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Looking for a Job Is a Full-Time Job

Looking for a Job Is a Full-Time Job 3

Looking for a Job Is a Full-Time Job 4By Nadav Avni, Chief Marketing Officer at Radix Technologies

Looking for a job is a different experience for different people. Depending on your status, you might need to approach job hunting with a different mindset.

The job market is a challenging landscape right now. Millions of people lost their jobs at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shops closed. Production lines slowed to a crawl. Entertainment venues shut their doors. Tourism disappeared. Thanks to extensions in unemployment, many workers had the lifeline they needed to weather the storm while looking for a job, or reassessing their old one. But now, as the pandemic evolves into a longer-term series of waves, extended benefits are coming to an end, and people are beginning to plan their return to the workforce, if they haven’t already.

Still, even if on paper the job market is hot right now, looking for a job is historically an arduous activity—it can feel like a job of its own! A 2020 Chicago Fed study found that people who have exhausted unemployment benefits spend over 12 hours a week searching for work on average and send out over 9 applications a month.

Looking for a job is also rooted in different motivations for different people. Many new graduates are just happy to get their foot in the door. More experienced workers might look for a new challenge that can revive their enthusiasm for work, or better benefits—better pay, increased opportunity, or new locations. Then there are those taking time off in between jobs for self-improvement, for whom a new job is perhaps the next step in a series of life journeys.

But regardless of your situation, looking for a job doesn’t have to be a full-time endeavor. Depending on your “(re)entering the workforce” profile, you can and should adapt your search techniques and watch for singular pitfalls so as to secure success as soon as possible.

Joining the Workforce for the First Time

Are you a recent graduate or student who is entering the workforce for the very first time? Perhaps you’re fresh off graduation, ready to show off what you’ve learned in class and internships, or maybe you’re taking time off from school to dip into the workforce. While perhaps deficient in specific skills or experience, you make up for it with a willingness to learn on the job.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go as planned for enthusiastic newbies. You may run into the job experience paradox: most jobs require experience in order to qualify, but experience comes from previous jobs. Internships are often unpaid, but you still have to support yourself somehow. In these situations, you might have to consider a double workload for a while—say, an unpaid internship and then a low-wage job to pay the bills in the interim—but one of the advantages of being a young student or graduate is more schedule flexibility. Utilize that advantage!

Additionally, when new aspirants find themselves shut out of the job market, it’s often due to rookie job hunting mistakes. For example, simply scattering resumes into the void without following up doesn’t cut it. Recruiting teams are deluged with applications. It’s not rude to ask if yours happened to make it out of the slush pile—in many cases, that instigation will prompt them to take a look.

Likewise, it’s important to present yourself as a professional ready to take on the job. Make sure you are well-put-together. Do your research on a job and company before the interview so you come off as competent. Update your resume. And also very important, in today’s digital age: clean up your internet presence! Unintentionally presenting yourself as unprepared might spell the difference between “You’re hired” and “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Moving Onward And Upward

Oftentimes people looking for a job are actually experienced professionals on the hunt for better opportunities. You already have a job, but wouldn’t mind changing teams if it means greener pastures. For these jobseekers, it helps to shift tactics as befits your status.

For example, with a substantial job history, it’s time to update that resume into something a bit more hefty. Don’t flood your resume with lengthy spiels of everything you’ve ever done since entering the workforce. Instead, focus on experiences directly related to the job opening. Employers often take only a few minutes to glance at each resume, and if they see related experiences immediately, they are more likely to move you into the next stage of interviews.

At this point in your career, you should have something resembling a network already in place. It pays to know people that share the same passion, challenges, and frustration that you have at work. Colleagues and contemporaries are your sources for any opportunities or openings. Ask around, use these resources as potential leads—you built these connections for a reason, after all!

Most importantly, at this point in your life, you should have an idea of where you stand career-wise—or if not, it’s time to assess. Are you settled in your chosen industry? Do you think you can do more if you shift careers? Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish for yourself can help you narrow down your choices in employment.

Jumping Back in After a Breather

Even the best workers deal with burnout, especially if their jobs feel like repetitive spinning. Life-changing events like having a family or moving to another location can also necessitate a pause in career goals. Never forget that it’s okay to enjoy your downtime in between jobs.

One of the best ways to take advantage of this downtime is to use it to up-skill. Mind, you don’t have to burn all your time off on, say, another degree. But consider using the time to take some online courses or tutorials, or renew any certifications you may already have. Downtime is all about recharging, but if you have the time to upgrade your skills, returning to the job market will be that much easier.

If you’re in between jobs, this is also a chance to pursue personal hobbies and interests or reconnect with family and friends. In my case, I got to enjoy an unplanned paternity leave! Shortly after my daughter was born, I was in between jobs for three months. While I never lost focus and devoted time daily to an extensive job hunt, I was also able to truly appreciate every second I had at home with my baby girl, watching her grow and hit important milestones.

Also use the time off in between jobs to assess your work habits. If you’re burned out, try to examine why. If it’s perhaps a life change that’s got you out of the market, plan for how you will handle your new life when you return. Downtimes and rest periods can help you make an objective examination of what works and what doesn’t. If you can determine how to avoid unnecessary stress as well as (re)discover a passion for work, looking for a job when you’re ready shouldn’t take too long.

Looking for a job shouldn’t have to be a full-time endeavor. By doing an honest appraisal of why you’re looking for a job, you can at least dodge the pitfalls that can prolong the search, and move with purpose. After all, life is a continuous learning experience. Good luck with the hunt!

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