Job Search – Treat it Like It’s Your Job

Job Searching with Career Incite

There are many things that are more fun or more interesting than doing a job search, at least for most people. It is also very easy to get distracted. However, it is important to keep momentum whenever possible.

Schedule some time each weekday, if not every day, to work on something job search-related. There is nothing more frustrating than finding a job posting or hearing about a job opportunity and then discovering that the deadline for applications was yesterday. Equally discouraging would be if someone asked you to send them your resume right away and you do not have one ready that could be quickly customized to the position.

If you are conducting a career or job search, it may help to treat it like you would a job. How many hours a day did you work in your last job? Are you spending a similar amount of time on your job search?

Set Your Job Search Goals

A good goal is to make at least two to three contacts per day that are job search-related (e.g. one application, a cold call, a follow-up, a thank you note, or some combination thereof). Admittedly, this is not always easy and there is no magic recipe for success. Your schedule may necessitate a goal with a weekly or even monthly average number of contacts. You will need to do whatever works for you.

Keeping On Track

But how do you know what your required activity level needs to be? Trial and error. Keep track of how many people you reach out to and how many respond, as well as how many resumes you send, how many replies you receive, and how many interviews you get. And if something is not working after having tried it diligently for several weeks, then alter what you are doing to try and improve your results. Perhaps, if you are not getting enough responses, do more activity. If you are getting responses but few or no interviews, your cover letter and resume may need some work. However, if you are getting no responses at all, perhaps you are not clear in what you are asking for or you are applying to the wrong type/level of jobs.

Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. However, it takes more than a few times to establish a pattern. So do not assume that your resume is not effective because you sent it to just five people and did not get a response.

However, do not wait until you have sent several hundred resumes either. Twenty or thirty may be a good number to determine effectiveness. Also, realize that no response does not always mean no. Perhaps the company decided not to hire, or they promoted someone internally. Or, they are taking longer than expected to review resumes and schedule interviews.

I often say, networking and all elements of a job search are like riding a bike or learning to ski – it takes practice, persistence, and a positive attitude.

Stay Positive in Your Job Search

That being said, keeping a positive attitude during a job search is easier said than done. If you conduct a job search and receive responses, I can almost guarantee that some of those responses will be negative. Most of us would consider no response at all to also be negative. Alternatively, you may get a good ratio of responses that result in interviews – which is very positive but chances are, they will not all result in job offers.

Even if you do receive multiple offers, some may be good, some bad, and the great may take a long time. Sales Trainers often tell their rookies that they can expect seven to ten or more negative responses for every positive one and that ‘no’ simply means that the person requires more information.

A job search is sales – you are selling yourself, your skills and your abilities.

Choose the Right Environment

Back to the notion of treating your job search like a job: you want to set yourself up to do your best in your job search efforts. Consider your environment. Can you focus? Or are there lots of distractions as you write your resume and cover letters, make calls, and research companies. Are you feeling motivated and confident or more like you want to take another nap?

Granted, it is very comfy to work on cover letters or have a telephone interview in your pyjamas. But most of us take things more seriously and communicate better if we dress and behave somewhat professionally. So, put on some pants, comb your hair and schedule your job search activities.

If need be, spend part of your day at the library or local employment centre. Keep your notes and records of applications and calls organized. Update your calendar and keep it handy. Bookmark useful resources (printed or online). And, whenever possible, set some goals and write them down.

Realistic Goal Setting

Research has shown that whenever we write out our goals, we are more likely to achieve them. Keeping records of your efforts will allow you to hold yourself accountable and not allow you to think you are doing more than you actually are. At the same time, do not be too hard on yourself. Some days may be filled with activities that contribute in one way or another to your job search; and other days you may need a rest, a creative outlet, or time to look after other things that life may throw your way. Just like when we are working full-time, it is important to take time off for vacation or life events. Schedule lunch and coffee breaks, ensure you get a good night’s sleep, and get out and appreciate nature/get fresh air for at least a few minutes each day. Working hard at your job search is admirable but not if what you are doing is not effective or you are not taking care of yourself.

Maintaining relationships is also an important piece of taking care of yourself. If friends suggest going out for dinner or drinks, you may be tempted to say no simply because you are limiting your spending while job searching. But why not remind your friends that you are job searching, on a tight budget, and would prefer a potluck with a movie on Netflix. This serves two purposes: keeping you social without spending lots of money and reminds your friends that you are job searching.

Summing it Up

As mentioned in the blog on Networking, you want to ensure that you stay top-of-mind with anyone who may learn about a possible opportunity that might suit you. You want to have some fun and live your life but also always be job searching – at least a little.


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