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5 Ways Treating Your Job Search Like Parenting Will Lead to Your Dream Gig

Uncategorized Nov 22, 2017

I came across a LinkedIn post from a woman who endured 28 interviews before landing a job. As a working mom of twins (a mom who may or may not be writing this on her lunch break, shoving a salad down between meetings and typing with nails months overdue for a mani), I’m thinking, who has time for that? 

And as a recruiter I think about the art of job search a lot. It's my job to get intimately involved in job-seekers’ lives, review loads of resumes, negotiate offers and (the best part) help people land jobs. I know what it takes to be discovered, but I also know that job-searching is different for you, Mama.

Why? You're up against hundreds of confident, highly qualified people who probably don’t have Paw Patrol stickers stuck to their butts for the same jobs. And then there’s the joyful experience of applying to jobs while “Mom. Mom ... Mom!” crescendos from the other room as you try to upload your resume to a corporate website, only to have the computer freeze after 30 grueling minutes.

But it’s not just that. It’s that you put yourself on the backburner, and that’s where your job search is stored too.

The market is competitive, the tools are overwhelming, and the process can be completely confusing. It’s daunting just thinking of all the things you have to do on a daily basis; adding the task of looking for a job seems unbearable. What’s more, if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while it can seem downright impossible.
But it's time to change your approach and start treating your job search like your kid. And no, I’m not talking about the angelic, wonderful sleeper. I’m talking about the one (or two) who just dumped paint all over the sofa, the one that you have to plan everything for with the efficiency of, well, a MOM.
  Here are my tips on treating your job search like your kiddo, so you can skip to the head of the line and score that dream position already.

1. Take your job hunt as seriously as you take all things relating to your kid.
If you’re looking for a job, or thinking about looking for a job, then finding a job is important. In fact, your job is the pillar of your life. It’s not only what pays your bills and feeds your aforementioned kids but also what helps you feel confident. If you’re in the right job (and/or paying your bills) your foundation is stronger; you’re happier. You feel secure and the kids can eat. All far better options than being stuck in a job you hate or being unemployed. Aside from your kids and partner, your job keeps everything in your life operating. Don’t treat it like some side task that can wait. You may miss a perfect job opportunity, and when it comes to searching for jobs, timing is EVERYTHING.

2. Put your job search on a schedule, as you do with your children.
How late do you let your kids stay up? When is their next doctor’s appointment or swim class? You structure your kids’ lives; do the same thing with your job search. You don’t have to be a master at search methodology, but you do need to avoid missed opportunities. To land your dream job, search on a schedule.
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3. Spend on what matters, not what doesn’t.
I’m guilty of promoting my son’s Thomas the Train obsession. I can't resist adding to his insanely large collection. Dave Ramsey would not be pleased.

Every single mom I talk to objects to spending any money on their job search. But in 2017, your resume needs to look right and you need to harness the power of LinkedIn. This is precisely where you should make small, smart investments. One targeted tweak to your resume could help you land a job with a salary increase of $30 to $50k a year. Seem crazy? Well, it happened to me.

Toy-size investments can make a HUGE difference in the job you land and the speed at which you land it. I promise you: You’re making at least one seemingly minor mistake that's affecting your results. You can spend your time trying to figure out your specific issues, or you can save stress and time with expert guidance.

4. Forget the old techniques.
What do sugar-water, stomach-sleeping and crib bumpers all have in common? They were all once acceptable parenting aids. But now we know different. It’s time to bring your search to the modern era.

Remember the idea that if you’re unemployed you need to treat your search like a full-time job and spend eight hours a day doing so? Let that myth go. If you're doing that, you’re probably making other job search mistakes too because you’re treating your search likes it's 1999, not 2017. Today there are ways to apply to 20 jobs in 20 minutes. There are ways to avoid applying on corporate sites all together.

5. Don’t cry it out.
In my twenties, I was the woman on the plane crying hysterically at takeoff or drinking myself silly before a flight. And then one day, out of desperation, I decided to try hypnosis. It actually worked!

While you might not be as terrified of looking for a new job as I was of flying, it requires courage, energy and action. If you don't have that right now, check out this resource I found while looking for ways to mind-meld myself into exercising more. It’s called The Courage to Find a Job.

As we know, crying it out is good for some, and not ideal with others. Either way, when you’re in a dark room job hunting, feeling scared, confused and overtired, I want you to know, it’s going to be OK. You’ve got a tribe now. And when you’ve hit your limit, step away from the hunt, take a deep breath, hug a kid. And please don’t beat yourself up—you are not alone. Indeed, quite the opposite.

*This article was published in Working Mother.

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