped up, the meat marinated, and the sauces prepared before the dinner crowd even rolls in.
Once the tables start to fill, all he or she has to do is just grab handfuls of everything and mix it around in the pot to create any number of made-to-order dishes!
Here's how you can start cooking up applications that are easy to make but still individually unique in just two easy steps!
Step 1: Prepare an "All-About-Me" document
What is it?
An All-About-Me document is a big-ish, largely unformatted document with everything about you jotted down, which you create before writing your CVs and covering letters.
Think of it like a refrigerator in the restaurant kitchen – full of pre-prepared raw ingredients ready to be used in specific "recipes" (i.e. CVs, covering letters, and application forms). Use this document to stash all of your ideas about your skills and experiences, big and small.
How do I use it?
- Choose certain "staple ingredients" from the document – qualifications, grades, and work experience – to cook up your basic templates for CVs, covering letters, and answers to questions on online application forms.
- Whenever you bake applications for individual employers, pick juicier tidbits from your All-About-Me document that you feel would entice or attract them specifically. Then apply those to your templates!
Tip: Review your All-About Me document every few weeks – that way, you won’t forget anything, and when you have to write your CVs and application materials, all your details will be right up to date.
Step 2: Update your details little-by-little and often
Keep polishing your various forms of written application so you won’t be panicking when the time comes to send stuff in. So often, people leave applications to the last minute. If you rush, you’re not very likely to shine!
If you have 10 minutes a day...
- Make a priority list. Then, you’ll know what to do the next time you’re free.
- Read over your All-About-Me document. You might have something new to add... or remember something old you’d previously forgotten.
If you have 20 minutes a day...
- Update your basic CV template, keeping your All-About-Me document handy.
- Proofread and fine-tune an existing application if you've already started on one.
- Start some employer research. This is useful at the application stage, and also helps later when you get an interview.
If you have 30 minutes a day...
- Draft a cover letter. Don’t use a generic one – employers can spot those a mile away. Write a new one for each position, and your application will be received positively.
- Read up about your chosen career sector in the news. The more you know about an industry, the more you’ll know how to tailor your applications to fit a specific job.
If you have one hour a day...
- Visit a careers service and attend a session with your advisor designed to make you more employable.
- Start an application from scratch. If you don’t have time to finish it, save it to be completed later. Don’t rush through it, as you are likely to make mistakes or forget something vital.