To get right to the point, sometimes you are looking for a new job even while you have a job or a life. Honestly, most of us are like this. It doesn't mean that you only have to job hunt when you are jobless or on vacation. You can find time in your weekly routine to sit down and send out a set of applications, but it does take consistency and planning.
The first thing you have to do is curate a list of those sites or email lists that give you the type of results that are actually interesting to you. If you are working full-time you really don't have time to scan through all of craigslist every day. Instead, spend a day going through some of the big sites such as hubs.career or even Indeed or Monster or Careerbuilder. On these sites you need to carefully search for positions and locations that you are most interested in. After this some search results will pop up. Find the ones that are most closely related to exactly what you want and then use the function of having the site send you emails about results which closely match that specific position. Do this for at least 10 positions that are closest to what you are looking for.
Even though this will take some time, it will pay off enormously, because now every day you will receive a set of emails with positions which are very close to that one perfect one you found. Now, instead of looking through all of the sites, you can quickly check your email and see a personal set of positions just for you every day. Additionally, if you have taken the time to register yourself with your resume on those sites then you will be able to quickly apply to those positions each day which are the perfect fit for you.
One thing to remember is that every few months it helps to go in to each of those sites which you are receiving emails from and to update your cover letter and/or resume. Things change and your outlook changes. Also, if you are not getting a lot of call backs it may be useful to re-evaluate your information and try to make it more appealing to potential employers. As a site now, it is also worth having a professional recruiter look over your resume and help make it one that will stand out.
The final key to the job search is to set out some time at least once a week, if not every day to go through your emails and apply to the best jobs you have received. How often you check this will depend on how much time you have and how interested you are in the job search. It should be at least once a week, but I find that it is better to do a little every few days so it is more manageable.
If you follow these steps it will greatly reduce the stress and difficulty of the job search for you. It will help you to feel like you are progressing, while not taking up hours each day of your time.
Great advice and thank you for sharing! This is a great strategy and it seems very manageable, step by step. I'm going through the process of prospecting for new clients (not all that different from looking for a job), so this article was a big encouragement to me, that I can find a good daily/weekly strategy among all my other responsibilities.
I also like the way you advise to have a recruiting professional look over our resumes. I too think that's so important.
When I was just out of school (years ago), I went to an employment agency in NYC. It was my first resume, so I had been very literal about separating education and employment experience. The problem was, that showcased all my "side jobs" as a college student. All the economic research I had done in my MA program was lost on anyone who glanced at my resume.
To prove this to me, the recruiter gave my resume to a fellow recruiter and said, "Who is this person?"
She answered, "Oh, just some girl who worked at Disney and made croissants."
That really got my attention, and from that point on, I made sure my resume reflected what I truly would bring to a job. So I agree with you that it's so important to have others (especially people who don't know you well) review your resume and give you feedback on how it appears to them.