Tag Archives: Getting out of the House

The single best advice for the job search and 9 steps to follow in one day

Sitting on a benchYou’re probably thinking this post is about networking. Nah, I’m actually tired of talking about networking. Or you might think this is about writing a résumé recruiters are dying to read. Nope. Maybe you think this post is about the 10 essential elements of your LinkedIn profile. Done topic.

So what is this advice for the job search?

In my career center orientation I tell my attendees that if they leave with any bit of advice from me, it’s to get out of the house. That’s it. Get out of the house. This isn’t earth shattering advice, but it’s probably the advice many people need to heed. (Read this post about getting out the house.)

I hear all too often that some jobseekers sleep in until 10:00 a.m. I haven’t done that since adolescence. I also hear they know every episode of General Hospital and have learned from Dr. Phil the 14 traits of a serial killer. Some tell me they’ve scoured the Internet for jobs and spend six hours a day blasting out their résumés, resulting in very few interviews.

So, you ask, where should I go? I wouldn’t be a giver of advice without providing some plan detailing what to do once you’re out of the house. Here is an example of one day, the start of your official job search.

1. Get up at 6:00 a.m. and drink your two cups of coffee. Take care of nature calling. Don your shorts, holey tee-shirt, and new sneakers. (You bought them as a condition of landing your next job.) Leave the house for your 30-minute walk, or jog. Start with baby steps.

2. Clean the dishes when  you get back from your walk, which you found invigorating both physically and mentally. Breakfast is optional. Leave the house at 8:00 a.m. But don’t forget the PB&J sandwich you made for lunch.

3. Arrive at your local library and set the timer on your watch for one hour. Sit in a comfortable chair and write your to-do list for the day. It will include the activities starting with step four.

After you’ve finished your list, grab the nearest computer and sign in to LinkedIn. Write the following update: “Today is the first day of my job search. I’m looking forward to achieving success. If you are with me, ‘Like’ this update.” You’ll receive “Likes” from your true connections and perhaps some, “I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.”

4. Drive to your nearest career center to attend a workshop on Résumé Writing. While listening to someone like me talk about writing a résumé even recruiters will love, quietly ask the person next to you what her occupation is.

“Accountant,”  you say. “I’m a marketing specialist from the financial industry. Would you like to grab coffee afterward and compare notes?” (I lied about not mentioning résumés and networking.)

5. After your brief chat at a coffee house around the corner, walk to a nearby park where you can score a bench. Eat the PB&J sandwich you made at home. Take in the scenery while you eat your sandwich slowly. Make yourself to sit for a complete half an hour before you’re off to your next location.

You are acutely aware that feelings of anxiety are not present, because you are being productive. Productivity, you find, is a good thing.

Oh, text your wife with the following message: “(Insert salutation. Honey works well.) My first day on the search is going very well. Feeling productive. I’ll cook tonight.”

6. At 1:30 p.m. drive to a church 20 minutes away where a networking group meets. (You learned about this group from your new connection from the workshop.) Because it’s your first session, you’ll be required to deliver your value statement. Apologize for not preparing one; but don’t worry, the kind folks will give you guidance.

Listen to the guest speaker speak on his Candidate Pet Peeves. Note that he dislikes it when people don’t look him in his eyes, among other irritants the speaker mentions. Most of what he says if obvious, but it’s good to be reminded of the obvious.

7. At 4:00 p.m. drive to your local Starbucks, purchase a Tall ice coffee with light ice and cream only, and grab a comfy chair next to an outlet. Plug in your computer and dial into a job board you prefer.

Note that there are 10 job posts for marketing specialist, three in the financial industry. Also note that there are 15 job posts for Accountants. This is great labor market information for you and your new connection for when you meet her at the career center for an interview workshop.

8. At 5:00 p.m. refer to your to-do list and congratulate yourself for meeting 80% of today’s objectives. You were a bit optimistic about what you could do. That’s okay, you can pick up where you left off tomorrow.

Text your wife and tell her you’re on your way home to cook pork tenderloin on the grill. Ask if you should pick up vegetables and perhaps a bottle of wine–it was a good day.

9. After dinner you can settle in for the night. When your wife asks you if tomorrow you will cut the lawn and paint the garage, apologize and tell her now that you’re in the job search you won’t have time to do chores like that. However, during the weekend you’ll do as many chores as she’d like.

Tomorrow is another day to get out of the house. Which activities you choose to do is up to you. Perhaps following up with people you’ve met at the career center, creating your company target list, spending a couple hours revising your résumé, attending another networking group….The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that you’re getting out of the house.

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6 tips for getting out of the house during your job search

Silly as it sounds, I can’t think of a better piece of advice than this one. It’s so simple, yet it can be a game changer….

Walking

One bit of advice I give my career center orientation attendees is to get out of the house every day. I know that some of them are sitting behind their computers until their eyes ache and the computer is humming at them. I also know it’s not healthy to be alone with one’s despondency. Been there.

When I tell them, “Get out of the house,” some laugh and nod with approval, others look at me with interest, and others with amusement. This advice, I give them, is perhaps the most important message they’ll leave with.

Having been out of work for 10 months more than 14 years ago, I understand how it is important to leave the house to escape the computer, the kids, the television, the cleaning. All of it. You know the saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” So let me offer you some suggestions for getting out of the house.

1. Go where people are. If this means going to your local career center, a library, Panera Bread, Starbucks, a park; then do it. Being around people has a therapeutic effect. Hearing the voice of others provides you with the distractions you need in order to avoid the deep well of despondency. It can reduce the loneliness you may feel from being cooped up at home.

Talk to people, even if you don’t know them. But understand if they’re not amenable to a discussion. Keep it short if you sense they’re busy or focused on something else. When they keep their eyes on the computer screen, this is a hint that they’re not open to a dialog.

2. Go to the gym or take long walks. How you prefer to exercise and let off steam is up to you. I find walking to be a great way to clear my mind, as well as strategize about what I need to do. While I was out of work, I increased my walking regiment from 45 minutes a day to 90 minutes. I walked and walked and walked. Bonus: it’s free.

Keep your routine. You’re no longer waking to go to your former place of employment, but you will continue to rise at the same time to exercise. I always suggest to my career center customers that they increase their exercise or start exercising if they’re not already doing it. Develop a plan that is doable for you, whether it’s everyday, or every other day.

3. Coordinate a small networking meeting, better known as a meetup. This might include gathering with other professionals, such as project managers who have an interest or knowledge in Lean Six Sigma. Although the meetup is for educational purposes, it’s a great place to connect and share employment possibilities. Here is the link for Meet Up.com.

An alternative to a professional meetup could be gathering for various interests. Perhaps one of your interests is reading, and a group of locals meet to pontificate on science fiction or nonfiction. Use this opportunity to unwind and put the job search behind you for those two hours. You need a break from your search.

4. Attend networking events. For some people networking is a bit intimidating because they feel forced to talk to people they don’t know. Attend a few networking events to get the hang of it. If you need to stay back and listen at first, that’s fine. However, eventually you’ll get the hang of it and feel more comfortable.

Determine some goals before you go to the networking groups. You may decide you only want to talk with a few people at each event. Perhaps you plan to meet someone you know or, better yet, you travel together to an event. Some groups specialize in particular industries, such as IT, medical, finance, legal, etc., so you may want to focus on one where you’ll be with people of the same interests.

5. Volunteer at an organization that needs your talents. You’ve probably heard a great deal about how volunteering is great for your job search. And you probably think, why should I offer my services for free? I get your concern. Who wants to work without getting paid?

Think about it logically. By volunteering you’ll enhance the skills you possess, as well as possibly learning new skills. You’ll not only increase your skill set; you’ll also put yourself in a place to gather labor market information and network. Keep in mind that some say by 27% by volunteering.

6. Ask for networking meetings. I don’t call these informational interviews for a reason. When you ask someone for an informational interview, their reaction won’t be as positive as if you were to ask her for some advice. Tell her you’re interested in gathering some information about a new career or one in her type of company, not her company.

You’re the one asking the questions, so make them intelligent questions. The goal is to impress the person with whom you’re speaking so if there’s a position developing at the company, she might suggest your name to the hiring manager. At the very least, try to leave with other people with whom you can speak.


As simple as it sounds, getting out of your house can greatly help your job search. It helps your fragile state of mind to get away from your computer or, worse yet, the television; and increases your networking opportunities. My strong suggestion is to dress business casual when you’re out and about, as well as present a positive attitude. You never know when you’ll meet a potential employer.

Also keep in mind that your job search is important and that others’ needs will have to take a backseat to your activities. In other words, be selfish. You can’t watch the kids or grandchildren when you have a workshop or networking event to attend. You have to meet with a networking colleague for coffee, no questions asked. In other words, BE SELFISH.

Photo: Flickr, David