Your ultimate job search to-do list

Follow this easy routine and in no time, you'll be in a job that will make you love Mondays again.

Your ultimate job search to-do list

Now that summer has come and gone, it’s go time!

Time to get back into work mode; time to get back to your normal heavy-traffic commute; time to put away the shorts; time to get back to a more structured schedule. 

And, if you'd put your job search on hiatus the last few months, this is also a great time to pick that back up.

Just like with losing weight, persistence in your job hunt pays off. So for best results, you'll want to get into a routine with your search. It doesn't have to be laborious: The key is making tweaks to your daily schedule to incorporate efforts so seamlessly that you won’t even have to put them onto your to-do list. 

Break your tasks into 15-minute chunks that you can sneak into your usual workday, even if you're in a full-time job. Here's your guide:

6—6:15 a.m. (or whenever you wake up)

Check for jobs. Assuming you're one of the many people who keep your phone within reach of the bed, you probably already log on when you wake up. This is a great time to check to see if any interesting jobs have been posted since yesterday. You can limit by posting date in Monster's Advanced Search or set up email alerts (the form is at the top of the page after you make a search) so that the newly added positions will be delivered directly to your inbox.

12:00—12:15 p.m. (Mondays only)

Reach out to a contact. When you're in job searching mode, be in constant networking mode. Every Monday by noon, decide whom you’ll reach out to this week –whether a colleague at your current job whose role you'd like to learn more about, a former coworker or an old boss—and send a friendly email. (Uncomfortable reaching out after a long hiatus? Try these tips.) By the following Monday at noon, follow up to get a date on the calendar by that following Friday.

12:15—12:30 p.m.

Apply online. You don’t need a four-hour block to apply for new jobs; simply break it down on a daily basis. Schedule time during your lunch break—or your commute, if you travel by train or bus—to apply to jobs piquing your interest. By doing it on a daily basis, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of applying to a whole slew of positions. You’ll just focus on a new, promising opportunity that emerged from the previous day.

3:00—3:15 p.m.

Follow up. When you infuse structure into your networking endeavors, you'll probably end up with a flurry of emails coming into your inbox. So you may find yourself in facing a backlog if you're not careful. Also, when you’re in consistent motion for several weeks, you may notice you're waiting on a few people who have not gotten back to you. Leverage your online calendar as your trustworthy follow up tool, noting when to follow up with whom and making time in your day to do so.

5:30 to 5:45 p.m. 

Rotate through everything else. Find a time after your workday is over—but that doesn't fall squarely in your prime family or relaxation time—for a 15-minute block of professional development. This includes tweaking your resume, figuring out how to respond to some of the toughest interview questions, and reading the latest headlines about various companies you’re pursuing. To create a structure that feels effortless, set a specific theme for each day: like Mondays to peruse the latest headlines, Tuesdays to read relevant blog posts, etc. Set an alarm clock on your phone so that you don't get weary of the exercise.

And that's it.

It's just one hour and 15 minutes of your day. But by staying in job search mode daily, you will feel like progress is being made without it overtaking your life. It’s simply incorporated into your daily routine much like going to the coffee shop to get your morning cup of Joe or ensuring you walk 10,000 steps every day. Feasible and results-oriented. You'll be loving Mondays again in no time. TGIM!

Monster’s career expert Vicki Salemi has more than 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and HR and is author of Big Career in the Big City. Follow her on Twitter at @vickisalemi

Find your next job on Monster.

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Why the next 8 weeks are critical for your job search
The 10 job sectors that are hiring the most right now
7 easy ways to get back in touch with your professional network