In the “old days,” job seekers could put together some basic information (a resume, a cover letter and a pitch) and, with a little luck, land an opportunity. Now, not so much. People like to see optimized materials (a *good* resume isn’t good enough), a LinkedIn profile is a must, social (online) resumes are more and more common and an online presence is assumed. Not to mention use of Twitter and Facebook, both of which fuel today’s successful searches.

So, what is a job seeker to do?

It seems obvious – you can’t be successful until you get started. You can’t get started on everything at once, so break it down and work on one thing at a time. Cindy Petersiel, a business coach, introduced a term that describes this basic, yet important idea: “chunk it down.”

So “chunk down” your tasks so you won’t be overwhelmed by the process of finding a job. It’s great advice for any of us facing lots to do and not enough time. (That pretty much describes most people I know!)

Some tips for “chunking it down”:

1.) Review your assignments and goals. Create a list of everything you need to do. Make sure you have a complete picture of the tasks and create a time frame.

2.) Break down the project into natural segments. “Write a resume” may be one project (with several parts). “Make a networking plan” is another task. Prioritize the segments and think about how much time each piece will take to complete.

3.) Focus on one thing at a time. Compile a daily “to do” list. Make sure it is reasonable; don’t give yourself too many tasks on one day. Depending on the job and your patience, you may need to further chunk down the steps. (No one should expect to write a resume in a day!)

To decide what to do first, consult your list of priorities. To keep your focus, try to include some fun, interesting or simple tasks early on. If you’re doing things you enjoy or finish rapidly, you’ll give your project a boost and quickly check things off of your “to do” list.

4.) Plan ahead. Make sure you have everything you need to work on your task as scheduled.

5.) Seek help. It helps to have a good support system (such as HAPPEN). Ask for advice when you’re really stuck and to ensure that you are on the right track.

6.) Reward yourself. Celebrate your accomplishments. Do something fun!

Get ahead by getting started… timeless advice for job seekers!