“Looking for a job is a full-time job” is one of those clichés that just drives me mad. It’s just wrong-headed thinking for all kinds of reasons. It leads to burn-out. It leaves folks feeling badly for not knowing how to fill those hours. It creates judgment from family and friends who all of a sudden become clock watchers. Just plain awful.

Mostly, though, it sets the wrong expectation. A successful job search – like a successful job performance – depends on what you do and how you do it, not how many hours you log at your desk.

Here are 3 things that will be 100% worth every minute of your time in a job search:

    1. Spend your time connecting with people. Job hunting is a numbers game – just not how you think. It is not the number of jobs you apply to, it is the number of people you make meaningful connections with. Nothing else gives you a bigger return on your investment of time. Nothing.
    2. Spend your time targeting potential employers. Identify employers that are a good fit and pursue them relentlessly. Make connections with people in those organizations. Read everything you can about those businesses. Sign up for job alerts on those employers and visit their corporate career sites weekly.
    3. Spend your time perfecting your message. Don’t wait until you have an interview on your schedule to decide what’s important for an employer to know about you. Being able to answer the questions like “Tell me about yourself,” or “What are you looking for,” with clarity and confidence will help you get comfortable having conversations with people who can help you in your search. It’s not just for the interview! Even if you are unsure, practice a few versions, try them on, see what feels right, and then practice some more!

Swap some time doing these three things with doom-scrolling down job boards. You’ll be happy you did!

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