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The IT Career Builder's Toolkit, Chapter 13: The Job Search

Remember: Looking for Work Is Work

Sadly, many job seekers—particularly those who are out of work—have a limited idea of how to perform a job search. They are relegated to spending a day or two updating their résumé, taking an hour or two to post the résumé on a variety of job websites, and then resigning themselves to the depressing drudgery of scanning the morning paper every day for an appealing job post.

They have now applied less than three days' time to their job search. Sure, every morning they scan the paper for new openings, but their job search has shifted into passive mode. The silence of the phone is a reminder of their current unemployed state. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Looking for a job is a full-time job. A friend and mentor passed this wisdom on to me. His own job search, as a highly paid executive, was one of furious activity on a daily basis.

The type of job search I cover will provide you with hope and a feeling of control. More importantly, however, it has a far better chance of providing you with a better, more rewarding job in a shorter period of time.

Activity that is directed to a clear objective has an amazing side effect. It provides self-feeding energy. It's the type of energy that keeps you eagerly pursuing your job search. This same energy flows into your interviews, contacts, and correspondence.

Take my word for it. If you have pursued your job search in the typical approach, the passive technique described at the beginning of this section, this more active method should be a breath of fresh air.

Again, looking for work is a full-time job. Look back on how you've been performing during your job search. If looking for work was your job description, how would you rank your effort and performance? Are you showing up at work at 8:30 a.m. and ending the day by 9:00 a.m., after reviewing the current job offerings? Would you be able to hold any job working half an hour per day? I doubt it.

You need to plan your job search activities in the same fashion you would your job. If you are normally an early riser, showered and ready by 7:00 a.m., keep that routine. Be prepared to conduct your job, as a job seeker, with a regular starting time.

The dilemma is similar to that of the home-based worker. I have worked primarily from my home for several years. My day starts early. I shower and shave every working day, even when my day will be spent in my home office at my home computer. It helps me mentally "arrive" at work.

As a job seeker, you need to have the same type of discipline. In fact, the amount of success you have in your job search relates directly to your discipline in this area.

In addition, a disciplined routine gets you past the humdrum and tedious days in which your activity is not directly rewarded. Although the method I outline here provides more opportunity than a passive search, it still requires time and effort to get started.

If you land the "right" job at the first place you approach, good for you. You've lucked out, and I am not one to shun good fortune. But for most, time and effort are expended without a direct reward or response. Your discipline and routine are the simplest way to stay on track with your job search.

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