If you’ve been job searching for awhile, you know that there’s a lot of grunt work when it comes to finding work. If only we were paid for the hours we spend job hunting, because it really could be its own part-time (or full-time) gig.
Unfortunately, scrolling through job listings, writing cover letters and editing your resume is going to be a time-intensive process, no matter how you approach it. Sure, some tasks require dedicated, focused mental energy. But let’s be real: how much time involved in job searching is mostly “busy” work?
We can think of several job search activities that don’t always require 100 percent of your attention. For example:
- Browsing job openings
- Signing up for job post subscription emails
- Browsing LinkedIn
- Tweaking your resume and cover letter for different types of jobs
- Submitting online job applications
- Sending follow up emails
Are you making the most of all these hours? While we don’t advise multi-tasking on activities that are truly mentally taxing (think writing a cover letter for the first time, or practicing interview questions) if you find yourself job searching with the TV on or music playing in the background, maybe you could use this time to supercharge your job search. Here’s how.
- Listen to a podcast.
- Podcasts can be a great way to learn in the “background” while you’re doing other work. With thousands of podcasts available online, for free, there’s bound to be one relevant to your industry or field of work. If that’s overkill, try one that discusses tips relevant to job searching, or personal or professional development. If you can’t find anything that’s remotely entertaining, tech podcasts are always a great fallback plan. Not only do they tend to be (surprisingly) quite interesting, these days some level of familiarity with computers, technology and innovation is useful, if not necessary, in almost any field, and thus can give you an “edge” just by listening!
- Turn on an informative radio station.
- Public radio, whether live streaming or in podcast form, can be a great way to absorb the latest news and cultural happenings across the country and across the world. Although you shouldn’t discuss topics like politics or religion at any interview, it’s no secret that employers tend to value well-informed, well-rounded candidates over those who know more about the latest season of “The Bachelor” than world news.
- Play brain boosting music.
- If you’re the type who can’t get work done without music playing in the background, at least make it brain-boosting tunes to give you an intellectual boost when it comes time to do the real work. Studies have shown listening Mozart can help improve memory, and some believe different types on “binaural beats” can either stimulate or relax the brain. Even if the result is just a “placebo” effect, it’s got to be more beneficial than hearing the same hip-hop some over and over again on your local Top 40 station!
- Listen to an audio book.
- Audio books are perhaps the best use of this type of “down time.” Whether you choose a reference book relevant to your industry, a popular non-fiction book to increase your social and cultural awareness, a novel to stimulate your imagination, or a guide book about improving your personal and professional development, listening to audio book while taking care of mundane activities is an excellent way to improve your general knowledge (and get some “reading” time in) while crossing tasks off your to-do list!