Treat Your Job Search as a Full-Time Job
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently about 6 million Americans who are unemployed right now. Anyone who’s experienced the loss of a job at any point in their career can probably agree on how frustrating it can be to re-enter the work force.
What many don’t agree on, is how much time a job seeker should spend actually looking for a job. Some job seekers may think every waking moment should be spent looking for a job. Others may think that dedicating just a a few hours a week to their job search is sufficient.
At Empire Resume, we believe that the real answer lies somewhere between those two extremes. Your best bet is to treat your job search as a full-time job.
The Job Duties of a Job Seeker
When you treat your job search as a full-time job, the steps you’ll need to take to land a new job become your job duties and you’ll need to allot time for each step.
Plan on spending about 35 to 40 hours per week on any combination of these tasks:
If you’ve lost your job after being with the same employer for several years, then updating your resume becomes task number #1. When deciding what to include on your resume, you should think about recent accomplishments that can backed up with numbers, dollar amounts, or other metrics.
For example, adding a bullet point to your resume that says you increased sales isn’t very helpful to a prospective employer. However, saying that you helped increase sales by 14% over a 4-month period is more impressive. Or maybe you put a new process into place that helped increase your team’s productivity by 25% without increasing costs.
Many will tell you that you should create multiple resumes tailored to each job you apply to. At Empire, we believe that one resume is all you need, and you should focus instead on customizing your cover letters.
2. Social media branding
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then now is the time to set one up. If you do have one, then update it so it reflects your current work experience and accomplishments.
Add links to any work or media clips and ask for endorsements from those in your professional network. Offer to leave a recommendation for them as well.
Finally, you want employers to see that you are active within your industry. Share relevant blogs and articles to your feed on a regular basis. Include at least one insight you may have gleaned to show that you are engaging with the content and have a viewpoint.
3. Researching job opportunities
Most job seekers go right to the popular job boards to find opportunities, which is a good start. If you visit those sites, be sure to set alerts to notify you when as position that matches your skills and interest pops up.
That’s far from the only source to find openings, however. Think about what companies you’d like to work for, or which companies are within your industry.
Research those firms and look under the careers section of their websites or social media pages. Oftentimes, those positions that are featured on an employer’s website are higher-level positions and may not even be posted on job boards.
4. Applying for jobs
When you treat your job search as a full-time job, then actually applying for jobs can be one of the most time-consuming, and admittedly, tedious steps. Resist the temptation to “power through” and apply to 10 jobs in one sitting. You want to make sure you stay alert while applying so you don’t make any mistakes.
Employers today want you to apply online. Some may even require that you set up an online account on their site as part of the application process. Be prepared to write down all usernames and passwords you’ll be creating.
Also, be sure to keep a list of the date you applied for each position, the name of the position, the company, and the response received.
When you are looking for a job, it’s important to interact with those who can connect you to opportunities. Jobvite’s 2020 Job Seeker Nation Survey reports while the majority of respondents found jobs through traditional job boards, about 45% of respondents learned of job opportunities from friends, and 31% say they learned about jobs through professional contacts.
That means, you should carve out time in your week for networking. That could be online networking through LinkedIn, attending industry conferences, participating in volunteer events, or simply inviting someone out for coffee or lunch.
A job opportunity can come from anyone at any time. The more networking you do, the more likely an opportunity will arise.
Look for courses you can take that will give you skills, licenses, or certifications that would make you more marketable in the eyes of your future employer. It’s not only excellent for your resume but learning something new adds variety to your week and can help prevent burn out.
Another time-consuming, but necessary step is the interview process. This isn’t easy to build into your typical day because you are fitting yourself into someone else’s schedule.
But if you have an interview scheduled, then every other task you had planned for that time must be re-prioritized. Think of it as when your boss runs over and says “Drop what you’re doing. This is the priority.”
If the interview leads to an offer, then all your hard work has paid off. Until then, you have to make sure you remain flexible and make interviewing your priority.
When treating your job search as a full-time job, it’s important to take time off from your job as well so you don’t burn out. Use weekends to spend time with family, friends, and participating in hobbies you enjoy.
Remember, just because you’re not actively “searching for a job” at any specific moment doesn’t mean that there’s nothing happening. At any time, a recruiter could be reviewing your resume, someone could be looking at your LinkedIn profile, a colleague might be thinking about you for an upcoming opening on their team.
Have faith that the work you put in during the week will pay dividends down the line.
Job Searching When You Already Have a Full-Time Job
If you’re unemployed, then it makes sense to let your job search become your full-time job. But what if you are already employed and you want a new job? It’s impossible to turn your job search into a full-time job. In that case, it becomes a part-time job.
You’ll still need to do spend time on all of the tasks above, but you’ll have to budget your time very carefully. Let’s say you decide to spend 10 hours a week on your job search.
Create a “part-time” schedule for yourself. Write down your weekly job-search schedule, including what specific tasks you’ll work on.
For example, on Monday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. you could update your resume. On Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. you can search job boards and apply to jobs. Saturday morning can be spent reaching out to contacts in your network. Sunday morning can be for taking online courses or reading industry publications.
It’s Hard Work to Land a Job
There’s no doubt that it takes time and commitment to find a new job. But if you dedicate yourself to treating your job search as a full-time job, then you will see better results than those who have a less-disciplined approach to their job search.
Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.