Preparing for a Full-scale Job Search

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Before you start looking offline for a job, there are several things you can do that can get you off to a good start. This article deals with things that can help you at the preliminary stage of beginning hunting for jobs. These steps can be essential, depending upon your resources and preparedness, because going to war without a plan or supplies can be disastrous.

Choose the place get the supplies

Choose an area in your home where you can work in privacy and be least distracted by others. If there is a study, that is ideal. If not, what about using the location where you pay the bills? Whatever place you decide on, it should be available during the day. Also, it should have a door—you will want to close it.

You will need:
  • A phone at hand (you will be making many phone calls).
  • A telephone directory (you will be using the Yellow Pages regularly).
  • A desk or table (you will be doing letter writing, resume writing, and note keeping).
  • A computer – if you don’t have one, you may need access to one in a friend’s place, or somewhere else, where you can create and save digital copies
  • An ample supply of stamps, envelopes, stationery, and paper clips
  • A stapler

Find out where the most convenient and inexpensive photocopying service is located, one that gives good copies. You will be making copies of your resume and letters of recommendation to give to employers.

Other essential resources to go on a job-hunt

Internet access, your own email address without any funky name, and being computer savvy is a great start. But on real job searches, there are some very essential resources, we often miss out on, as they look traditional.

Newspapers: Buy or have delivered the daily and Sunday editions of all newspapers that contain the help-wanted advertisements for the geographical area in which you are seeking work. On a daily basis, have the latest edition of the newspaper at your desk. You will be looking through these ads every day.

Telephone Directories Get a telephone directory that covers all the geographical areas in which you are seeking employment. If you need directories for additional locations, buy them from the telephone company (they don't cost much). Keep all directories at your desk. You will be using the Yellow Pages section to identify companies that interest you.

Photographs: You might need many copies of your photos to send out with your resumes, or if you are sending things digitally, scanned copies of your photographs are needed.

Create a Daily Activity Record: Use a Daily Activity Record to keep a brief daily account of your job-seeking activities. At the end of each morning, note down the number of phone calls you made and the number of letters you wrote or the number of emails you sent. Keep this record posted on a wall or some other place near your desk so that a glance will show you how many calls and letters you completed over a few days' time. This will help you decide whether to increase your efforts. A good rule of thumb is: make a total of at least ten calls or letters each day and applying to a similar number of openings online. If you aren't obtaining enough interviews, try to discover the reason by looking back at this Daily Activity Record.

Some basic needs associated with a job search

Family assistance and understanding: When you are unemployed, family members or housemates usually assume that you have nothing to do and therefore make continuing requests of your time. "You're not doing anything else anyhow—can you fix up the garden and maybe paint the bathroom?" is a typical request. So are "You must be bored stiff—come on over for coffee," or "While you are waiting around, how about giving me a ride and doing the shopping?" Keep your temper, but don't comply; don't let these requests interfere. Instead, inform the person that you will be very busy with interviews during the day. You can prevent these distractions, as we've said; but an even better alternative is to enlist the active support of your family or housemates.

Scheduling your time and calls: Typically, searching for a job is a part-time activity that gets squeezed into a busy schedule. The Job-Club approach, however, treats looking for a job as a full-time job in itself. Since most of this work must be done during normal working hours when employers are at their place of work, you too should schedule your workday according to normal working hours—usually, 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. from Monday to Friday. Don't work on evenings and weekends—leave these times free for your other activities (reading, visiting or calling friends, fishing, bowling, cleaning house, fixing things, going to the movies, and so on). By the same token, don't do these activities during the day any more than you would do if you had a full-time paying job.

A simple practice will help you arrange your schedule during the day: schedule the morning for writing and telephoning at your desk; schedule the afternoon for all interviews or visits to employers. When you make an appointment for an interview, suggest an appropriate time—for example, "Would 2 o'clock today be a good time for you?" or "I can be over there about i o'clock, right after lunch, if that time is convenient," or "I can make it any time this afternoon. Which time is best?" Spend as much time as you need to early in the morning until you have enough interviews to fill up your afternoon. A good rule of thumb is to work until you have at least two interviews for that day. If, early in the morning, you successfully net your quota of interviews, keep calling for another interview, or do some necessary writing. If by noon you have not arranged any interviews, continue calling during the early afternoon until you get one or two.

See Also: How to Answer the “Tell Me about Yourself” Interview Question

About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.LawCrossing.com.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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