The key to a successful job search is maximizing the way you use your time. If you spend too much of your time focusing on one aspect of the search, you will find you have less time for other important tasks. That’s why you need to create a priority list to ensure that you are making the best use of your time each day.
When people talk about priorities, more often than not they think of them as just another item they need to put on their to-do list. Instead, a priority should really be something that takes the place of a less important task, allowing you to spend more time on activities that will bring you closer to your goal of landing a high-quality nonprofit job.
Here are three essential job search activities (in order of importance) that you should add to your priority list:
- Create Opportunities Through Existing Connections: While making new network connections is important, your existing contacts should take precedent since it’s easier to ask help from someone you already know. Begin your search by letting your contacts know that you are looking for work. Offer to take them to lunch so you can discuss potential opportunities. As always, make sure to show an interest in what they are doing with their lives — you don’t want to come across as self-centered.
- Don’t Apply to Everything: Submitting a large number of job applications every day might seem like a good way to maximize your efforts, but it can be counter-productive. Instead of applying to every job you see, take the time to craft your résumé and cover letter so that they clearly highlight the connection between your skills and the needs of the organization.
- Network, Network, Network: Now that you have dealt with your existing contacts, it’s time to make new connections to expand your opportunities. If you are not comfortable jumping right into face-to-face meetings at networking events, make use of LinkedIn to make the initial introduction. LinkedIn is especially useful for seeing if any of your current contacts have connections with individuals working at nonprofits you wish to join.