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New Year – New Saw – Take a break to sharpen your job search saw

Job searching is hard work. Job searching is a job in itself. Be kind to yourself and take breaks as needed. Take time to sharpen the saw in your job search too. Don't expect a dull blade (old resume or old interview techniques) to chop down a new tree (like a new job).

You know how it goes… 

New Year.  New  You.

In this case, I’m recommending a New (Job Searching) Saw.

Are you using the same ol’ dull blade (resume) and trying to cut down the tree?  Take a step back and evaluate what has and hasn’t worked well this past year.  Really think about what activities are adding value to your job search and which ones are fruitless.  

Give yourself a break during the job search.   

This is not something that I cover much during the job search.  In fact, just a few weeks ago, I recommended that you don’t take a break during the holidays.  The breaks I’m referring to here are the hourly stretch breaks, the firm stop at the end of the day, and permission to take the weekend off.  

Sometimes I have clients that are desperate and they want me to give them all the assignments upfront.  They want to do all the work right away so they can score that job now.  I know this because that’s exactly how I felt.  I couldn’t wait to transition careers and I was desperate to make the change as fast as possible. 

I paid an HR Consultant $150 / hour to advise on my resume.  I shared about when I did my first major resume overhaul, I worked eight hours straight and produced a resume that was total garbage.  I hired a career coach who charges $125 / hour and I met with her like clockwork for two years.  Now, after multiple career and job changes in rapid fire, I also provide Career Transformation Package to my own clients.  I have 

I prefer to work smarter and more efficiently when possible.  I still have to put in the time to fill out applications.  I have respond to messages.  I also recognize that taking short breaks throughout the day results in better overall productivity.

Sharpen the saw.

When I was in college, Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was required reading in my intro to Engineering course.  I thought it was lame.  I was a teenager and I didn’t think I needed those good habits.  

Now, I devour over 100 books a year and several of the non-fiction books center around habits.  My favorite habit is #7 Sharpen the Saw.  It’s like the Abraham Lincoln quote about sharpening the saw.  

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

I’m not saying, go spend four hours daydreaming and then two hours actually applying for jobs.  I’m recommending that you give yourself permission to take a break.  Stand up and stretch for a few minutes.  I wear an Apple watch that buzzes every 50 minutes if I don’t stand.  

When I was a software trainer, I made my adult students stand up for stretch breaks every 60 – 90 minutes.  At the time, my average student demographic was a 50 year old guy.  He did not appreciate me telling him to stand up and stretch.  But after every stretch break, my students were more engaged and alert.

Sharpening the saw in the job search looks like cleaning up your resume.  Take time to tailor resumes and cover letters.  Don’t keep sawing on that dull blade and expect to chop down the tree.   If you’ve been doing the same thing and not getting the results you want, then make adjustments to improve.  

Look at where you keep getting stuck in the job interview and adjust.  Do you keep getting interviews but no offer?  Do mock interviews [INSERT LINK] and solicit feedback.  What if you’re sending out a hundred resumes but getting no responses?  Work on building a more targeted resume.  

Summary

Although you have to put in the hard work and time for job search activities, give yourself permission to take breaks and take time to sharpen the saw.  Don’t saw on the dull blade (old outdated resume) and expect to chop down the tree (get a new job).  

Don't saw on the dull blade (old outdated resume) and expect to chop down the tree (get a new job).  

Coach Caroleen

Feeling overwhelmed with where to start?  Grab this free 4 Step Guide to the job search! 

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