Job searching is truly a full-time job. It involves more than just applying for positions you see on a job board or in the newspaper. It is about reaching out to others and connecting both online and offline. When you make your job search more about the connections, you are very wisely choosing to make your search a strategic one. As you plan your next big career move, you’ll want to also be very strategic about your free time as well!
The Importance of Having a Strategy for Your Downtime
By no means should you feel that your newfound free time has to be planned down to the minute. Nor should you feel that it must be filled with boring, serious activities that have no element of fun. However, if you don’t have a plan for what you will do with it, you run the risk of missing out on opportunities to enhance your skills. In addition, you are shutting yourself out of taking part in activities that you may not have as much time for when you are a full-time worker again. By forgoing to have a purpose with this time, you also could potentially increase your job search time because you may be trying something different today and then something different tomorrow. With no sense of consistency, you will feel overwhelmed!
But there is good news.
The great news is that your plan doesn’t have to be lengthy and detailed. You want to create goals you can stick with throughout the length of your job search. Break down your free time into two major categories: activities related to your professional life, and activities related to your personal life. You just need to choose one to three activities that you can do per week that will keep you on track and will enhance you as a future employee. To get you started, consider the following ideas.
Activities related to your professional life.
- Think about all the great career events you wanted to attend but couldn’t due to time constraints. Consider networking events and job clubs.
- Consider brushing up your skills with some volunteer work that is related to your field. It’ll look impressive; you’ll keep your skills fresh, and meet new people.
- Spend some time tapping into your local professional organization. It could possibly lead to new sources for a job.
Activities related to your personal life.
- Browse a book store, and finding a free event around town. Any of these activities will immediately get you thinking about something else beyond finding a new job. And, it’s been proven that doing something fun and relaxing can help trigger new ideas when you are working on a major task.
- Consider an old hobby you used to enjoy but stopped doing because you didn’t have time for it. Join a local group of others who enjoy this hobby too. You can find like-minded people who share your passion and it’ll help you stay relaxed while networking with others.
- Re-connect with friends, mentors, and co-workers. Take them out for coffee and mix your meetings with equal parts of job search questions that they’ll answer and non-job search related discussion.
As the old saying goes, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You can avoid this by breaking down your free time into both professional and personal activities. By doing so, you are using a true strategy that will enhance your job search.