Let’s face it; the job searching process can be long, frustrating and discouraging. In the tough job market we have today, the time it takes to research, apply for jobs, interview and eventually land one takes even longer than it has in the past. In a perfect world, we’d be able to devote 12 hours a day into the job search until we landed that perfect position; but let’s be real, that’s not possible and it’s not healthy either. That’s why it’s important to have a game plan for your job searching activities to avoid wasted time, frustration and burnout.
When I first found myself unemployed after college, I was so stressed about finding a job quickly that I devoted myself to constantly being on my computer searching and applying for jobs. Every time I was home, my laptop was open with the objective of looking for jobs. It was the first thing I did in the morning and even when I ate or sat down to watch a movie, I had those career sites open next to me. Soon I began to feel that job searching was the only thing I was really doing, and it quickly became discouraging and draining.
My best advice is to devote a few hours every day to the job searching process (preferably around the same time each day so you can develop a routine). The rest of the time you can spend improving your skills, taking courses, practicing hobbies, and enjoying your time with family and friends. This way, you’ll spend time searching and applying for jobs, but you’ll also maintain a healthy balance. It may be hard for you to pull yourself away from job searching after a few hours at first, but it’s better to spend focused, productive time job searching rather than long periods of time where you are tired and wasting time. Trust me, in the long-run you’ll be much happier and you’ll also end up being more productive.
In order to make your time most useful, you should focus your energy on particular tasks each day and organize your time wisely. Set weekly goals for yourself—explore new career websites, make a list of organizations you want to research, find positions you want to apply for, create social networking profiles and network. Unfortunately, you typically have to apply to many job postings before hearing back from one. Try to stay focused and motivated. Keep in mind that you’re not only competing with recent grads, you’re also competing with professionals of all levels who may have several more years of work experience than you do, so don’t be discouraged if you apply to numerous positions without hearing back.
Take your job searching process seriously, but don’t let it take over your life. Dedicate time to physical fitness and social activities and never underestimate the importance of developing new skills. Enrolling in a relevant course, taking up a new hobby or learning a foreign language will serve as a constructive use of your time and will also help you to become a more marketable candidate.
Remember to be patient and target your job search to the right positions. Stay positive and persevere!
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