Are You Ready for the Commitment?

By Joe Stein

The time needed to conduct a job search is probably the #1 reason that a gainfully employed person does not seek a new position.   Looking for a new job can be a lot of hard work in order to do it right, plus who has the time?

There is no getting around some of the “elbow grease” needed to conduct a job search, however, there are some tips that will, hopefully, better organize your time and make things easier.  But first, before you start the search, make sure you are ready and the time is right for you to begin.

What to Consider If Deciding Whether to Start a Job Search:• Current Job – Will your current job allow you some job search time?  If you are working long hours without many days off, then you will be hard pressed to start a search.  The same holds true if you are traveling substantially for work, as it will be difficult for a Recruiter to connect with and schedule appointments.  This is why those who are in a situation where their work-life balance is severely compromised often find themselves in such a helpless situation.  Finally, if you have little break (“sneak away”) time at your current job, you will not have much opportunity to connect with a Recruiter while he or she is at work.  This can be quite a dilemma for a person, because most everyone will acknowledge that your job search success rate and your negotiation power is much greater when one is gainfully employed - so I really do not recommend quitting current employment.

• Friends and Family – Since conducting a job search while employed is like having two jobs, make sure that you have the support that you will need from your family and friends.  You will inevitably see them less than you would normally as you conduct your job search.  Find out if they are able to help you in such was as assisting you in searching job boards (using the criteria you provide), or helping with networking.

• Personal Energy Level – For the entire time of your job search, you will be personally stretched and stressed.  The constant juggling of responsibilities, trying to arrange your schedule, and late nights would wear on anyone.  Make sure you feel energized enough to tackle this job search.

Some Tips for Assisting You When Making This Commitment:

• Make a Daily Commitment – This will serve in a number of ways to assist you.  First, you will stay on top of the latest opportunities that interest you, therefore providing yourself with a greater advantage in landing the position. Second, it serves to keep you in a routine that will help your daily scheduling.  Finally, a daily commitment will prove to be much easier to follow than saving your search for one-day and then having to find a few hours of consecutive time to do it right.  If possible, try to vary the time of day you allot to the search, especially when making phone calls, as this may help you in making contact with people you are trying to reach.

• Have the Basics Ready – Make sure to have your Cover Letter and Resume templates complete prior to formally starting your job search.  This way you can get a quick start to your search and just tweak the documents for each opening, in order to customize.

• Solicit Others – As mentioned above, perhaps others may be able to assist you in your search.  Of course, you are the one that will have to conduct the phone screen and any interviews, but there are other opportunities to solicit the support of a spouse or sibling (such as searching job boards, customizing Cover Letters, or conducting employer research).  You will need to be able to review their work to ensure that it reflects your requirements.

• Have Dedicated Tools – Use an e-mail address that is dedicated to your job search.  This way you do not have to sort through dozens of junk e-mails to get to the one from the Recruiter you have been waiting for. Try to have a phone and computer that you have primary or exclusive access to, as this allows you to job search exactly when your schedule allows.

If you are employed and beginning your search, you have the advantage of leveraging your status of gainfully employed.  This way, you are moving forward without any perceived stigma towards being unemployed.  What you don’t have is all day, every day to dedicate to your job search.  Do a self-evaluation to make sure you are ready and can allot a sufficient number of hours each week to a search.  Finally, if you find that balancing your current job and your search is becoming too much, then take a break.  Don’t jeopardize your job status nor your well-being. When you feel you are ready to take your search back on, you will feel renewed.

As always, best of luck in your job search!