How Much Time Should You Spend Job Searching?

Over at AskAManager, former hiring manager Allison Green takes on the job search cliché that “looking for a job is a full-time job.” Taken literally, this means you should be putting 40 hours a week into seeking out and applying for positions. Allison takes the stance that this is absurd, and you should focus on quality over quantity— and I wholeheartedly agree.

Anyone who spends eight hours a day trolling job boards, writing and re-writing resumes and cover letters, agonizing over the application system, and calling companies and recruiters to follow up is wasting way too much time. You should be spending three hours a day—at most—on surfing career sites and applying for positions.

However, there are things you can do to fill the rest of your unemployed time that are beneficial to your career. Here are a few:

  • Volunteer. Even if it’s unrelated to your career, you never know who you’ll meet.
  • Set up lunches and coffee breaks. Reconnect with old colleagues, friends, networking connections, or whomever.
  • Seek out and join professional organizations. This will serve you well into the future, even after you find a job.
  • Tackle some big projects you’ve been delaying. Whether it’s organizing your closet or building a personal website, it will take your mind off the job search.
  • Take on freelance projects. Not only will these bring in some money and establish your network, but they can also be helpful resume boosters.

Whatever you choose to fill your time with, just make sure you’re sticking to a somewhat structured schedule and not wallowing in self-pity. You’ll lose your sanity, and desperation is not a good look for any job seeker!

This post was previously published on WetFeet.com and has been re-posted with permission.  Our mission is to equip job seekers with the advice, research, and inspiration to plan and achieve a successful career. For more information, visit WetFeet.com.

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