Are you Running Your Job Search as a Business or a Hobby? 

Is finding a new position important to you? Are you unemployed and need to find a job? Are you a college graduate with huge loans? Are you currently working, but need to change jobs, either within your company or outside? There are hundreds of scenarios that make your job search effort THE most important project of your life. 

But why are you treating it like a hobby? Why do you dabble in your search, spending a few hours here and there, sending off résumé after résumé to anything that looks “do-able?” 

STOP. Stop the insanity! 

Here are the rules for running your job search process like a business: 

Rule #1: Put your job search on the calendar.

Block as many hours as possible. Be disciplined about finding a place you can concentrate and accomplish certain tasks, and then set more tasks for yourself going forward. Every day when you wake up, you should have a healthy list of next steps that is building in volume. Get up early and get to work! 

Rule #2: Prepare your tools.

Just as in any job, you need to be organized to document your business objectives, track your progress, follow up on prior tasks, and be ready to juggle a dozen things at the same time. Set up files to track your tasks and results in Microsoft Excel, OneNote, or Word. (My favorite is Microsoft OneNote.) Have personal business cards made up to hand out at networking events. 

Rule #3: Set goals for your job search. 

  • Make 100 new contacts per month by making cold calls, sending e-mails, or even just showing up at a company’s door. 
  • Research companies you want to work for and write customized cover letters focused on what you could do for them as a future employee.
  • Network aggressively! Attend local networking events. Look for connections with companies you want to work for or people you want to work with. Use the advanced search function on LinkedIn to help with this.  
  • For executives, only 10% of your job search should be focused on recruiters. They are valuable… for their clients. They need to be aware of you, but they are only as good as the executive searches they have active. 
  • Think about volume. It IS a numbers game. You need to build a pipeline of prospects, opportunities, companies, and even geographies that you will pursue. If you think you have a pipeline today, double it. I recommend at least 20 active positions at one time. 

Even though the job market is undeniably tough, there are more positions available than many people think. But you will have to be a smart and disciplined job seeker to find them.

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.

Read More from Dana: