Just as tempting as it is to panic after a job loss, so too is the opportunity to “relax”. While taking time to recoup emotionally and to think out the next steps in your career plan is advisable, this can often time grow into a general indolence that leads you away from employment success.

Developing a job hunting routine will help prevent you from falling into this trap. You will need to think about how to organise your days, your weeks and your months. For example, you will need to set out which days and times you will set aside to review your local newspaper job listings, online job boards and websites, and ideally, set aside days to cover interviews.

You also need to set aside time to take care of you. Job hunting and unemployment can be emotionally and physically draining. Do not, however, fall into a routine that is contrary to a normal schedule – for example, staying up late and waking up at noon. You need to maintain your normal business schedule as much as possible.

It is best to set targets for each day. You will want to set a goal of sending out a certain number of CVs each day. Keep in mind that you may have to edit your CV a bit for each submission, and while you can work off a cover letter template, you will still need to adjust each cover letter to suit the company and job title for which you are applying. Personalising cover letters to demonstrate knowledge of and interest in each particular company is critical to getting your foot in the door. Also keep in mind the time it will take to do your research for the information.

When developing a routine, it will often be necessary to set aside other personal time. This is especially true for those with children and spouses. Often times, the partner who has experienced the job loss will suddenly find him- or herself responsible for child care to cut costs. You will find that a whole host of new responsibilities will fall on your shoulders if you become unemployed.

Finally, recognise that you will most likely have to set aside time to deal with personal finances. A loss of income significantly affects the family budget, and it may take some significant planning on your part to make things work. You may have to set aside time to notify certain creditors of the new situation. Perhaps you will need to take time to fill out paperwork for programmes available through your lenders to help in circumstances such as these.

Whatever schedule you develop, it is important to follow it and stick to it. Getting off track will reduce your success in the long-run and eventually lead to only sporadic job hunting efforts. Start strong now and stay strong in the future.