9 Lives for Women Blog

Make Your Job Search A Business, Not A Hobby | April 2nd, 2013

I’ve heard too many sad stories of recent college graduates who are pining away the hours in their childhood bedrooms, dreaming of a new life they just can’t seem to grab. Their parents say things like “bad economy”, “no jobs out there”, “been searching for over a year”, “sends out resumes with no response”, “never gets an interview” with sighs of exasperation, which I only half listen to because I am too busy trying to find my violin.

And soon even more young people will be on the hunt. It’s getting close to graduation time when thousands of job search newbies will start life after college. For most, the objective will be to find paid work–and if you are in this category, know that finding a job is a full-time job.

A job search needs as much time, undivided attention, commitment, tenacity and organization as writing a thesis, preparing senior projects or studying for final exams. In school you may feel pushed along by your professors, your fear of not graduating or your wish for a great GPA, but no one is grading you on your ability to find a job. You have to put the pressure on yourself–and only you know if you are running a buttoned-up, sense of urgency job search business or just dabbling with a hobby called “the someday job”.

When I do meet young people who are pulling out all the stops and conducting an A+ job search, I extend genuine sympathy, encouragement (and a few more tips!) when they tell me they haven’t yet found a job. But I meet so few who fit this profile. The rest would benefit greatly from a strong dose of Dana Manciagli’s tell-it-like-it-is, no nonsense web site, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job”.  Her practical web site makes me laugh and cheer at the same time–and I encourage all newbie job seekers to read her blog post below.  —KAS


Is finding a new position truly important to you? Are you unemployed and need to find a job?  Are you a college graduate with huge loans?   There are hundreds of scenarios that make this job search effort THE most important project of your life. But how come you are treating it as a hobby?

Why do you dabble in your search with a few hours here and there, sending off resume after resume to anything that looks “do-able”? STOP.  Stop the insanity. Soon my new book, Cut the Crap, Get a Job will be available, but allow me to provide some recommendations now.  After 30+ years in executive sales and marketing positions in Fortune 500 companies while interviewing, hiring and helping thousands of job-seekers, I have developed a new job search process for this new era.


  1. Rule #1:  Block as many hours as possible in your calendar.   Be much more disciplined about finding a place you can concentrate, accomplish certain tasks, and set more tasks for yourself going forward.  Every day when you wake up, you should have a healthy list of next steps that is building in volume. Get up early every day and get to work!
  2. Rule #2:  Prepare Your Tools.   Just as in any job, you need to be organized to document your business objective, track your progress, follow up on prior tasks and be ready to juggle a dozen things at the same time.  Set up files to track your tasks and results in Microsoft Excel, OneNote or Word.  My favorite is Microsoft OneNote. Have personal networking business cards made up to hand out at events.
  3. Rule #3:  Set Goals for your Search
    • Make 100 new contacts per month by making cold calls, sending e-mails or even showing up at a company’s door.
    • Research companies you want to work for and write customized cover letters focused on what you could do for a company as a future employee.
    • Network aggressively: Look for connections in companies or with people you want to work with. Use the people search function on LinkedIn to help with this.  Attend local networking events.
    • Focus only 10% of your job search on communication with recruiters.  They are valuable…for their employer clients, not necessarily you.   So they need to be aware of you, but they are only as good as the searches on their desk.
    • Think about volume.  It IS a numbers game.  You need to build a pipeline of prospects, opportunities, companies and even geographies that you will  pursue.  If you think you have a pipeline today, double it.  I recommend at least 20 active positions at one time.

Even though the job market is undeniably tough, there are more positions available than many people think. But job seekers will have to be smart and disciplined to find them. Make Your Job Search Job #1.

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