Forget those New Year’s resolutions; the beginning of the year is a hectic time for university work and job deadlines. It’s easy to focus on your ever-looming coursework and/or exams and hold off the job applications till the last minute. Trust me when I say there’s a better way to deal with job deadlines that won’t leave you overwhelmed like I’ve been! Here are my tried and tested stages to help you deal with deadline stress….
1. Finding all the deadlines
The first step may sound quite simple but sometimes it’s difficult to find all relevant jobs and their deadlines in one place. If you’re struggling Inside Careers has a Deadline Calendar where you can easily see when roles are closing. Once you can see all the deadlines in one place, you’re inevitably going to panic. Yep, there are a lot of roles closing on the same day and yes this can seem overwhelming at first. Take a deep breath and read on…
2. Plan, plan, plan
Now it’s time to make a plan of action! Make a list of all the roles and their deadlines prioritising those you’re most interested in. Use your calendar or diary (or just a note pad) to organise when you’re going to apply to each job and make a realistic target. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by applying to ten a day. I’d recommend one or two per day so you can take your time on each application and make them perfect.
3. Stop procrastinating!
You might feel like you’ve had a productive day by scheduling your job applications but don’t give up yet! It’s so easy to say ‘Oh I’ll just watch Netflix for 20 minutes’ but you know you’ll be on there for longer. Try and hold off watching TV and using your phone and social media until you’ve completed your applications for the day.
4. Edit your CV & write your cover letter
Dust off your CV and update it with any recent experience/ employment. Remember to include in your summary what kind of job/ industry you’re looking to go into. If you’re struggling to perfect your CV you can read our CV guide here.
Once you know what kind of job you want and have checked out a number of job specs, writing a cover letter can be a bit simpler. Split your cover letter into what the employer can offer you and what you can offer the employer, explaining why you want to work for that particular company. Write a number of templates which you can adapt to suit a range of jobs. For a more in depth guide read, How to write a covering letter.
Remember to proof read both your CV and cover letter several times. Printing the documents off can sometimes help you spot mistakes.
5. Get a second opinion
Sometimes proofreading your own CV and cover letter isn’t enough. Ask a friend, colleague or career advisor to check over them. This way you’ll be certain both are perfect and you won’t be up at night worrying about potential mistakes.
6. Keep a record
You’re ready to start applying! Follow your schedule and tick off the jobs once the applications have been sent. Remember to keep a copy of job specs – sometimes companies remove these from their websites after the deadline date. Job specs will come in handy when you need to prepare for interviews.
Keep track of all the roles you have applied for, and if you know when you’ll hear back about your application make a note of this. You can then ring up the company and follow up on your application. If the applications haven’t all been reviewed yet you’ll be showing your interest and passion for the role. If your application has been unsuccessful, you can request feedback to help you improve for later opportunities.
7. Stay determined
Completing a number of applications is tiring and sometimes it can feel demotivating if you don’t hear back from a company. Stay determined and positive; you’ll get there eventually! You need to have the passion and determination to persevere. If you miss out on applying for a job, you’ll never know if you would have been successful and will kick yourself in the future. If you don’t apply, you won’t get your dream role!
8. Reward yourself!
Deadline period is a stressful time and you need to reward yourself to keep sane. This can be ordering a takeaway after you’ve completed your target for the day, or saving yourself for a big night out after you’ve applied to all of the jobs on your list.