Your personal calendar is an important tool in conducting an effective job search. As simple as it sounds, how you organize and choose to spend your time has a huge impact on the velocity and success of your job search.

There are plenty of calendar tools on laptops, smart phones, tablets and other devices that can help serve as your external memory and send you reminders of appointments and to-do’s.

In my view, it’s not the tool, but the way you use the tool that makes the greatest impact.

Steven R. Covey’s “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People” has an excellent, detailed description of how to manage and work a calendar.

For the job seeker, this translates into planning out your job search a week at a time.

First, schedule in your known recurring meetings – job support groups, training classes, meetings with accountability partners, time at the gym, networking meetings. With these scheduled, you’ll have blocks of time left over for your other job search processes and tasks. Set up some time after each known meeting for taking notes, entering contacts, updating your social media (Linked In invitations). Also scheduled appointments with yourself for company research, placing outbound networking phone calls and emails, and looking at job boards. Early in the job search, you will want to schedule time for building the artifacts such as resumes, sample cover letters, business cards, and others. The artifacts will be covered in a separate article.

Deciding how much of your time you want to spend on your job search in relation to your other activities will determine your velocity. Knowing where the big chunks of time are will help you schedule activities that take longer into uninterrupted segments. Scheduling morning coffee networking meetings and networking lunches are more easily balanced and shifted as interview opportunities arise. Job seekers often have evening activities as well, and understanding your calendar and time commitments will help you communicate with friends and family those changes in schedule that are unplanned but likely to disrupt other activities.

Finally, plan in some time to manage your time.  A few minutes in the morning to set and reset appointments, a few minutes in the evening to review what works and what doesn’t, and a half-an-hour a week to plan the next week.

Being in control of your time is being in control of your life, and your job search.

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