Career experts and pundits often tell you that looking for work is a full time job. Those people are correct.
Truth is: looking for work is actually the WORST job ever. You don’t get paid. No one ever says “thank you”. And the more you have do it, the worse you feel about yourself. Nice perks!
Like a regular job, during your job search you need a work-life balance. This is actually more important than it is in a regular job because as a candidate, companies need to see you at your best. If you’re too eager, mopey, demotivated or tired… your chances of success decrease. Any sign of a negative disposition is not attractive to any prospective employer.
Lucky for you, I’ve put together one of my famous numbered lists to solve (almost) all your job search problems.
1. Wake Up at an Appropriate Time
It’s really easy to let yourself sleep in, watch cartoons and live the sedentary life, when you don’t have a place to be. However, you still have to put in the hours to be an effective job seeker. Also, interviews are always during work hours, so you’ll most likely need to be alert for a morning interview. It’s very hard to be at your best for a 9am interview if you’re used to waking up at noon.
During your job search, discipline yourself to wake up at a time you would normally get to the office.
2. Plan a Full Workday
Without a plan, you’re likely to get sidetracked. Create a job hunting strategy and map out all of the tasks involved. You know when you are the most effective, so you can plan the heavy stuff for those times. Take into consideration the time it takes to fill out applications, write cover letters and tailor your resume. Make sure you include time to use social networking for job hunting purposes, and attend in-person networking events as well.
Be sure to schedule a variety of tasks during your day. A former employer of mine once told me not to work on any one task for more than two consecutive hours, since you become less interested and efficient over time. Change it up every now and then– and stay focused.
3. Take Breaks
Part of the reason steps 1 and 2 are important is that if you do them properly, you won’t feel guilty about taking regularly scheduled breaks, from 15 minutes to a full day when you just need a mental day off.
Only douchebag bosses don’t allow breaks every couple of hours and real days off to recharge and refresh. Don’t be your own douchebag boss.
4. Remember Your Hobbies and Personal Life
If you are a regular at a gym, now is not the time to stop. You should also take this opportunity to start eating healthier. Continue to go out and be social on a regular basis. A daily cycle of working from a computer at your kitchen table, then moving to the couch at 5pm, then to bed and back to the table in the morning can make you a little crazy (and a bit grumpy)
The networking events you attend just to support your job search won’t be enough. Plan fun events with your friends and go out at night. Be a regular person even though you don’t have a job…just plan events within your current budget.
When you neglect to properly plan and execute your job hunting strategy, you create a vicious cycle for yourself:
- First, you start to feel guilty about how little you’ve done
- Then you don’t take time for yourself, which results in you being less effective
- That ultimately results in an empty pint of ice-cream, a lot of crying… and still no job
The worst you can do for yourself at this juncture is to take away activities you enjoy and that keep you sane.
Save the ice cream for a celebration… after you get that new job, and because you beat the job search blues.
About the Author: Scott Keenan is a twenty something with a uniquely cynical view on everything. Scott specializes in Human Resources and Marketing, and he “shares the awesome with you as often as he can.” Check out Scott’s blog, and connect with him on Twitter!