Looking for a Job is a Full-time Job

Looking for a Job is a Full-time Job


Forgive me if you’ve heard this lecture – er, I mean discussion from me before.  But, it’s the number one thing I tell executives with whom I’m working on their job searches: Looking for a job, is a full-time job.  Any more can burn you out, any less, you’re not likely to succeed. But more than the hours – it’s the structured approach you must take, if you’re going to land your next role.

8 to 6, with Breaks

Obviously, after this important discussion, I also counsel on what someone should be doing. But yes, that comes after. First and foremost, we talk about when, and why to approach the job search itself as a job.  First, the “when”.  By the time I am referred to some executives, they have just suffered their first career blow, and it’s hard to figure out where to begin.  The logical approach seems somehow to be to take a nice vacation – 3 or 4 weeks – and then to give it “everything you’ve got”. This seems to mean staring at the computer for up to 20 hours a day.  Anything less seems to feel like you’ve wasted your day, and not given it your all. Perhaps there’s an eager spouse who also expects to see his/her better half “trying harder”.  How can you anything but respect the husband who has put in 12-hour days, and not gotten up for more than food or a bathroom break in days, right?  Wrong.  Looking for a job is itself a full-time job. No less, and no more. If you’re an 8 to 5’er or a 9 to 6’er, or even a 10 to 7’er, that’s your prerogative. But, just like you won’t get a job lounging at the beach, you’re also not likely to find one staring at a computer for 12 straight hours.

Organize your Search, Just as You Organized When Employed

This gets us to the next point – you won’t find a job staring at a computer, with no plan.  You must organize your new role – full-time job seeker—just as you organized for your job while bringing home a paycheck.  Each week, set goals for yourself, and each evening before wrapping up, set the next days’ goals.  At the mid-week point, analyze where you are for this week’s goals, and Friday at 5, track your progress to plan.  You did it while employed, right?

Beyond that I usually work through a customized plan of what works and is most likely to yield results. But here’s an example of what a plan might look like:  For the following week, I will have coffee with 5 new connections, have 3 informational interviews, reach out to 20 more of my Linked In connections via e-mail, and call 10 former coworkers. 

You’ll note that the “plan” above does not include applying to any jobs, but that is a whole other story.

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Marilyn Weinstein is Vivo’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, responsible for overall strategy and business growth and development. Prior to starting iTalent Solutions in 2006—the successful effort which paved the way for Vivo’s launch in 2009—Marilyn was Vice President and General Counsel for AlphaSoft Services Corp., where she served on the company’s Executive Team for over seven years. She helped AlphaSoft grow from a start up to a $50 million per year, multi-office success story.