By Mary Lorenz

productivity hacks

If there are two things we know in life that are certain, it’s that 1) as long as Taylor Swift is falling in and out of love, the world will always have amazing pop songs to listen to, and 2) the job search sucks.

Unfortunately, the only way to end the job search is to actually land a job…which entails a job search. While there’s no “easy button” for landing a job, there are ways to make your job search more productive and – hopefully – speed the process the hell up.

Try the following job search productivity hacks:

1.Make a plan. They say failing to plan is planning to fail. That may just be true when it comes to job searching. Instead of simply saying, “I’m going to find a new job by the end of the year look for jobs tomorrow at some point.” Go ahead and block out time each day dedicated specifically to your job search.

2.Be specific with goals. When you block out time, have a goal for what you want to accomplish during that time. For example, on Monday you might spend an hour searching for jobs and bookmarking them. On Tuesday you might update your resume and create cover letters. On Wednesday you might go back and apply to some of those bookmarked jobs.

3.Keep a spreadsheet. When you’ve been on the job search long enough, it’s not uncommon to lose track of all the places you’ve applied and people you’ve contacted. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your job search – including companies you’ve applied to, when and with whom you followed up, and if you heard back — and make sure you aren’t overlooking anything (or accidentally repeating activities). While it’s fine to do it the old-fashioned way, there are now a number of productivity apps designed to help you keep track of various tasks – and maintain your sanity.

4.Create alerts. Most job search websites let you create job alerts to get notified via email of new opportunities in your area and field of expertise. (There’s even a way to utilize Google Alerts for your job search.) Creating job alerts will save you time searching for jobs because the opportunities come to you — allowing you to spend more time on things like updating your resume, customizing cover letters or creating your online portfolio.

5.Join talent networks. Many companies now have talent networks as a way to capture job seeker information and keep interested applicants on file. By joining a company’s talent network, you will be the first to hear about open opportunities and learn more about the companies you are interested in.

6.Find a buddy. Research shows that people who have exercise buddies are more likely to stick with a workout plan. The same mentality works during the job search. Find a fellow job seeker who will help you stay motivated and ensure you stick with your plan. It also always helps to have someone to attend networking events with, help you prep for interviews and be a second set of eyes on your resume.

7.Block out distractions. If you just can’t resist the lure of a good “Where are they now?” Buzzfeed article or can’t stop checking Facebook every five minutes, you might consider using a distraction-blocking app like Freedom, Cold Turkey, or StayFocused. You can tailor these apps to your situation to block internet and social media distractions so you can stick with the task at hand.

Staying productive during the job search is also about staying motivated. If you feel yourself getting discouraged and are just about ready to give up, consider these job search tips to help regain momentum.

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