How Much Time Should You Invest In Your Job Search?


Let’s face it; in an ideal world everybody would land that great paying new job by dropping just one resume off to an employer.

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way and you’re going to have to be willing to invest a little time and a little effort to find that right career. The other bad news is there is no one standard answer to how much time you’re going to need to invest.

It all really comes down to your individual circumstances.

A lot of it also depends on your education level, lifetime job skills, and experience. The seasoned factory worker, for example, can simply walk into any temp agency and probably walk away with at least something with very little effort.

But when you’re seeking a career, not a low-paying stopgap, that’s a different story. Especially if you’re a college graduate with little work experience.

While you’re seeking a job, your instincts are going to lead you to the big, well-known employment firms, but don’t neglect the local job search resources, because often this is actually where you’re going to find the hottest leads.

There are great local and regional sites that offer thousands of locally available jobs that the national firms don’t even know about. Potential employers will often list their jobs solely on a local site because they’re interested in people who desire to become part of that community specifically.

Here are some other rules for the amount of time to spend on your job search, depending upon where you are in life.

Last Semester of College

When you’re approaching that last semester of college, the party time is over and you need to seriously start thinking about your long-term career goals. At the very start of your last semester, you want to start networking and putting those feelers out there.

You want to begin to tailor your resume to the jobs you’re looking at and examining all of the career options that will come with your degree. You also don’t want to be so bogged down looking for a job that you neglect those final classes, either. You should also take some time and enjoy those last gasps of University life before you move into the professional world.

Stick with a modest amount of time studying the job market and applying to companies. Ten to 20 hours per week should do it.

You may also want to budget some additional time to manage your online reputation. Most people, especially college students, may think about this, but about 80 percent of employers are going to look you up online. There’s a bunch of simple ways to clean up your internet presence, and your time spent should be a judgement call based on what your search results give you.

Recently unemployed

Being recently unemployed really places you in a bad position, both career-wise and emotionally. It’s depressing when you’re unemployed but still faced with the same daily expenses, especially when you know that, on average, the job-search process takes about six weeks.

This is also a time to be careful about the amount of time you spend searching for work. People don’t always make the soundest decisions when they’re under the gun. You don’t want to spend so much time and energy looking for work that you’re doing sloppy interviews or presenting a poor resume just because you’re desperate.

Rather, set regular job hunting hours, but don’t go beyond that, because you don’t want to burn yourself out. Stick to about 30 to 40 hours per week searching for a job and consider taking a temporary part-time job just to relieve the pressure in the meantime.

You hate your current job

This is really the best situation to be in while searching for a new career because you’ve already got the steady bill payer and are just looking for something else. As they say, it’s easy to find a job when you have a job.

Be careful, though, not to carry a chip on your shoulder over your current job as you’re seeking the new one. A potential employer is going to think twice before hiring a person who bad mouths their boss or current company.

You’re not under pressure here, so continue to concentrate on your current job, but spend about 10 hours per week seeking a new position.



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