Career Strategies: Summer Job Hunting Traps and Sirens

It’s the most beautiful day of the year so far and you’ve been job hunting at top speed all week.  Shouldn’t you take your fingers from the keyboard and go for a walk outside — just to clear the fog?  (What fog?  You said it was a beautiful day!)  Or, you’ve finally committed to writing a book.  Do you have to write three hours every morning and revise three hours every afternoon?  Yes.  In job hunting, writing, cooking, and most other things I can think of, nothing takes the place of building and maintaining momentum.  But you are human and a scowl just crossed your face.  Here are the facts.

summer job hunting

Momentum is how you get the job done.  By working at job hunting or any task a certain number of hours every day, without exception, you get better at finding leads and following up.  Every time you give yourself “time off for good behavior” you lose  forward motion.  Is this too simple?  Most people get up to speed and then deliberately slow progress by “celebrating” how well they are doing.  “I’ve just sent out 20 resumes.  I need a break to walk around the block.”

Only achievement is worth celebrating.  Everything else is false.  You got an interview.  “Let’s meet at the bar to celebrate!”  Let’s wait until you accept the offer of your dreams.  Then you can buy a round.  You made 30 new contacts this week and it’s only Thursday.  Can’t Friday be a free day?  No.  How about seeing if you can raise the week’s total to 50?

Relentlessness is powerful and impressive.  Years ago a friend’s husband announced he was leaving her for a younger lawyer.  Her pain and rage were as big as cyberspace.  She needed a job within a month for her self-esteem and sanity.  She hadn’t worked in 12 years.    She worked at her job hunt 100 hours a week, calling everyone she’d ever known going back to high school and college as well as her husband’s contacts.  She got the job she wanted.  Her new boss said,  ”If I hadn’t offered her a job she would not have left the office.”  To so frighten a hirer that he forgets you’re “just a housewife” speaks of a powerful aura and total determination.

Please don’t let anyone seduce you from the path of total concentration when you’re job hunting.  Would you rather have your appendix out once or have it removed five minutes a day with no anesthetic?  Those are the choices when you’re job hunting.

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