Job-Search Tips: Balancing the Job Search and Life

Carve out time for your life and the job search so the two co-exist and don’t compete.

1. Keep records, stay organized

Don’t be caught off guard when a recruiter calls about a position and you can’t remember which one of 85 jobs she is referring to.

  • Create a spreadsheet with dates, job titles and recruiter’s names.
  • Keep job descriptions/requirements at the ready to reference, so you’re prepared to speak to specific skills.
  • Track the resume versions you send with every job application. Be prepared to speak to the skills you included and avoid the ones you omitted from specific versions.

2. Set goals

Budget time for the job search each week, and stick to it. Set realistic goals for the number of applications to send, contacts to make and networking events to attend. That way, “you don’t beat yourself up for not making progress on your job search goals,” said Raoul Encinas, a board member of the Scottsdale Job Network and vice president of Preod, a professional-services firm based in Princeton, N.J.

3. Enlist help

“Delegate chores to other family members so that you have the time to invest in your next career step. Remember, your advancement will benefit them also,” said Katy Piotrowski, a career counselor at the Career Solutions Group and author of “The Career Coward’s Guides.”

4. Communicate

“Job seekers should talk to their children about the realities of today’s economy and about how a job search can sometimes take a long time. It may be difficult for them to realize that you may not be able to get a job tomorrow and that it may take prolonged effort over an extended period of time to get the right job for you,” said Sharon Reed Abboud, author of the new book “All Moms Work: Short-Term Career Strategies for Long-Range Success.”

5. Stay healthy

Making time for exercise and favorite activities isn’t a frivolous luxury. Career experts and mental-health professionals say it is vital to staying sharp while looking for work. No matter how desperate the search becomes, it is important to avoid entering a depressive state that can be a distraction in itself and derail your job hunt.