Wake up. Browse the Internet for jobs. Eat. Check LinkedIn. Check email. Browse for more jobs. Eat. Browse. Sleep. Repeat.
Many people find it hard to live without a routine in their job search. They do the same thing over and over, expecting different results each day, and they don’t seem intent on breaking their cycle any time soon.
An article by Deepak Chopra, the famed Indian author and alternative medicine healer, suggests that routines pose an obstacle to living consciously and affect the way we work.
The same holds true for the job search, and routines could be the thing preventing long-term job seekers from advancing in their careers. While having some structure in your job search is important, it’s easy to let your routine consume your life and start posing problems. So, to help you break out of your job search rut, here are four examples of the “routine lifestyle,” along with ways to help you live — and job search — in the moment:
1. You Miss Simple Mistakes
Imagine you’re a job seeker in a super tight routine. You just sent your resume to 50 companies last week and finally got a reply from one of them. You read the message during ‘email time’ and your heart drops. According to the employer, your resume had multiple errors, including a spelling error in the first sentence. The employer didn’t accept your application but just thought you should know your mistake so you could correct it.
According to Chopra’s article, when you’re in a routine, your brain starts adapting to the familiar patterns you follow each day. This causes trouble when focusing on the little things, because you’re too caught up in the big picture — what’s coming next — to pour over each minute detail. The negative implications of this lack of pattern recognition can be detrimental to your job search when recruiters look at things such as your resume, cover letter, or social media profiles.
Instead of mass-sending your resume and cover letter to as many companies as possible, try to narrow down your search to the top 25 companies you want to work for. Then, customize your application to fit the needs of each business individually, being sure to include buzz words and job duties as listed in their job posting. And instead of sending every application out in the same day, only focus on two to three companies each day so you can spend more time researching them and tailoring your materials to them.
2. You Become Lazy
Imagine you’re still chugging away at your job search routine. You’re doing the usual browsing of job boards on LinkedIn when you notice one of the companies you want to work for is hosting a networking luncheon. You ponder the opportunity for a minute, and decide you’re going to go. When you get there, you meet a recruiter and get her business card with the intention of following-up. When you get home, you tell yourself you’ll do it first thing tomorrow. But tomorrow comes and you snap back into your usual pattern. You don’t remember the business card until a week and half later, and by then, the lack of urgency in your follow-up has turned off the recruiter towards you.
When you’re stuck in routine, your mind starts to go into autopilot mode. You do the tasks you’ve scheduled and stick to them no matter what. While this helps keep you focused, you completely lose sight of higher priorities, such as forgetting to follow-up with a valuable connection.
Even if you do eventually get a job, this habit could carry on and affect your actual work, meaning you’ll end up back where you started in no time. Overcoming laziness in your job search can be extremely tough to do, and even tougher to admit you even have a problem. For a detailed account of how to put an end to such a destructive habit, consult this article.
3. You Stop Being Proactive
Keep imagining you’re still that job seeker addicted to routine. You have a strict schedule that maximizes your productivity…or so you think. Instead of living preemptively or in the moment, you’re just sitting back, accepting mediocrity, and waiting for something good to come of it. But it never does.
In reality, applying to jobs online and fixing up your resume for four weeks doesn’t even put a dent in the amount of work you should be doing to maximize your time. Your routine prevents you from exploring new opportunities and trying out new, potentially better avenues of getting a job.
Job search routines often cause you to become reactive instead of proactive. You can’t get the job you want by simply submitting your application and hoping for the best. You have to take adequate steps to ensure you stand out to hiring managers, which greatly increases your chances of moving on to the next round. Instead of being in the above situation and unconsciously prolonging your job search far longer than it needs to be, focus on actively pursuing opportunities that will get you ahead.
4. You’re Not Living In The Moment
Imagine just one more time you’re still in that routine rut. You dedicate all your time and energy to getting an interview at your dream company, and every task you do is designed to accomplish that goal. Eventually, your hard work pays off, and you landed the interview! You prepare and prepare, memorize every line of your resume, and lay out an entire plan. The only bad part is the interviewer posed questions the articles you read never listed, the interview style was very unique, and you were so thrown off track you couldn’t effectively answer the hiring manager’s questions.
In a routine, you’re always focused on what’s next without giving the adequate attention to what’s happening now. When this happens, especially in an interview setting, you can’t fully immerse yourself in the conversation because you’re so preoccupied with what they’re going to throw at you next.
Deepak Chopra’s article is all about living in the moment. Start living in the moment, and you will see a remarkable impact on the effectiveness of your job search. Active listening – which requires you to not only hear the words a person is saying, but also be able to understand and respond to the message – is a crucial part of effective interviewing. This can’t be pulled off if you’re not completely living in the moment, so learning this skill is beneficial not just to your job search, but also your life overall.
How did you break out of your job search routine?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Come Recommended!
About the Author: Alex Macksoud is a senior at Central Michigan University studying advertising with a minor in marketing. Aside from being a content creator trainee, Alex is also a social media trainee at Come Recommended. He has heaps of experience in advertising, social media, public relations, content creation, SEO, and marketing – mainly from internships and leadership roles in student