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Biding Your Time: 7 Things to Do While You’re Job Hunting

Ah, the waiting game.

Trust me, I’ve been there. The staring at the phone. The constant refreshing of the email.

Before you pull a The Yellow Wallpaper and lose your cool, take a deep breath and rest assured that waiting is all a part of the process. You can pass your resume around like candy and rack up a whole calendar’s worth of interviews, but in most cases, unfortunately, it’s going to take some time before you land that dream job.

First and foremost, don’t stop applying (or believing, really). Get into a habit of regularly sending out your resume/checking the job boards; maybe even designate a day of the week to send out applications. It’s easy to feel discouraged in the job application process, so getting into a groove with sending stuff out will ensure that you continue to put yourself out there. You never know when a good opportunity will present itself.

So what else can you do in the meantime?

  1. Find a job. Yes, it seems strange to find a job to bide time until you get your ideal job, but bills need to be paid. Focus on a job that has flexible hours so you will have time to interview – food services or retail are usually good jobs (though admittedly sometimes tough work) to have in the interim. Also, if you work in a bookstore or doing something book-related, you can use the gig as a resume builder.
  2. Volunteer. In speaking of resume builders, if you can afford some time where you’re not getting paid, you can also give your resume a boost by volunteering at a bookstore or with a literary program/organization. Because you’re not being paid, hours can be a little more flexible; you can even volunteer for individual events so you’re not locked into a weekly commitment (one of my favorite events to volunteer for is the yearly PEN World Voices Festival). On top of being a bullet point on the resume and building good karma, volunteering can also be a great networking opportunity.
  3. Start a creative personal project. Whether it’s a blog, a novel, or a web short, feel free to use this free time to pursue passion projects. Not only will it be a great outlet, but the things you learn from launching something yourself can be a great selling point. After all, if you can say that you self-published your own comic book, you have an inside glimpse into a major movement in the industry. Need some ideas? Look no further than Bob Miller’s “Ten Things You Might Do to Get a Job.”
  4. Read the dailies. Find out about big news in book businesses by signing up for email updates from publications like Publishers WeeklyGalleyCatShelf Awareness, and Publishers Lunch. Or sign up for a Twitter account and follow publishers and book business publications. Keeping up with the industry will go a long way in interviews and even once you land your dream job.
  5. Take classes. There are always new skills you can pick up that will help make you a desirable candidate, from learning another language to brushing up on your Excel skills. See what your local library is offering or research if a local university offers any programs.
  6. Stay social. Having a strong support system will help you get through when you start to feel a bit rundown. Spend time with friends and family so you can remind yourself that you’re not alone in your efforts.
  7. Do something once in a while that does not involve publishing. At all. Because sometimes you’re just going to need to get out and clear your head.

Though the Book-Job Boot Camp has made a point of laying out the job finding process in a great step-by-step format, it’s important to remember that the whole thing isn’t necessarily a linear experience – it’s a cyclical thing that you will probably encounter throughout your lifetime. What is most important in staying sane throughout is organizing yourself in a way where you continue to be productive, while still allowing yourself the flexibility to find new, unexpected opportunities and experiences. Take this time to build on your strengths and slowly stock up your arsenal so that when the right thing comes along, you’re ready for it. Maybe waiting is the hardest part, but take comfort in the fact that your efforts will only make things that much sweeter once the phone rings.

One Comment

  1. Damn, Ive been looking for information like this for a while now. Thanks!

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