How to Job Hunt Effectively

If you’re wondering how to job hunt effectively, you’ve come to the right place!

I graduated from college without a job lined up and I felt horrible about it. I felt so bad that I thought I needed to spend all of my time fixing my resume and cover letter and applying to jobs.

At the time, I was balancing a part-time retail job, a part-time internship, and job hunting. So I cut myself off from my support network to make more time for applying to jobs. Then when I eventually started my career in marketing, I carried over the same work ethic. *spoiler alert* I burned myself out.

When I look back on that post-college job-hunt, I see that all I was really doing was blindly shooting arrows as quickly as possible. What I really should have been doing was deciding on my target and taking the time to calculate my aim. Had I done this instead, I would’ve had a more efficient and effective job-hunting process.

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Here are 5 productive ways to spend your time while job-hunting.

1. Self-discovery

I truly believe that self-discovery is a way to calculate your aim. When you take the time to get to know who you are, what you like, what you want your life to look like, and what value you can provide, finding a job becomes quicker and easier because you have more of an idea of what you are looking for.

What you can do:

  • Dedicate time every week to explore your interests and hobbies.
    • This is a practice I didn’t think to do when I first graduated from college. But it’s something I’ve learned to integrate into my life and I wish fresh-out-of-college me knew how important this was to finding a job out of college.
  • Get your free copy of the Productive Job-Hunting Game Plan so you always know what step to take next in your job hunt.

How this helps your job hunt:

I could go on for days about the importance of self-discovery in the job-hunting process. But the gist is that a marketing degree is vague. So when you explore your interests and hobbies, it’s easier to define what you are looking for in a job.

You just may end up being able to combine your career path in marketing with your interests/hobbies. Or at the very least, your interests and hobbies are a great way to de-stress from the job-hunting process. It’s a win-win.

Even though self-discovery isn’t the same as applying to jobs online, it’s still helping your job hunt because it helps you decide what to search when you start applying to jobs.

2. Self-care:

People talk about having a work-life balance. It was something I definitely asked others about when I was job-hunting as a recent graduate. But the truth is that everyone’s work-life balance is different because what it takes for each person to feel balanced is different.

If you don’t take the time to practice balancing job-hunting, a social life, and being an adult, how are you supposed to be able to balance work with a social life and being an adult?

What you can do:

Set aside time every week to dedicate to self-care.

When you do set aside time for self-care, it’s important to know the difference between self-care and self-indulgence.

How this helps your job hunt:

Self-care is a way to fill-up your cup so you have more to share and have more energy while job-hunting. So during this self-care time, you won’t be applying to jobs. But you’re still improving your job hunt because you’re re-energizing yourself so you can continue your hunt.

3. Stay connected with loved ones

When I first graduated from college, I started distancing myself from my support network (friends and family) because I felt ashamed of the fact that I didn’t have a job.

I didn’t want to talk to my family members because they would only ask where I was at in my job hunting process. And instead of reaching out to friends, I stopped responding because conversations started to feel more like comparison time.

But it’s only now that I realize that all of it was just in my head. And that if I had opened up about the way I was feeling about my job hunting process, I probably would have found the support I needed.

What you can do:

Set aside time with your loved ones every week.

How this helps your job-hunt:

Being vulnerable with loved ones can create stronger bonds. They just might share their adulting struggle stories with you. And hearing other people’s stories can normalize the fear, confusion, and other emotions you feel about post-graduation life.

How do I know this?

Because I recently started talking to peers about that first year out of college and saw that we were all feeling the same way. And if we had just opened up to each other, we could have helped each other through it.

So setting aside time to catch up with your support network isn’t applying to jobs. But you’re still helping your job hunt because it’s a great way to stay motivated and keep pushing through the job-hunting process.

4. Meet new people

Keeping in touch with college and high school friends is great — they know you on a different level and have seen you grow! But they may not have the same interests as you. So it’s also a good idea to meet new people with those same interests.

There’s honestly something magical about talking about your passions with people who find them equally fascinating. For example, the conversation I have with my best friends about a marketing campaign would be very different from the conversation I have with fellow marketing professionals about the same topic.

If you’re anything like me, going to a networking event is NOT your jam because you’re introverted and it feels fake. But there are other ways to meet like minded people. 

What you can do:

Do volunteer work for a cause you want to support. Join facebook groups dedicated to things you are interested in and set up a virtual meetup with people you meet.

How this helps your job-hunt:

When you do this, you aren’t applying to jobs and it can be fun meeting new people so it definitely won’t feel like you’re helping your job hunting process. But you are!

When you are focused on creating genuine connections and are open about what you want, doors start to open up. The trick (at least for me) was to not think of this as networking…even though that’s precisely what this is.

5. Improve and/or gain new skills

One of the ways to make your application stand out is with the skills you bring to the table. I was one of those people who felt like I needed a job to get experience but I also needed experience to get a job.

But I found out that there are ways to give yourself the experience you need to show that you are the right candidate. For example, my friend Tre graduated without any work or internship experience but was still able to create a portfolio that helped him eventually get a job.

What you can do:

Set aside time every week to improve and/or gain new skills.

How this helps your job-hunt:

As a new graduate, a great way to stand out is by having hard skills that are relevant to the jobs you are applying for. Oftentimes, these hard skills are things you didn’t learn in school.

For example, when I thought I wanted to go into digital marketing, I set aside time every week to get a Google Analytics certification. When I set aside time to work on getting that certification, I wasn’t applying to jobs online but the time spent on that certification still helped my job hunt.

What I’m trying to say is that in addition to working on your resume or cover letter and applying to jobs, set aside time every week to:

  • Explore your interests and hobbies
  • Practice self-care
  • Connect with loved ones
  • Meet new people
  • Work on hard skills

Now that you know that a productive job hunt doesn’t mean spending 100% of your time applying to jobs and you have a list of other productive ways to spend your time while job-hunting, it’s time to get to work! Download this Job-Hunting Game Plan to make sure you have these 10 things in order to get through the job-hunting process confidently and efficiently.

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