Don’t Job Search Full Time!

If you are unemployed and you are looking for a new job, you’ve probably heard the advice that you should job search full time, just like if you had a full time job. Despite the grief I get from many career coaches, I disagree!

Job Search Full Time

Despite the plethora of career advice experts and well-intentioned family and friends who seem to think that a “good enough” job search requires a 40 hours per week investment of time, I think this is unrealistic and bad career advice. When job seekers hear career advice like this, it makes them think that if they aren’t actively looking for a job from 8 am to 5 pm five work days per week, they aren’t doing enough and they will be doomed to permanent unemployment. Based on my twenty years of career coaching experience, my observations say otherwise.

I believe job search should take 20-25 hours per week, with the remaining time devoted to self-care. Job search can be one of the most emotionally demanding things you’ve ever done, so you need to be in the best shape of your life. Rather than spend eight hours every day seeking employment, I recommend that you save plenty of time to exercise, spend time with supportive family and friends, enjoy your hobbies, meditate/pray, read things that are interesting to you professionally or otherwise, and do whatever it takes to feel strong and centered.

If finances are a concern, you may also want to find a part-time job or do freelancing or consulting to reduce money panic, too. Desperation is never an attractive trait for job seekers, so stabilizing finances can be important for peace-of-mind.

Job search is more like a marathon than a sprint. By taking great care of yourself and refusing to buy into the mistaken belief that job search full time is the best way, I think you’ll get better results than if you wear yourself out with burnout-inducing overkill.

What do you think? If you successfully landed a job either looking full-time or looking less than full-time, please share your job search story in the comments below.

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  1. Janet,
    Thank you. I am an over 50 guy who has had a fairly successful career in the same industry for over 25 years. I am a type A personality, and I am very discouraged that after doing the targeted resumes, custom cover letters, phone interviews, and utilizing every contact i can think of, I am still looking.

    I find myself not at my sharpest emotionally when I have been subjected to lots of rejection during the process. I’ve been in sales. Rejection doesn’t really bother me like it might others. However, when my wife questions why I stop to take the dog for a walk, or leave my office for a few minutes, I feel like I’m letting her down. You are correct that this is far more difficult than a full time job. And that’s coming from a ‘sales guy’ who, unlike some professions, is used to sometimes working long hours and getting paid nothing.

    Thanks for all of your great advice.

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