First thing I’ve learned? It sucks. I always dreamt of what I’d do on days off and how wonderful it would be—I’d go to a coffee shop, for a walk around the city, shopping, and maybe to a museum. Little did I know that when I actually had all the time off in the world I’d want nothing more than to be at my desk with a million coffee cups around me and papers piled to the ceiling. Every time someone says they’re jealous of all my free time I cringe a little inside, but then I realize I was once that person that held a day off in the same light as a chocolate milk fountain. Overall, job searching is a full time job that requires complete devotion and sacrifices. And just like with a job, you make some mistakes and learn valuable lessons along the way.
Here’s some valuable lessons I’ve learned recently about the job search that are worth sharing:
Make monetary sacrifices
It can be very tempting to buy the Vegas ticket with your best friends, or go out for drinks and appetizers on a Saturday, but remind yourself that these are luxuries that come with a paycheck. It may upset you at first to miss out on some of these things, but remind yourself that your situation is temporary, and that saving the money for rent, utilities, and groceries is much more important.
Be honest with your friends and family
Acting a little more frazzled than usual? Missing some gatherings you used to attend? If you let people know your situation, your good friends and family will understand and want to help you during this time. Not telling them and keeping your stress to yourself will cause strain in your relationships. And letting them know you are on the job search may turn up some exciting job opportunities!
When I first started applying to jobs, my roommates looked at my like I was crazy when I asked them why I hadn’t heard back from anyone in a couple days—and rightfully so! With the overwhelming amount of people applying, it might take the employers longer than usual to get back to you. Stay patient and keep applying to other jobs that you are interested in.
Keep a record of the places you apply
You have to be ready at anytime for the employers to call you and ask you some questions about yourself. If you have a list of the places you apply, along with the version of the resume/cover letter you sent as well, you will be more than prepared when this happens. I recommend keeping a spreadsheet and appropriately labeling your documents to refer to later.
Keep your old routine
Applying to jobs is a 9–5 job. But along with a 9–5 job (if you are lucky) comes a lunch break and end point when you go home and relax with your friends and family. Make sure to take a break, walk around a bit, eat lunch, and do the same routine you had when you were employed (exercise, read, write, and play). I have a rule with myself now that I don’t bring my computer into my room at night. If I do, I fall into the trap of job searching until the wee hours of the morning. Set a limit for yourself on the working, and keep doing the things you enjoy.
Don’t apply to anything and everything
When you first get laid off or quit, it can be tempting to apply to every job you see on job boards. However, doing this will only lead you to a job that you aren’t completely happy with and waste your time better spent applying to a job that you love. Take time to think what you really want to do and read the job description carefully to make sure you are qualified and really interested in it.