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!
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 burn yourself out.