Looking for work when you’re employed isn’t easy. But at least you have the security blanket of your current job. However looking for work when you’re the CEO of your couch is another matter entirely.
The job search process ranks right up there with going to the dentist, paying taxes or sitting through the new Transformers movie. All are tedious and perhaps even painful. So the allure of the couch is quite understandable. Who wouldn’t pick the comfy confines of a couch versus indecipherable dialogue punctuated by periodic sounds of machines (I am talking about a trip to the dentist of course).
However unless you can predict the winning lotto numbers, odds are good that you’ll have to resign from the couch at some point. Here then are some tips to help you give that two week notice.
First you still need to treat weekdays as workdays. Resist the urge to binge watch Season 1 of the Blacklist and all those other series you never had time for when you were working. Fight the urge to create 50 new boards on Pinterest. Just say no to one more game of Call of Duty. The simplest way to keep on track is to ask: “would I do that, if I had to work tomorrow?” If the answer is no, then don’t do it. Get your rest. Keep your sleep cycle regular. The idea here is to make sure that when you do find work, that your new co-workers don’t think they’re watching Season 1 of the Walking Dead.
Next you need to track your activity. Create a job search journal. Track the companies you send your resume to. Scribble down leads that you get from networking. Make to do lists and then check those items off when you’ve completed them. Do this every day. What is easy to forget when you’re working is the sense of accomplishment you get at the end of each work day. You need to replicate this during your job search process.
The third step is to get business cards made. From your local FedEx Kinko’s to on-line sites like Vistaprint there are deals to be had a plenty. Get the best quality cards that you can afford. And take advantage of newer technology like using a QR code and linking your resume to it. With that QR code on your card, you will always have your resume with you. Given that most folks have smartphones these days; your resume then is just a scan away.
These next two items may not be obvious to those folks who haven’t looked for work in a while. The first is to make sure that you gather all the information you need to complete an application. Yes, companies still make you complete an application. So things you haven’t thought about potentially in years, take the time to dig them up before you apply.
When you did start there? Who was your manager? What was their title? And you should also jot down the street address of the company. And if you worked there through an agency, you need use their information when you are asked to cite your employer. So while you may have worked at Abbott Labs, the company that paid you is the employer you put on the application.
The thing to keep in mind when completing an application is that it is a legal document. If you read the fine print above where you sign it (either virtually or in person), there will be language there that says “I certify the above information to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge.” So take your time and do it right.
Related to the application is the background check. While most background check processes don’t require much intervention from the job seeker, you may be asked to provide documentation that supports what you stated on the application and on your background authorization form. Make sure that you have ready access to things like your degree, even if it was conferred a long time ago.
Today most offers of employment, whether they are for regular full-time roles or even temporary positions, are contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. The best way to prepare for one is that while you are compiling the data to complete an application, look for the corresponding documentation that supports that entry. So a W2 for example can be used to verify employment.
To this point all the tips that have been given, you could in fact do from the comfort of your couch. From researching all the data you need to complete an application and a background to creating a journal to keeping a schedule, you can do all of those things without ever leaving that overstuffed wonderland. However at the risk of becoming Jabba the Hutt, you need to leave the couch.
For those that know me in real life, the thought that I would even advocate exercise I am sure is blowing their minds. To those folks, I say, I am in shape … round is a shape! But I digress.
In all seriousness, keeping physically active has many benefits while you’re looking for work. It can help with your attitude. A simple walk around the park can help you re-focus. A good work out can also alleviate stress. And if you’re thinking ahead, keeping fit also means that your old work clothes will still fit you when you start that new job.
And last but not least you need to remember one more thing about the job search. You need to have fun. What? Blasphemy! How can someone have fun on a job search? Along with physical activity, finding moments of levity, can do wonders for your attitude. You need to give yourself permission to do something other than look for work 24/7.
Whether it is having lunch with a former co-worker (they’re paying of course) or engaging in one of your hobbies like photography or perhaps you have a grander ambition like hosting a boutique. Whatever you do, remember employers hire more than just skills, they hire attitude.