Question: "How do I find time for job-hunting when I'm working fulltime?"
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
The easy answer, I realize, is that you must -- no excuses -- but I know that does not answer your question. Job-hunting is often a time-consuming activity -- or it should be if you are maximizing your efforts to obtain a new job -- and finding the time when you are already working 40+ hours a week is difficult.
As much as possible, do NOT do your job-seeking while at work. Keep your current job separate from your job-search.
What you can do is maximize your day: Get up an hour earlier and commit that hour to planning, goal-setting, and following-up. Use that time to send emails to your network, prepare for an interview, or any other job-search activity that needs to get accomplished.
When you get to the interview stage of your job-hunt, ask that interviews be scheduled at times that work around your work schedule, such as early in the morning, during lunch, or after hours. Many employers will accommodate your schedule. If you have to travel somewhere for an interview, try to combine more than one interview and/or other job-search activities and use a vacation or personal day to do so.
You may also need to give up part of your weekend to your job-search, using the time to research prospective employers, set goals for the week ahead, and just stay organized and focused.
Speaking of goal-setting, this activity is perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a full-time working job-seeker. Because of your busy schedule, you should attempt to set daily and weekly job-search goals, covering such areas as:
- Adding new people to your network
- Researching prospective employers
- Uncovering job leads
- Following-up (job leads, network contacts)
- Writing thank-you letters
Two final things to remember.
First, job-hunting is streaky, and it may take you longer than you expect to get the interviews or job-offers you expect, but keep at it and they will come... just remember not to let your current work slip while you are searching for the new job.
Second, because job-hunting is often a long process, remember to take the time to reward yourself on your progress, even when those activities don't immediately lead to anything tangible. You'll enjoy the process more if you treat yourself for meeting your daily or weekly job-search goals.
Get more tips and suggestions in these articles: Strategies for Staying Upbeat During a Long Job-Search and Wrestling the Time-Management Monster in Your Job Search.
This article is part of a series from The Career Doctor's Cures & Remedies to Quintessentially Perplexing Career and Job-Hunting Ailments. Read more.
See a list of all the most common college, career, and job questions -- and Dr. Hansen's solutions.
Who is the Career Doctor? Learn more, read his current career column, or browse the column archives when you visit the Career Doctor's homepage.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.