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The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously

January 29th, 2009

I was listening to a teleseminar recently with Jack Chapman (salary negotiations expert) and Orville Pierson (of Lee Hecht Harrison), both legendary thought leaders in the job search space.

Orville asked the listeners, all career coaches, resume writers, career counselors and related professionals, what the average amount of time a job seeker spends on a job search per week.

I responded that I spent 60 hours a week in my job search, and Oville said, “no, I don’t want to know what Jason Alba spent, I want to know what the average job seeker spends in a job search.

He finally responded with an answer supported by some study:

The average job seeker spends 10 hours a week in a job search.

10 hours a week.

WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY DOING???

(this question is not strong enough, but the words I wanted to use instead of HECK will surely get me some emails today, so I try to keep it family-friendly here)

Are they trying to have a Tim Ferriss 4-hour work week job search?  What are they smoking???

If you are in a job search you should be spending 10 hours a week just in lunches and “coffees!”

I know it’s discouraging, and hard, and you have to be creative, but seriously, if you aren’t spending at least 40 hours a week in a job search then you are dillusional.  Or you don’t have bills to pay and you don’t have a sense of urgency.

I was at my laptop by 6am.  I could not sleep peacefully as an umemployed father of 4 (and a half).  I was anxious to get up and see what was in my inbox (usually nothing), and worked until around 6pm when I made myself pretend I was a competent dad and husband, and do some family stuff.  Then, back up at 6 again the next morning.

Saturdays was probabaly a half-day, but it was a day I was on the computer.

I confess I did all the wrong things in a job search, because I was too smart to get help.  So I did a lot of wheel spinning.  But I know stuff now (I think), and if I were to do it now, I’d probably spend my time doing some of the following:

  • Lunches and/or breakfasts and/or “coffees” every single day.  (10 hours a week)
  • Network meetings – weekly there were 3 or 4 for professionals in transition, and others for working professionals that I could have gone to. (10 hours a week)
  • Computer time – crafting cover letters and tweaking resumes for different job postings, checking emails, responding to emails, etc. (5 hours a week)
  • LinkedIn Strategy – searching for contacts and target companies, reaching out to them on or outside of LinkedIn (5 hours a week)
  • Calling people, and networking my way into target companies – This is time consuming, and takes guts to pick up the phone (even if it’s to contacts you know) – but more effective than combing the job boards all day. (10 hours a week)
  • Learning.  Make sure what you are doing is principle-based – my job search wasn’t, and that’s why I was spinning wheels.  Read the Career Hub and blogs from real coaches and resume writers who are in the thick of it with their clients. (5 hours a week)

There’s 45 hours right there. There are many other activities you can do – I guarantee it.  If you think you can have a 10-hour-a-week job search, go for it. And for the other 30 hours a week, figure out 3 more 10-hour-a-week job search strategies and implement those.

I can’t believe people can justify a 10 hour a week job search, can you?

One thing to do is work on your personal brand.  This is a long-term, career-management strategy.  If you want a quick glimpse into current personal branding ideas, check out the Personal Branding Magazine – for just $12.95 a year you get 4 an annual subscription (4 issues), which includes articles and interviews on personal branding.  More info here.
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40 Responses to “The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously”

  1. Dennis Smith says:

    There’s a name for the person who spends 10 hours a week searching for a new job: UNEMPLOYED.

    Nice post, Jason!

  2. I agree with Dennis definitely unemployed. And probably whining about why they can’t find a job.
    10 hours that is unreal.

  3. Dan Blank says:

    Well said Dennis!

  4. Nancy B says:

    Even the local unemployment office says you need at least 6 contacts a day to find a job before your unemployment runs out… he must mean searching for position(next) while employed!

  5. Those are probably the same people who were attempting the 4 hour work week. Jason, I think your breakdown is very accurate if you’re being aggressive about your search. In the end, I guess its just less competition for those who are being aggressive.

  6. Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

    Thank you for writing this article. I’m a Career Specialist at Kaplan University and I just mentioned in a virtual career seminar that I teach that unemployed people should be spending 8 hours per day on a job search. If the person is employed, then 4 – 6 hours per day. But your post breaks down how this should look.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Kirsten Grant
    Twitter: kgrantcareers

  7. Jason Alba says:

    @Dennis – ROFL !

    @NancyB – great point, and someone pointed that out on Twitter, that maybe the 10 hour a week search was from people who were currently working.

    I assumed (I know, I know) that the study was done on unemployed people…. if it is someone who’s working and isn’t feeling the pinch that’s different… so my post/rant is for the unemployed professional who should be spending time on the job search seriously.

  8. abby says:

    did those 45-60 hours a week get you a job, Jason? if i recall your bio correctly and by your admission above, you spent a lot of that time wastefully and only to NOT get a job, but to start your own business.

    is anyone who is commenting above someone who spent 45-60 hours a week job hunting and successfully landed the gig of their dreams? or are you all employment counselors/career coaches?

    was there a purpose for this post OTHER than to make already frustrated job hunters feel worse? “You’re delusional!” “You’re unproductive & inefficient!” “you’ll never get a job like this!” it’s so easy to be flip when you’re trying to be motivating, and so so much harder to remember that people who are looking for a job are people too. apparently people not as awesome as you, Jason, but people nonetheless. you could have easily made this a more motivational post by laying off the judgment, providing statistics and suggestions for how to spend the time, and suggesting people to log how they are spending their time and to evaluate whether they thought it was enough to reach their goals.

    let’s hear from people who actually are clocking in the 45-60 hours Jason recommends. how’s it going? how many interviews are you getting weekly? offers? do you think the amount of time you’re spending is efficient and effective? suggestions for people who are only spending 10 hours (more specifically than “spend more”)?

  9. Jason Alba says:

    @Abby – whoa, I guess I hit a sore spot, huh?

    >> did those 45-60 hours a week get you a job, Jason? if i recall your bio correctly and by your admission above, you spent a lot of that time wastefully and only to NOT get a job, but to start your own business.

    You are right that my 45 – 60 hours a week did not get me a job. I spent most of that time doing the wrong things (mostly on job boards, and definitely neglecting the networking aspect of it).

    However, I will say that what I’m talking about was NOT to start my own business. I did work a little on ideas of multiple income streams, but that was after weeks of getting nowhere in my job search.

    This post is not about tactics, and certainly don’t do what I did tactically, rather, I can’t imagine someone only spending 10 hours a week on a serious job search (unless they have other circumstances, like they are working full time, etc.)

    >> is anyone who is commenting above someone who spent 45-60 hours a week job hunting and successfully landed the gig of their dreams? or are you all employment counselors/career coaches?

    I can’t answer for others, but I’m wondering if they are employment counselors or career coaches does that disqualify them and what they write? Just curious who you think can actually weigh in on this topic.

    >> was there a purpose for this post OTHER than to make already frustrated job hunters feel worse?

    Sorry if you read it this way Abby. I’m a blogger, just like you, and we talk about what’s on our mind. This quote from the teleseminar blew me away and I couldn’t believe that the AVERAGE said they spent 10 hours on their job search. I’ve been thinking about this since the teleseminar then, wondering how people could do that.

    >> it’s so easy to be flip when you’re trying to be motivating, and so so much harder to remember that people who are looking for a job are people too.

    Um, wow. Read the rest of my blog Abby. I’m flip when I get mad at the process, and the reality of the job search, but I hardly disregard the thought that my blog readers OR my JibberJobber users are not people with feelings.

    Again, I cannot be responsible for you reading this post and getting offended.

    >> apparently people not as awesome as you, Jason, but people nonetheless.

    Gimme a break. I admitted that I was spinning my wheels, and that I did not do the right things in my job search. The point of this post is that a job seeker who spends 10 hours a week in a job search is either not in a serious job search, or not being realistic. Disagree? This is not about whether Jason Alba is awesome and everyone else sucks.

    >> you could have easily made this a more motivational post by laying off the judgment,

    no comment – I’ve seen your blog posts and your tweets. Anyone who blogs or tweets has judgments = is judgmental. I’m not the New York Times here, seriously.

    >> providing statistics and suggestions for how to spend the time,

    This is a blog post, not a professional article, white paper, or book. I’m not going to take the time to go find regurgitated stats on what people should be doing. This isn’t PhD thesis. It’s a quick read, meant to be thought provoking and stimulate discussion. Not helpful for you, but perhaps someone who is working 10 hours wondering why they aren’t getting anywhere in a job search would get value out of this notion.

    >> and suggesting people to log how they are spending their time and to evaluate whether they thought it was enough to reach their goals.

    Good suggestion. Maybe you can write a blog post about it. Or maybe writing a comment that suggest that would add to this conversation.

    >> let’s hear from people who actually are clocking in the 45-60 hours Jason recommends. how’s it going? …

    I’d love to hear from the people who are clocking either 40 hours, or 10 hours. Who knows what they’ll have to say. Where are they? What about you?

    Finally, I saw your tweet:

    >> decides that ppl who write “how to” do something they haven’t successfully done & then are judgmental about how others do it are not helpful

    I seriously think you read way to much into this post.

    Thanks for leaving such a “flip” comment.

  10. @abby, it seems pretty much common sense to me that if you spend 40 hours on something, you’ll get more results than if you only spend 10.

    If spend 40 hours building a wall, I will have more done than someone who only spent 10 hours, unless he or she has some supersonic, amazing wall-building technique I don’t know about ;-)

    If you’re working, 10 might be all you have to spare … although I’d argue it’s still very low if you expect results. There are 48 spare hours just in the weekend, after all. But if you’re unemployed, 10 hours is ridiculously low. It’s so low that I tend to doubt the survey.

  11. Lauren says:

    Lately I have been hearing a lot of people complaining about their jobs. It’s interesting to me that they are doing this since there are so many who are LOOKING for jobs and not finding them. It makes me ask, “Why not create your own job?” Some of the comments here have made interesting points about your starting your own company while fruitlessly searching for a job, Jason. I would say that perhaps the people who are spinning their wheels should consider doing something similar–they should use their talents to craft their own future rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them.

    I am thankful to be employed right now with a company that is just fine; however, I would LOVE to strike out on my own and do something I actually love. I see this time as an opportunity–not a burden. Granted, I do not have a large family to support, and I’m sure that would change my perspective somewhat, but I still stand behind my idea that folks should start considering what they love to do and try to make a career out of that.

  12. Hello Again,

    I see no harm in your post because it’s the cold and brutal truth. If you are unemployed, every waking hour of you day should be spent job searching. I think your break down was dead on & is exactly what the competition is doing. Im an employed job seeking and my hours at work are consumed by job hunting [and work too ;-) ]. My hours at home consumed by job hunting. My weekends are consumed by job hunting. I don’t think an unemployed person, especially, should even try to entertain themselves too much if at all until they find a job. Thats just the reality because one slip and someone else had the job because they worked a little harder for it. Great post as usual!

  13. Cindy Kraft says:

    Great post, as usual, Jason. When you are unemployed, looking for a job is definitely a full-time job not a part-time job. Because it is so challenging, so exhausting, and filled with rejection and frustration, I believe it is important to create an action plan and then execute your plan … allowing for down time to recharge and refresh and re-energize yourself for the next day.

    I would have been interested in knowing of the average 10 hours spent on job searching, how much of that was spent in front of a computer looking at posted positions. If that answer is “most” or heaven forbid “all,” it will result in a very long search time … and I say that as a career & personal brand strategist who works solely with financial executives.

    Cindy Kraft
    the CFO-Coach

  14. Anthony says:

    I am not sure why people don’t get this concept. Unless you are financially free, you always have a 40 hour per week job (ok, well some might have 32). Either you are working for an employer, or working to find an employer who wants to pay you more than the unemployment office for your 40 hours. Sure you can work less for the unemployment office and increase your effective hourly rate, but it decreases the likelihood of find that buyer (new employer) or your services for a much higher rate.

  15. David Sandusky says:

    In my experience (every day since 1997-thousands interviews-clients, candidates, business owners) working with people in effectively marketing themselves to me and everyone else, I would tag the average job search for the person who is well networked (adding value to a growing network when times are good) and self aware (innovating career and surrounded by smart and deliberate people) at about 10 hours per week.

    A full time and integrated life when gainfully employed includes taking care of yourself and family – exercise for mind and body. Know this:
    Why you?
    What you do for them?
    “So What”
    and how

    Know your competition and trends while staying in touch.

    When you find yourself on the market, you are not as surprised as the majority. Things do happen to even he most prepared and branded. However, a month or two later and avg. 40 yours on actual job search activity, a deal is done. Trust me.

    When a person is not prepared – time getting prepared, upgraded, connected and learning the answer to the four questions above looks more like 40 hours many weeks and the time to close looks more like six to eight months.

    The question for next time you are on the market is do you want to spend 10 hours or 40?

  16. Eric Kramer says:

    In my experience people spend so little time because the most productive strategy in job search, networking, is the most difficult. Reaching out to others for help when in a vulnerable situation (unemployed) is very challenging for many people.

    The most typical pattern is a person gets laid off and they connect with their “warm” contacts quickly and have a flurry of activity. Once they have depleted their warm contacts and the second level contacts they were referred to, they run out of momentum and have to go to more difficult activities like networking meetings or “cold” calls. This is where the process stalls for many and they begin to spend their time cruising the www (worldwide waste of time) hoping a job pops up on a job board.

    Online networking has made this process far easier however once all the electrons have flowed people still need to connect in-vivo with other people. As a career coach and psychologist I try to remain sensitive to the fears while encouraging people to take risks. As we wonder why people spend so little time in job search, we need to consider why we spend so little time doing the things we need to do like exercise, meditating, eating right, and spending time nurturing our important relationships.

  17. Robert says:

    Ten hours/week is only like two half-days. If you’re not working at all you should put the 40/week into getting a new job

  18. Re: “was there a purpose for this post OTHER than to make already frustrated job hunters feel worse”…

    Yes, there’s a purpose: it’s a reality check. If people are spending only 10 hours a week on their job search, they don’t feel nearly bad enough. They’re not taking it seriously. How you conduct your job search probably shows how you’d conduct yourself on the job. Halfhearted effort doesn’t cut it. Put another way: most people spend more than 10 hours a week watching television. Your career–your future–deserves to be a higher priority.

    Feel worse? Good. Take action and change that.

    Best,

    Robert

  19. JG says:

    You were right on the money today!!! It frustrates me to no end when I have friends and family complaining about not finding a job,and I know good and well all they are doing is emailing resumes to job postings thinking that is good enough.

    Do you know how hard it is not to walk up to them and say wake up you have kids and a wife in school or your parents who are retired and on a fixed income and really can’t afford to subsidize your housing and food because waiting tables is beneath you…

    Bottom Line… 10 hours a week does not cut it any more.

  20. Scot Herrick says:

    If one assumes unemployed, there should be many hours spent. Ten hours does not necessarily surprise me as the average time spent looking for a job. The “judgment” part — that people are not feeling enough pain or are not working hard enough to find a job — could be true. But, it is also true that people don’t know what they don’t know. And I think many people honestly don’t know how to find a job in today’s environment. Especially if they have not had to look for a long time as is the case with many people in this ugly recession.

    They think job boards are the way to go, think spending money having coffee with someone is not time well spent and networking is handing out business cards at some stupid meeting. Ten hours on job boards a week, if that is what you think you should do to find a new job, is about right. Not successful, but about right.

    I, too, when laid off in 2001, spun a lot of wheels doing what Jason did then, including the hours. And then I stopped going crazy looking for a job when 9/11 happened. I just stopped looking until the first of the next year. So stopping and getting some perspective is also a good thing, especially if you have savings and just got laid off.

    When I started looking again, it was the networking — of course — that was the opportunity. A person who I had spoken with six months before recommended me for a job I had not seen to a hiring manager I had never met in a company that I was not familiar with. It was the start of a great run with a company. Doing a job search all over again would now focus 80% on the network and conversations with about 20% on boards. That is the way the world works today, but many people don’t know this.

    Before I’d say that people are nuts if they are only spending ten hours a week looking for a job, I’d have to ask them what they think finding a job as a process entails. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t know what we know — and assume everyone else knows. Even unemployment people tell you to treat finding a new job as a full-time job, but don’t tell you how to do that. It’s the “how” to do that which takes the time.

    Finding a job is tough after a layoff. One gets a bunker mentality and then people focus not on how many different people they know who could help, but instead focus on the social issues of talking to people asking about work. That’s hard. And a skill. If nothing else, this recession will teach a whole bunch of people the importance of building an independent network of people who they help and will help them.

    Good post, Jason. There are many perspectives on this and your point of view has brought out some good points on the subject. Which, exactly, is what articles here should do.

  21. Ari Herzog says:

    Amusing how you differentiate a 15-hour chunk into computer time, linkedin strategies, and learning. I lump them together.

    Then again, I also don’t have a resume so don’t worry about tweaking different versions. I use a combination of linkedin, visualcv, and other social tools to share with potential WHO’S who I am and what I do and how I can help.

  22. I couldn’t agree with you more that someone who is unemployed and looking needs to spend more than 10 hours a day on their search. Job boards don’t cut it – in person meetings and relationship building should increase a job seeker’s chances greatly. Scot has a good point though about how so many people have no idea how to go about finding a job and probably think spending 10 hours a week sending resumes to online job ads (if they can even fill up 10 hours a week with sending resumes) is exactly what they are supposed to be doing.

    Good post!

  23. Heather R says:

    I was probably closer to the 25 hrs/wk mark, struggling with getting out of my comfort zone into the hard core networking piece. I really like the list / break-down that adds up to the 45 hr estimate — it would have been an extremely helpful set of guidelines for me. I’m definitely passing on this blog-post to my (far too many) (former) coworkers at Sprint and Allstate who are impacted by the layoffs announced just this Friday, and have been busy sending them invites to join JibberJobber today.

  24. Kris Hoots says:

    I spent the first half of 2008 unemployed and doing all the wrong things. The emotional investment was the hardest part about committing the hours into the job search. I mean, come on…why couldn’t I find a job in just a few hours of looking per week…with my skill set and with my years of experience? And I was in a niche where I knew I could make a huge difference if someone would just take a chance on me. Turns out I was over qualified for most things and not interested in the others. That was unexpected and discouraging.

    Reality was that I was going to have to treat my job search like a job. And when that happened, everything changed. I began making the right connections and going down the right paths. And I learned about personal and business parallels no matter the industry.

    Now I tell all my friends about the jibberJobber blog — even if they’re not in a job search. Just relevant, practical, thought-provoking discussions as much about connecting with the right people as finding the right job.

  25. [...] The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously? – Jibber Jobber [...]

  26. Orville will also tell you that you have to talk with 25 hiring managers on average before you land a job (35 for higher level positions) and that you have to talk with 15 people on average to make contact with the hiring managers. Do the math and and if you’re only putting in 10 hours a week doing that it will be a very long job search.

  27. Rick Saia says:

    Nice, provocative post, Jason! Though this is not scientific by any means, the more effort you put into something, the more likely you’ll get what you want. Having said that, if you’re among the millions out there who are out of work now, and seeing your joblessness more in months than weeks, you also need to think about bringing in some money in case your unemployment comp runs out. That could very well cut into the 45 hours a week you advocate.

    But by all means, if you can stay focused for 45 hours a week in your job search efforts, you may not have to worry about the money part.

  28. [...] I wrote a post that offended someone (The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously). She commented, and I felt her comment was scathing, mean and inappropriate. I took it personally [...]

  29. Doug Blemker says:

    I rarely respond to blog posts mostly because many responders tend to echo my sentiments, but this post was different. I agree with Abby and with Jason. Is that conflicting? Possibly, but read on.

    I am a bit of an enigma with a varied skill set that doesn’t fit into the “package” that most HR professionals, recruiters and hiring managers enjoy “translating” for a new position. Because of that, I am constantly reorganizing my “brand” and my Googleability and working to connect to as many warm and cold contacts as possible. I went back to school in January 2006 and took time off as a full-time student in hopes that I would be effectively repositioned come the conferral of my dual-focused master’s degrees in public relations and journalism. In the twist of fate that was the economy, that didn’t happen and have been out of full-time work since May of last year. I had to move home and began teaching at a college level and soon found out that I was busier with a part-time teaching load that paid less than working at a coffee shop, which made it very difficult to job search.

    During my continuous search, I have elicited opinions, ideas and suggestions from friends, colleagues and career advisers. There has been many a day when I have felt like Abby. I don’t think any job seeker wants to spend less time on job searching than a 40-hour-plus career but it happens and here’s why:
    – Networking is great but in today’s world of higher workloads and less time on those you’re networking with, scheduling coffee time, lunch, etc., is very difficult and frustrating for both parties. Because I am the job seeker, my flexibility has to be open, which in turn causes my time management to be turned on its head. I’ve had full days scheduled and everyone has canceled and I’ve had empty days that have ended up being packed by the end. The job-seekers flexibility is both a benefit and a hindrance. I often don’t know what the day will become.
    – As a job seeker, I am inundated with suggestions from friends about my search. I have stopped talking to these friends until I find a job because I am often at a point where if one more person suggests “Have you signed up on Monster/CareerBuilder/etc?” trying to be helpful, it sends me into a bit of a tizzy.
    – As a job seeker with advanced degrees and varied experiences, I am always looking for ways to reposition my skills for the best possible position. Because of that, colleagues and career counselors are quick to offer professional opinions, many of which are conflicting. In fact, the comments I’ve received have been very blunt telling me that I shouldn’t have this there, or list this here or mention this there. Then I turn around and am told the exact opposite. Everyone looks for different things in the hiring process. I think professional career counselors and college career services departments do a wonderful job for some but cause frustration for others.
    – I have paid for career counseling only to be handed a packet of “resources” that were, in no way personalized to my situation. It appeared the counselor didn’t even look at my resume and experiences prior to the meeting. This brought my frustration level up.
    – Networking provides a great opportunity to meet people and connect to others and build on the community, however in order for it to work, the “contact” has to be willing. I have met with a few people that just don’t seem to be helpful. However, I have met with many that have provided some wonderful contacts and great conversations as well. I just want to help people understand why job seekers have feelings like Abby expressed earlier.
    – The grass is always greener when you have a job. Being unemployed is not motivating. As much as I have tried to stay motivated day after day after day, it takes a person with great self-esteem to go through an open job searching process. A recent episode of “How I met your mother” showed one of the characters over a period of time looking for a job – so positive at the beginning, motivated and ready to negotiate salary and benefits and being very excited about interviews. By the end of the episode his motivation was down, his esteem had deflated and his willingness to take what he was worth had diminished to “I’ll take anything.” I connected with that segment.
    – I also relocated upon my own to be able to “pound the pavement” more (as that was a continuous and constant suggestion). Well, I’m finding as warm contacts run out, the ability to find cold contacts (even with LinkedIn and other tools) is difficult. When hiring managers and HR departments, understandably inundated with requests, make themselves unreachable, it makes the personal contact much more difficult. I present myself in person much better than on paper, others are opposite. I had more phone calls and meetings when I didn’t live in the city I wanted to work than I do now.
    – I completely agree with Abby about the desire to really know someone that has been able to sustain hours and hours of searching and, in turn, get a great job. I want to talk to that person, learn their techniques, grow from their experiences. Unfortunately the words of those with jobs and those that are experts in the field lose their luster (and sometimes credibility).

    So, I hope those statements help to put my situation (and Abby’s) in perspective. If she’s anything like me, she read the post during one of those times when I feel I’ve hit rock bottom. Every day is different and every day I have to stay positive. I don’t know if 40+ hours of job searching is really the way to do that though. I do want to refute Robert’s comment about how you do a job search is probably how you work on the job. I think a blanket statement like that is harmful to those searching. I know I am a worker that is able to put 150+ percent to a job when I have deadlines, clear goals, understanding of how to reach those goals and the desire for the end product. In a job search, these items (although theoretically clear) are not easily achievable, let alone clearly attained through specific steps. As Jason has mentioned in previous posts, there is no silver bullet. Honestly I think luck, being in the right place at the right time and, as always, knowing the right people has a lot to do with job seeking success.

    And of course, if anyone is in the Chicago area and is looking for a PR/marketing/writing/design/photographer mix with tons of entertainment experience, please contact me. If someone has clear suggestions on my branding and personal development on my Web site (an ever-evolving thing), please let me know — http://www.dougblemker.com.

    Thanks for the thought provoking posts Jason and Abby.

  30. Jane says:

    Tried the networking…didn’t help me find employment…Are there jobs out there for the average person who only wants to work to help with family budget? Not everyone is looking for a career.
    The advice given should be considered, but being unemployed does not mean that you have to dedicate every waken hour searching for employment. As when one is employed…there are other things in people’s lives that must be dealt with…Difference is that you don’t get paid for running errands like you did when you were employed.

  31. It looks like we’re talking about different ideas and situations at once, as others have pointed above.

    (1) Unemployed and looking for work: Yes, you should be working on job search-related activities full-time. But some of this may include training, self-directed learning, contract or part-time work (to make ends meet, make contacts and improve your skills), etc.

    (2) Employed and looking for work: Ten hours a week may well be all you can assign to your search. That means it’s important to be as efficient as possible, and to take advantage of opportunities for efficiency. For example, early in the year many people have to set goals and identify training opportunities for the year as part of their employer’s annual review process. If you can pick goals or training that pull double duty, i.e., are portable to your job search, you’re ahead of the game.

    To answer Abby’s question, I was laid off from my job of nine years last May; I spent three months in intensive job search, easily spending 60 hours or more a week — and it paid off. I improved my skills and presentation, I got multiple job interviews, and I had the chance to pick between good offers. But looking for work sucked, it was terrifying, it was demoralizing, and it ate through my savings. I was determined to get more than just a new desk for that three months of effort and anxiety, so I have been trying to bring the lessons learned into my work methods and habits.

  32. Doug writes: “I do want to refute Robert’s comment about how you do a job search is probably how you work on the job. I think a blanket statement like that is harmful to those searching…Honestly I think luck, being in the right place at the right time and, as always, knowing the right people has a lot to do with job seeking success.”

    My point is that a job search should be conducted as you would your job–the same dedication, the same professionalism. I can’t see how that perspective might be “harmful”. It’s good practice–possibly a best practice for job-seekers.

    Does how one practices/searches reflect how one performs when it counts? I think so. I think most coaches would agree that better practice yields better performance, too.

    There are some people who, upon encountering good advice (here I mean Jason’s provocative discussions, for instance), learns and adopts what they find to be valuable. Then there are people who find good examples unbearable, threatening, and damaging to their self-esteem.

    Which would you rather hire? Which would you want to work with?

    Luck, hope, and faith are fine–unless they’re a substitute for doing the best you can while you’re waiting for them. Put another way–and if you like, you can refute Seneca and Thomas Jefferson here, too–”Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

    I hope this comment isn’t harmful.

    Robert

  33. Doug Blemker says:

    Again, I wish to refute Robert’s comment. Unfortunately without Robert being in an out of work position at the present time, I believe it is easy to provide such suggestions and comment. I have, in many instances, taken the “good advice” and learned, adopted and taken them to be of value. However, like any situation, when someone hears the same advice that that person has been working diligently and whole-heartedly at for many months without reward, those ideas do, as Robert comments, become unbearable, threatening and damaging to self esteem.

    I don’t think anyone is disagreeing about the work it takes to be successful in a job search. However, after months of fruitless labor, whether a job search or a work project, the intensity and optimism toward a clear result is lessened. There is a reason very few entrepreneurs succeed. Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Job searching for an extended period is like being an entrepreneur. I am not denying that job search takes preparation and intense work, but without the entrepreneurial spirit, the workload is stressful, depressing and often unbearable for some (note recent suicides in California and Ohio).

    In a time when our out-of-work labor force is extremely stressed and when traditional media is saying that reaching out to contacts and networking is becoming “nutworking” (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-talk_kyles_nutworkfeb02,0,7416436.story), any negative or pejorative or, I dare say, overly helpful, repetitive and without result comment toward a job seeker is unfortunate and has no place in a discussion for job seekers (or from one that helps job seekers).

    I completely agree with Sophie that in addition to standard job searching, professional and personal development is key to staying abreast of current trends, to learn and practice new ideas and to develop new skills before you find a new permanent position. In addition, as every day passes, the ability to use “standard techniques” lessens and new ideas must be developed to break through the clutter and earn a seat at the table of choice.

    I sent this in an e-mail to Jason but I will share it here as well. For all those that are career advisers, counselors, recruiters, friends, networking contacts, etc., treat those that are out of work with care and as the intelligent, motivated and well-educated individuals we are. Do not insult our intelligence. Do not think we haven’t tried the standard options. We have. Unlike those in a payrolled position, those without jobs are focused on doing the best they can to stay positive, somehow survive and work to develop increased employable skills — all without compensation, leadership or external motivation.

    Coaches, advisers and the like must be in a difficult position. However, to profit off of a time like this by negating the emotion attached to it is harmful to those very people you are trying to help.

    Robert, please support your fellow professionals. I can only hope you are not in the same position in the near future.

  34. [...] my 10 hour job search post there is an interesting discussion about how to do a job search, and keeping your chin up, [...]

  35. [...] blogs for your industry.  Keep current, find who the thought leaders are, track them on Twitter.  Yes this is alot of work.  Much of it may appear to be unproductive, and certainly unfamiliar.  But remember, learning [...]

  36. Becky says:

    40 hours a week looking for work? Seriously?
    I do not know a lot of people in this city, and everyone I am friends with knows I am unemployed and
    we keep in touch. The employers that I want to work for have already laid off hundreds of workers with
    more experience than I. My options are looking for job postings on the internet.
    My neighbor/friend got me my last job (he moved away), the others I found in the classifieds in my local paper.
    For the last 2 months I have been looking for affordable medical insurance, because *that* is an emergency. The outplacement service that I used late last year really wasn’t much help. The resume class that I went to was of no help at all. Right now I am thinking of starting my own networking group at a local coffee shop, I will have to feel the waters first.

  37. Becky – start the networking group! If your area has plenty to choose from, I would love to see a creative idea around what is needed. A few folks in my home town (Denver) did exactly that under similar circumstances and created a monster. I bet you can too!

  38. [...] went. I lost sleep over this one, yet I remain passionate about the message. The post is titled The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously (Jan 19, 2009) Towards the beginning of the post I said: What are they smoking??? I ended the post [...]

  39. [...] Here’s a post I wrote a while back about a 10 hour a week job search. [...]

  40. [...] Doostang wrote a post on how to stay focused on a job search.  In the first paragraph they say the DOL says Americans, on average, spend 18 minutes a day searching for a job.  Oh My Gosh.  Don’t even get me started. Here’s my rant on this: The 10 Hour Job Search – Seriously. [...]

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