You (hopefully) know a lot of what to do when you and your last job have parted ways. Network, volunteer, join groups, do a targeted search, blah blah blah. Here are some things NOT to do when you’re not working:
- Stay in bed (alone) until 2:00 p.m. If you’re not alone, then by all means go for it. Well, maybe not every day. You wouldn’t have enough energy left to do a job search. But staying in bed half the day alone is kinda like drinking alone – it’s more depressing and dysfunctional than fun. You don’t have to get up at six a.m. if you’re not a morning person and you don’t have any early appointments that day, but before 10:00 is probably a good idea (can you guess I’m not a morning person??).
- Watch TV in the middle of the day. It may be tempting to catch up on Jerry Springer and see whose life sucks more than yours, but that’s not a habit you want to get into.
- Spend hours looking at online job boards and applying for listed job openings. Yes, it’s easy (well, relatively speaking). Yes, it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something when you actually apply for jobs that are listed. But you know where that usually gets you, don’t you? That’s right, you’ll be sucked into the Job Seeker Vortex of the Apocalypse. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- Eat all day. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.
- Spend a lot of time rearranging your underwear drawer. You may think, “Oh good, now I have time to do all the pesky household stuff I never have time for.” By all means, clean the house and use the opportunity to catch up on some of that other stuff, but don’t use it to avoid job search activities. If you’re spending more time alphabetizing your toiletries than doing job search stuff, you’re in trouble.
- Staying up late every night. This goes along with the first one, of course, cuz if you’re out drinking or just up watching Nick at Nite, it’ll be hard to get up at a reasonable time. I fell into this trap when I wasn’t working – at one point, I was going to bed at 3 a.m. and getting up at 1:00 in the afternoon. Needless to say, I didn’t get a hell of a lot done.
- Spend most of your time hanging out with friends. I don’t mean you shouldn’t see your friends, because they’re very important. But don’t go to a Hitchcock film in the middle of the day with your buddy and call it networking.
- Spend hours on one cover letter. Maybe the first one for a particular type of job may take longer, and you always want to target your cover letters and take time to make them as likely as possible to elicit responses (and of course proofread!), but there is such a thing as going overboard. Mildly obsessive is okay, pathological is not.
- Spend hours every day fooling around with your resume. Yes, it’s important to tailor it to the job you’re targeting, and it always is a work in progress to a certain point, but again you can take it too far. Don’t pick at it like a scab ’til it bleeds all over your laptop.
- Go to one networking group event after another that has absolutely nothing to do with you. I must have said this before, but I’ll say it again – although networking is the most important way to spend your job-search time, and it’s good to open up to new interests, it doesn’t pay to compulsively and gratuitously attend events on topics you could care less about. If you’re into God, guns and ammo, don’t join the Society For Atheist Tree-Huggers.