Investing in Your Job Search for Success

I have heard literally hundreds of college students talk about how they are going to "coast" in their final year right up to graduation. Your class load may be down, your workload may be lower, and in general, you are finally ready to start living the good life.

Have you forgotten something? If you don't have a job yet, your number one priority should be finding that job. Yet many students end up spending their final year hitting all the parties, developing a flourishing romance, or just taking it easy. And then they talk about how they were too busy to look for a job when they come up empty at graduation.

Sorry to crash your party, but until you have landed a job, you still have work to do. In fact, more work than you likely have done to this point. If you want to be a success in your career, you have to be prepared to make an investment—now!

Investment #1: Time

First of all, you need to invest your time. You should plan on dedicating a minimum of five hours and sometimes as many as fifteen to twenty hours per week to your job search. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but get ready—there is even more. You should also plan to use your fall, winter, and spring breaks for full-time job searching. Your breaks are nonrefundable time that should be banked directly to your job search account. I realize I may be stepping on a lot of Florida-party-animal toes by recommending job search over Daytona, but this is the time for a reality check. One week in the sun could end up burning you badly at graduation. And don't make the excuse that you cannot possibly fit anything else into your "crowded schedule." If you are taking more classes than you need to, drop them. If you are attending more social engagements than you need to, avoid them. Stop volunteering for everything that comes along. You only have a limited number of minutes and hours in each day, so make sure you spend your time productively. Make time on your schedule now or you may end up with an overabundance of available time after graduation.

Investment #2: Money

Secondly, you will need to invest your financial resources (or somebody else's if you are truly penniless). Conducting a successful job search requires money. Whether it is developing your job search materials, making phone calls, purchasing a couple of interview outfits, or making weekend and semester break trips, they all cost money. No money left? Used it all up? This is a good time to tap into the parent bank. "Mom and Dad, you have helped me get this far, I would hate to see it all wasted for lack of a few hundred bucks more." Whatever you do, do not shortchange your career due to a simple lack of funds. Remember, your future credit is good, assuming you use the money wisely toward your job search and securing a good job. Besides, Mom and Dad will spend a whole lot more money if you are unsuccessful in your job search because you will probably end up moving back home, a conclusion that all concerned would like to avoid. It's time to move on with your new life.

Investment #3: Energy

Finally, you will need to invest your energy. There is no way to cram the night before, walk in bleary-eyed, and ace your "job search final." You have to be ready at all times to put forth your very best effort. That means you have to be focused on your job search as your top priority. What has your focus been for the last several years? Has your focus been social? Let it chill for now. You will have zero social budget if you end up in the ranks of the unemployed. Has your focus been athletics? Now is the time to pass the torch. Has your focus been volunteer or club activities? Give the underclassmen the opportunity to serve. In summary, don't be afraid to say "No." Don't be afraid to say, "I have some work that I need to get done." Make your job search your number one priority in your life and devote yourself to it.

As a side benefit, if you devote yourself totally to your job search and secure a great job early, you can then go back to your other diversions. In fact, securing a job early is the very best thing that can happen to you in both your professional and personal life.

Procrastination: The Enemy of Job Search Time Management

After reviewing our Job Search Timetable, you might feel somewhat overwhelmed, especially if you are already in your final year having done little in the way of job search preparation. It can be very easy to get caught in the daily procrastination of the Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome—"I'll think about it tomorrow."

Every day that passes is a day that could have been (and should have been) invested in your job search. While there is nothing you can do now about yesterday, and tomorrow is always one day into the future, you have full control over today.

Job search requires a series of small steps to keep things moving forward. Don't get stuck in the rut of thinking you have to solve it all at once. Just take it one step at a time.

Don't put off your job search until the last minute. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become. Take control of your life right now and begin to do the preparation for your job search.

Don't get caught in "analysis paralysis." You will never find perfection in your job search, so make your start when you are ready to give it your best. Your best is the best that you have to offer. No one (including yourself) should ever expect anything more from you. Nor should you settle for anything less.

This website is your starting point. Begin putting the techniques and tactics you find here into action in your life.