ABC’s of Hiring #20: Job Search Time Management

What is the best use of your time when searching for a job? Job search is not an activity based exercise but rather a targeted effort to find your next position. Too many people spend their time wastefully and are not optimizing their chances for success. Career change is a numbers game and an effective strategy for how to invest your time is crucial.

Complete Your Resume

The first step in preparing your job search is to update and complete your resume. The quality of your resume and how you present your responsibilities and accomplishments is of paramount importance. You should take all the time you need and get all the advice necessary, to create a great resume. You should invest as much time as necessary to get it right. Be prepared to customize your resume for the position you will be applying for by modifying your Objective or Summary statement.

Don’t Waste Time

  • Applying to postings that are already outdated.
  • Emailing to random employers.
  • Sending out masses of unsolicited resumes.
  • Assuming that if there’s no job posted that it means there’s no job available.
  • Applying to more jobs to increase your odds.
  • Waiting until after the holidays.
  • Surfing the internet.
  • Relying on just one job search technique or strategy.

Effective Strategy

Once you have created a great resume, the components of an effective and comprehensive job search are optimizing your use of LinkedIn, utilizing selective internet websites, working with executive recruiters, applying for positions, targeting companies and networking.

  • Optimizing LinkedIn – 5% to 10% of your time
    • The majority of companies will search LinkedIn for potential candidates before they do anything else. You want to have a profile that utilizes common search term words and is consistent with your resume. Your profile should be more extensive than your resume in order to attract the best results. You want “to be found” when companies perform searches. Also, the more network connections you have the more effective your search will be. You can use your connections for introductions and also to see which companies in your network are hiring.
  • Selective Websites – 5% to 10% of your time
    • Spending excessive time searching the internet is a common trap for wasting time. We recommend searching and posting on two websites which are aggregators that collect jobs posted everywhere else on the web. They are and For senior level executives, we also recommend
  • Working with Executive Recruiters – 5% to 10% of your time
    • Executive recruiters no longer command the majority of search assignments but continue to be a very useful source of positions not posted anywhere else. Target recruiters in your industry, function and geography, and send them your resume. If they have a potential match, they will respond very quickly. If not, being part of their database is a good strategy for the long term.
  • Applying for Positions – 5% to 10% of your time
    • This approach works primarily for people earning less than $60,000 per year and shouldn’t be overlooked. Above that level, networking is far more effective. Major job boards notoriously have a very low response rate.
  • Targeting Companies – 30% to 40% of your time 
    • Who are the most likely companies to be interested in you? The companies who want to tap into your existing skills and experience, that’s who. You can’t be all things to all people so focus on the background you have developed. Couple that with companies you would be interested in working for, and you will have a good list of companies to research. You can also network with people who work there, past and present. For sales and marketing folks, the most attractive part of your experience will be your customer knowledge and relationships, or product knowledge. For operations and engineering, it will be the processes that you have mastered. For finance and human resources, it will more likely be similar sized companies within your geography. Use available databases to identify companies who likely seek what you have, then check their websites for openings and network with their hiring managers.
  • Networking – 30% to 40% of your time
    • Networking is by far the best way to find a new position. You should be constantly expanding your connections to people in your industry, up and down the supply chain. Customers and suppliers are a good source of referrals. Networking within your targeted companies will give you access to the hidden job market where positions are not public knowledge. Telephone is the most prevalent form of networking.


The bottom line is that a good strategy requires a balanced approach to your job search and good time management. You can never be sure where the one right opportunity for you will surface, so spend your time judiciously.


Bob Harrington Associates has been in the executive search business for 20 years and can help you find the best people for your business.

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