Job hunting is a full-time job and one of the most exhausting. The sense of urgency, the pressure to look good, being broke and the need for self-initiative can stress out even the most experienced job searcher. There is no way to guarantee a shorter job hunt with quicker results, but there are some actions and strategies you can employ to make the search less burdensome and as productive as possible.
Choose Your Targets
The most common approach to job hunting is total saturation. Instead of answering every ad that seems even remotely appropriate and putting out the vibes that you’d be willing to “take anything,” spend more time researching where you really want to work. Emphasize quality over quantity in your search to apply to jobs that truly interest you, and prepare to show the hiring managers that you are the best person to fill their needs. Make an appointment and show your genuine enthusiasm for the company and the job. The job search may get more uplifting when you choose your targets more purposefully, and at the same time, you’ll increase the odds of landing a job you really like rather than one you'll come to hate within two weeks.
Develop Your Sales Skills
In your search for a job, what you’re looking to show to a would-be employer is your value as an employee. You need to tell people why they should hire you over someone else with similar qualifications. When answering the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” questions in the interview, take back control and ask a few questions of your own. Find out first if the company is one you really want to work for and then provide enthusiastic and relevant examples of your background and character. Talk about yourself as if you were a commodity with features and benefits that can help the potential employer become its very best.
Stick With It
Sticking with it and refusing to give up don’t mean you run yourself into the ground thinking, talking and living your job hunt every second of the day. It doesn't mean that you win the game by filling out the most applications. The best way to practice perseverance is to set and follow goals. For example, if you’re comfortable putting in four applications for promising positions every single day, that’s good enough. Set a level of work that you’re comfortable doing every day and hold yourself to your own standards. By persistently following your daily plan, you’re bound to get a job eventually. In the meanwhile, you can maintain your self-respect and self-confidence, knowing that you stuck to your goals and did what you said you were going to do, regardless of the outcome.
Balance Your Life
Balance goes hand in hand with perseverance. Consistent effort, however, is very different from beating yourself up, undergoing bouts of anxiety and making panicked efforts to apply to every job in town. The other side of hard work is relaxation and enjoyment. As difficult and counterintuitive as it may seem, allowing yourself to relax and have fun on a daily basis, perhaps as a reward for persevering in your search, will keep you upbeat and healthy and prevent you from getting drained and overwhelmed. Get out and exercise to increase the endorphins in your system and improve your mood. Keep up your healthy habits to maintain your peak condition and be ready when the job offer appears.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."