The unemployed job hunt is one of the most emotionally draining experiences many of us have ever undertaken.
The amount of effort required is exhausting, and the pressure from our families and friends is nearly debilitating. Bills continue to pile up constantly reminding us that another day without an interview is another failure.
I used to scour job boards looking for work I was qualified for. I’d run those boards dry and apply for as many jobs as I could. I was desperate! I needed to feel in control of my life but when the last application went out it wasn’t a satisfying accomplishment. I was out of options, once again not in control of my life.
The following days were even worse. Only one or two opportunities would trickle in over the course of the next week.
Once the well dried up, the waiting game was so hard.
Does this sound familiar?
This approach is common but it didn’t take me long to realize there is a better way! Finding work doesn’t have to feel like this. It can be rewarding, empowering, and leave you guilt-free to relax after a hard day’s job hunt.
Here’s how a new strategy worked for me and how it can work for you too.
The 30 Day Job Hunt Method
When you’re unemployed, finding work becomes your full-time job. Your bills don’t take weekends off so neither do you. As I mentioned, using job boards is a depressing way to watch your sense of control over your life evaporate so we’re not going to use them much. Instead, we’ll be selling you directly to business owners. If they’re smart they’ll smell an opportunity to grow their business and make room for you.
Start working on the most important part of the 30-day method - The List. Make a list of all the businesses you want to work at. You can add businesses from job boards to your list, but don’t limit yourself to just businesses with active job postings. Spend some time researching the industry in your region and write down the players.
Next, you need to pick a number of applications you can realistically send out every day. Depending on what’s going on in your life a realistic number might be as low as 1 or as high as 6. Keep in mind that every application is very likely to require 1 to 3 hours of work each.
If you don’t know where to start, try 4 applications per day. Budget your time appropriately. I’m a firm believer that the average person only has about 4-6 hours of productivity at the ready every day.
Today, fill your list. Tomorrow, send out 4 applications.
Ensure your list never shrinks small enough that you need to search for businesses before sending out applications. Re-fill your list with enough businesses to hit your outgoing application quota for the next day or two at the end of each day.
That’s it! When you complete 4 outgoing applications you’re done. Fill your list for tomorrow if needed and then go take a break. Watch a movie, take a walk, play some X-Box guilt free. You accomplished your goal, you’re done for the day, and you should feel proud!
4 outgoing applications per day is 120 applications by day 30. I’ve used this method to find work 4 times at major crossroads in my life and every time I’ve had a job offer by the end of week 3.
I prepared for weeks using this method as my college graduation approached and it paid off. I was the first of my graduating class to get a job and after classes ended I started the very next day.
Your Secret Weapons
Persistence is a powerful ally that this strategy relies on but without your job finding tools in top form it won’t be easy to get your foot in the door.
In The Job-Finding Toolkit I discuss the role of your resume and cover letter to sell yourself as a high-value investment.