Job Searching Is a Full Time Gig

It might seem obvious, but looking to land a role that suits your skills, abilities, and desires requires that you put in the work. How much work it will be will depend. For example, job searching is tougher when the economy isn't doing well. The job market becomes more difficult depending on your background. For example, in the United States, the unemployment rate for African Americans is consistently double that of their white counterparts.

Job searching is a full-time job. It's unlikely that it's your only responsibility. You may be running a household, taking care of children or elderly family members, or have community commitments. It's a challenging task for everyone, but especially so for people who are often discriminated against such as the disabled, older workers, or the formerly incarcerated.

Job searching is complex and has a lot of uncertainty. Some of the factors will be within your control and others will not. One such thing you can do is to create your job search plan. Being prepared and making a plan can help reduce your anxiety.

The job search process has many details. Preparing to manage them can mean:

  • accepting the situation for what it is,
  • assessing who and what you are in relation to the type of role you're trying to secure,
  • targeting which companies and job positions you want,
  • uncovering how to present yourself for the best chance of success,
  • learning what tools and knowledge you will need to conduct a successful interview and presentation
  • understanding how to negotiate the details concerning the job you want (salary, benefit, working conditions, etc.), and
  • when a new job is obtained, fleshing out the things that will make you successful, as well as beginning the job search process again (from a passive perspective).

Even with disciplined planning and focus, flexibility is important as well. Don't be too rigid. As General Douglas Macarthur once said, "Planning is everything. Plans are nothing." Try to find your "North Star." This doesn't refer to your end goal. It's the behaviors or routines that keep you grounded as you go through your job search journey. It could be something like meditation, exercise, or playing video games. Find something that will inspire you! This balance between work and non-work will save your life. Set a daily schedule--this is part of the full-time work aspect of job searching. Scheduling helps you stay on track. It also sets a foundation for healthy habits like exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

Job searching is hard work. It's a full-time commitment on top of all the others you may have. It's also not fair. Accept that it will suck and some measures of success are outside of your control. But you have power over the things you do. Be willing to ask for help from individuals and your community. Have smart, honest, supportive people in your corner. Be organized and consistent. Balance out the job search with a new skill or hobby, if possible. Accepting and preparing for all of this will enable you to perform this work effectively.

Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: The Buddy System: A Job Search Partnership

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