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Helpful Habits for Job Searching

Written by Joanna Hughes

Scoring a job in today’s competitive market is about much more than just sending in a resume and showing up for an interview. Rather, it’s a mindful practice, with “practice” being the operative word. The more you incorporate positive habits into your job search, the greater results you’ll see. Read on to learn our picks for healthy habits for today’s job searchers.

1. Go Get ‘Em

It’s unlikely that the perfect job is going to reach out and find you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Passivity is the enemy of the productive job seeker. Instead, proactivity is your new best friend.

Job boards can change by the day; make checking them an everyday activity lest the perfect possibility pass you by.

Also, check in with friends, former coworkers and old classmates in relevant industries; they may be able to offer valuable leads and inside scoop on up and coming position.

2. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

The most successful job candidates know exactly what they want and integrate this theme into every aspect of their job search. While you might think keeping your options open opens more doors, this actually leads to fewer true opportunities in the long run.

Of course, your needs and wants may change with time. Compose a list of desirable job attributes — from top employers to places to live — and regularly update it. The more purposeful you are in your searches, the more likely you are to find the right position.

3. Make a Job Plan…and Stick To It

While many people suffer from procrastination, the most successful job hunters never put off for tomorrow what they can do today. List all of the tasks relate to your job search and prioritize them carefully in a spreadsheet or alternate organizational method. Routinely review this task list to stay on track. Whether your goal is to answer a preset number of postings on any given day or to refine your resume weekly, don’t deviate from the plan. No matter what.

4. Better Yourself

While your dream job is hopefully right around the corner, the job search can also take some time. The best job candidates use this time to develop themselves in meaningful ways. Whether you network to develop your professional connections or pursue continuing education opportunities, focusing on your own growth can make you a more desirable candidate in the long run. Working on these skills can also help you negotiate better compensation when you do get hired.

5. Be Ready…For Anything and Everything

The contemporary job market moves quickly in the digital age. The best candidates are always prepared for what’s coming next. If that 9 a.m. phone call is from a hiring manager hoping to squeeze you in at 11 a.m. that same morning, you’ll be glad you were awake and ready to go.

6. Follow Up

Effective job hunting isn’t just what happens before a job interview; it’s also what happens after. The most successful job hunters understand that it’s a relationship game, and follow up goes a long way. Even if you don’t get the job this time around, a hiring manager may file your resume away when the perfect job does come around. Committing to follow up along every step of the way can ensure that your resume lands in the pipeline instead of in the recycle bin.

You may have heard facts and figures about how long the average job search takes. Four months? Eight months? Some kind of salary-based calculation? While these averages may be true in the most general sense, they don’t factor in a job candidate’s own ability to directly influence the process by formulating helpful habits that lead to results.

About the author

Joanna Hughes

Joanna Hughes is a freelance writer who specializes in business, human resources and the job market. She lives with her family in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire.