The Case for Kicking Back During a Job Search

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Sunset at Monastery Beach, Carmel, California, USA.
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Job seekers, everyone's flogging you to work harder, faster, now! And perhaps that's wise but you just might want to take a little break this summer, even if it's just a long weekend. Reasons:

  • You might appear less desperate when you return. Employers can smell desperation and while in an ideal world, that would make them sympathetic to your plight, usually it results in a rejection.
  • You'll be more relaxed in the informal settings in which many jobs are found. Don't you know of someone who got a job after meeting someone at a party, in a volunteer group, etc?

Such serendipity is particularly likely if you put yourself in places where good things are more likely to happen.

For example, throw a party liberally laced with well-connected people. If you can afford it, take a cruise on a ship that attracts well-off people. No need for highest-end cruise. Moderately priced ones such as Princess or Celebrity often have 2,000 people on board. An inexpensive cabin for a 4-day cruise is often just $400 and buys you days of access to a well-heeled horde, enough time to build enough of a relationship that they're willing to give you a lead or even a job. Reasons:

  • Simply because it's fun. Just because you need a job doesn't mean you don't deserve a bit of down time, guilt-free.

When it's time to get back to your job search, here are a few ways to build momentum, get a small win. From small acorns, great oaks grow:

  • Staying at home tends to make you more inert. An object in motion stays in motion. So if you haven't had much luck finding your target job, volunteer, tutor, help a friend, whatever. Paradoxically, the busier you are, the more likely you'll want to find time to look for a good job and the more confident you'll be.
  • Add launchpad jobs to your job targets. Even if a job is much lower-level than your previous one, getting back in the game can boost your confidence. I had a client who quit her job as a chemist at Safeway and then got back in the game by taking a job as a Starbucks barista. That gave her the confidence to seek (and find) higher level work.
  • As the Bible says, "The truth shall set you free." Instead of a sterile, perhaps hypey pitch, resume and cover letter, tell your true, human story. Most job seekers don't have a perfect career trajectory. Tell your tale, yes highlighting your beauty marks but also mentioning a wart or two. The wrong employers will reject you; a right one will say "You're hired!"
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