Job Searching Tips: Gather Up Some Things

Job searching is stressful and involves lots of moving parts and people. You need a way to keep track of it all without having to keep it all in your head. It also takes longer than you want (even if it's not that long). So you need a way to stay hopeful and semi-sane.

Here are some things that will help.

1. Keep a Job Search Journal.

The journal is to keep track of what you are doing and what you've done. You want someplace to hold the to-do lists and some record of where you are in the job search process with each organization you apply to. It's also nice to look through it on the hard days where it feels like nothing is happening to see that you are doing the work and have accomplished a lot.

There's no special format. It doesn't have to be a book. If you like charts, make one. If you want a notebook that you can add or change pages and dividers, great. You can make a digital one too.

The important thing is that there's a place to hold information regarding your job search in an organized way that is not just your brain. Having that endless loop of things to remember is exhausting and the last thing you need. Going through the job searching process is enough.

Your journal is separate from your calendar - which you also need to keep up-to-date with appointments, interviews, and follow-ups.

If you also want to write about how you are feeling and what you are thinking or imagining, that's a great way to process the job search experience and see your progress and transformation.

2. Establish a Job Search Routine.

Routine is a spectrum. Some people thrive at having a schedule laid out and following it. It feels good to check off everything on the list and know what to do next. This provides stability, keeps you productive, and can be extremely satisfying. But if you have an off day, it can also send you into a shame spiral about not even being able to follow a routine that you created. Don't go there. Perfection is a distraction.

At the other end of the spectrum is something more than doing nothing and hoping for the best. On the days I just can't deal with reality, I make a list of three things I know I can do and only one of them can take more than two hours and/or be difficult. If it's a really bad day, I start my list with 1. Make a to-do list. That way, when you get to 3, you can already check off number 1.

What matters with your routine is that you make some progress every day. That's it. Do something for your job search every weekday.

3. Connect with Your Network

A network just means connecting with people you know, especially the ones you only sort of know. People can't help you with your job search if they don't know you want one. Your part is to tell friends, colleagues, and social media connections that you are looking for your next opportunity.

There are lots of ways to do this. For close friends, text or call to chat. For others, a quick email saying, "hi" is right. Remember to always ask about them. Even though you are understandably focused on yourself, it's essential that you remember relationships flow both ways.

For a wider audience, put a post on social. I've seen people do short videos and even create a hashtag like #hireAlex.

Expect people to ask you what kind of job you want. It's fine if your story evolves as you explore options and get clearer. But you at least need something to say in response to "What are you looking for?"

4. Have a Source of Fun and Inspiration

Take up gardening, learn to draw, try a new recipe every week, start photographing flowers with your phone, write haiku, go to the park, and swing. This is not something you "should" do. It's something you find interesting, amusing, or meaningful. It can be a new hobby or just a list of fun things to do for an hour. Just make sure to do one every day.

The idea is to have a release from all the job searching and remember that you don't have to suffer because you are looking for work. Find some joy and respite every day. If you are alive, you deserve some delight.

Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: Job Searching. It's a Normal Part of Living

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