Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » Managing a Job Search as a Working Mother

According to CareerBuilder, the average job seeker will spend 11 hours a week job searching. If you’re a working mom whose time is already stretched thin, you’re probably wondering where you’ll find 11 hours, never mind the expert-recommended 30+.

In today’s article, I’m sharing my best strategies for making the most of your time and getting the most accomplished in your job search. Because you deserve to find your perfect-fit position.

Managing a Job Search as a Working Mother

To manage your job search, I’ll cover these tips:

  • Batching like activities
  • Focusing on high-ROI activities
  • Being consistent
  • Making the most of mornings
  • Investing time into research
  • Eating the frog (doing the hard stuff first)

Batching Job Search Activities

One of the best ways I’ve found to make effective use of my time is to batch like activities together. For me, that looks like doing all of my weekly email writing and scheduling for the month on the same day, recording a month’s worth of podcast episodes together on a different day, working on marketing activities on another day.

When it comes to your job search, that could be researching new connections on LinkedIn on Monday, reaching out to decision-makers on Tuesday, following up on applications on Wednesday, engaging on LinkedIn on Thursdays, applying online on Friday, etc.

Time is a precious and limited resource when you’re a working mom, and you can increase your efficiency by grouping similar job search activities together.

Focus on High-ROI Activities

Did you know that less than 1% of job board applications result in interviews? In fact, you have to submit between 100-200 applications to get one interview. A more effective way to job search is to reach out directly to the hiring manager. Research shows that 19% of candidates who reach out directly to the hiring manager get an interview, yet fewer than .5% of candidates actually make the effort to reach out.

An even more effective way to get an interview is to get referred in by an employee of the company. Candidates who are referred are twice as likely to get an interview and 40% more likely to be hired.

Invest your time in connecting with employees at your target companies and looking for opportunities to be referred in for the role.

Consistency is the Key

It’s not what we do every now and then, it’s what we build a habit of doing every day. The thing is, when you’re a busy working mom and you’re running school pickups, taking kids to activities, and trying to get dinner on the table, there isn’t a lot of time left over.

It doesn’t take hours a day to touch base with your network or conduct research on your target company. In fact, there are activities that you can do that only require 5, 10, or 30 minutes a day. 

Small daily actions add up towards major progress.

We tend to feel productive when we’re applying to jobs because we can quantify those efforts, but many times it’s the networking efforts that are harder to quantify but lead to more results.

The more you engage with your connections on LinkedIn, the more they will see your name and become familiar with your personal brand.

I recommend commenting often, as consistency is a pillar of personal branding.

Here are some tasks you can do if you only have five minutes:

– Like and comment on three LinkedIn posts.

– Check a recruiter’s Twitter feed and engage with their tweet.

– Send a thank-you email to a connection or hiring manager.

– Comment on a company’s Facebook post, a hiring manager’s Facebook post, or a group post.

– Send a connection request on LinkedIn to someone you worked with at a past company.

Here are some tasks you can do if you have 10 minutes:

– Email a network contact about your job search.

– Write a LinkedIn status update in the morning before heading out for the day.

– Research a target company on your lunch break.

– Introduce yourself to another parent at one of your kid’s school or sports activities.

– Find employees from one of your target companies on LinkedIn and send a request to connect.

Make the Most of Morning Times

I love my morning quiet time. I intentionally get up at least an hour before my kids so that I can have some peace before the storm (we have six kids so it can get chaotic quickly in the mornings).

While I start my day with a devotion and 30 minutes of exercise, I also intentionally set aside time for one of that day’s batch work activities. For instance, today is my day to work outlining and prepping podcast episodes. So, in the morning before my crew hits the ground running for the day, I make sure that I get at least one of my top three work priorities accomplished for the day.

You can do something similar with your job search. For a season, maybe you get up 30 minutes earlier and you invest those 30 minutes into whatever your job search activity is for that day. You’ll feel so much better knowing that you were able to check that off before the day got out of hand and you fell into bed at night wondering what happened and if you even accomplished anything today. (What? You too?)

If you’re a morning-time lover like me, I highly recommend Laura Vanderkam’s book, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and Claire Diaz-Ortiz’s book, Design Your Day. They’re full of practical tips for getting your day off to a successful start, and when you’re a mom that’s essential for your own sanity.

Invest Time into Research

Investing time into research will save you even more time when you job search. It reminds me of that famous quote by Abraham Lincoln. If you give me six hours to cut down a tree, I’ll spend four hours sharpening my ax. If you have 10 hours to job search during the week, spend a couple of hours researching your list of target companies and identifying decision-makers, hiring managers, and connections who work for the target companies.

Look for any common connections between you and the decision-maker, hiring manager, or employee so when you send them a request to connect you can find a mutual point of interest.

Start by creating a list of 30-40 companies that are a fit for you (culture, values, location, industry, size) and then go to LinkedIn and see who you’re already connected to within the companies. Work on building a relationship with those people by reaching out, engaging with their posts, and striking up a conversation.

Knowing which companies you’re targeting gives your job search direction. This way you’re not just reactively applying to whatever is on Indeed today. You’re directing your efforts towards getting into one of your dream companies so you can find a perfect-fit position.

Eat the Frog

I love this phrase taken from Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. The main point is that if you know you have to eat a frog that day, do it first and get it over with so you’re not stressing yourself out the rest of the day worrying about it.

Do the hard thing first in your job search. If you’re an introvert and you absolutely hate networking, small talk, and trying to strike up a conversation with strangers, do that first (hello morning quiet time). Then the rest of the day you have that sense of accomplishment instead of dread.

Maybe you hate writing your resume (or customizing it yet again for another role), so do that first. You’ll feel better if you get the necessary, but not so enjoyable, tasks accomplished first thing. Believe me, I know—this is why I work out first thing in the morning. Because some days it’s hard, and if I don’t do it in the morning I definitely won’t get to it the rest of the day.

Alright, so there you have it—if you batch similar job search activities together, focus on the most effective strategies, work at it consistently, make the most of your morning time, do your research before diving into your search, and do the hard stuff first, you’ll be able to not only find time to job search, but make the most of the little bit of time you do have to job search.

And, if you’re short on time, or writing your resume is your least favorite part of job searching, we can help you uncover what makes you the only one for the job. Find out more here.

You may also want to check out How to Take Control of Your Job Search So You See Better Results.

Listen to Podcast Episode #1: How To Plan Your Job Search if you are looking for ways to quickly gain traction and see quicker job search results. In this episode, Jessica Hernandez shares her expertise to help you stand out to employers, get more responses from applications, and find your next position quicker.

If you re looking for tips to overcome mommy guilt then here’s How to Finally Beat Mommy Guilt Once and for All.

Also, let’s connect and continue the conversation on Linkedin. You can send me an invite here.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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