Finding a Job is Work

It’s true that looking for a job can be a full-time job in itself, and most will agree that it is the worst job ever. Job seekers can easily adopt a defeatist attitude towards their job search after receiving little to no feedback from hiring managers, but it’s important to keep your attitude positive. For unemployed job seekers, thinking about your job search as a full-time job can help you to keep on track and eventually lead to your success. Think about it this way: if you are working in an office environment and you stop taking your job seriously (putting little effort into your work, showing up late, etc), you will probably be fired. Similarly, if you don’t take your job search seriously or put real effort into it, you will probably end up being unemployed for a lot longer than you’d like.

Granted, a large percentage of job seekers currently have full-time jobs. Their situation is a little trickier, since they don’t have the same amount of time to devote to their job search as unemployed job seekers do. You can find our advice for employed job seekers in our previous employment tip, Job Searching While You’re Already Employed.

For the unemployed, treating your job search as you would any other full-time job can greatly improve your chances of getting back into the workforce. Below we have included some tips and ideas for how you can do exactly that:

  1. Keep a regular sleep schedule:
    • Just because you don’t necessarily have to be at work by a certain time is no excuse to sleep in every day of the week.
    • Keep your body on a regular schedule by going to bed at the same time you typically would for work and wake up as if you have somewhere to be. (Your body will thank you for this once you do return to full-time work.)
    •  You might not have a boss who will notice whether or not you started work late, but you need to still be accountable to yourself.
    • Get your job search started early in the day and you will have more time to devote towards it. The more time and effort you put into your job search, the more you increase your chances of success.
  2. Plan out your day:
    • As you would with a regular 9-to-5 job, have a set plan for each day and set goals to accomplish. For example, aim to apply for 10 jobs each day or to spend one hour catching up with your networking contacts.
    • Take normal breaks as you would in the office, including lunch breaks, etc. These breaks will ultimately help you stay focused for longer stretches of time.
    • Presumably, the companies you will be applying to have normal business hours, so you should be sending your resume and making inquiry calls during the business day.
    • If you wait until after dinner to start working on your job hunt, you probably won’t be able to reach prospective employers to make inquiries or follow-up.
  3. Enjoy the little things:
    • While you should treat your job search like a full-time position, you can still take a minute to breathe.
    • Most professionals spend the majority of their lives working, so there is no shame in using your time between jobs to relax a little. Overstressing about your job search can have negative affects on your morale, and ultimately on your success.
    • Take a break in your days to meet up with a friend or go to the gym, and enjoy your extra time with your family while you can.
    • Again, taking breaks can help you to stay focused and keep your morale high.
  4. Start working:
    • While you want to devote as much time as possible to your job search, there are other ways to find work than sitting at home scanning the job boards on a daily basis.
    • Ultimately, in a tough job market, your best chance of landing permanent work is through temping.
    • With tons of job seekers applying to every job posting online, you will greatly improve your chances of landing work by getting your foot in the door with a company through temp work.
    • Temp work can help you gain critical networking contacts, and fill the gap on your resume between your last permanent job and your next. See the other benefits of temporary work in this previous employment tip.
    • Working as a temp can result in a much more flexible schedule than that of a permanent job. You will have time in between temp assignments to interview and apply for positions.
    • It’s important to realize that if you are working a full-time temp job, you should not work on your job search while you’re on the clock. Use your lunch break to make calls or send out resumes if necessary.

It’s important that you are professional and respectful while at your temp assignment, because in the end, temp work can very well be the key to finding a new job!