In a way, the resources you need for your job search can be broken down into three categories:
Time includes not just the time for the six steps of the process (and to work on the fundamentals discussed in this chapter) but also the time away from your current activities. As you add the job search to your calendar, what will you take away?
Space includes the place where you will be doing the work of your job search—computer, phone, desk, a quiet area to focus. Your space must be outfitted with the right equipment but also include fast Internet access, paper, pens, postage and mailing supplies, and other office essentials.
Money is required to outfit your space and for your supplies. In the discussion on professional dress, there may be items listed that you need to purchase. Your job search will require travel to interviews. Networking might entail paying a membership fee to a group or an event fee for a professional mixer. Part of your research strategy might involve taking people to lunch in exchange for information. Many areas of the job search will require a financial investment.
Finding and managing your time will require trade-offs. A proactive job search takes ten to fifteen hours per week. You will need to take this time from other activities. Before your job search starts, take an inventory of everything that is taking up your time. Create a comprehensive calendar that includes the following:
Create a comprehensive activity list that includes necessary but non-time-specific activities:
Look at the unscheduled times and your list of activities. Block out where things might go. Be realistic about when you do your best work. If you have more energy in the morning, reserve that time for your job search activity. If you know you can’t concentrate by end of day, use that time for nonthinking activities, such as housework or exercise.
Well before you start your job search, start moving activities around and make arrangements for your replacement if you need to drop activities. You want to have a schedule in place that supports your job search, not crowds it out.
Your job search is a project, so you need a comprehensive work space. Stocking up supplies in advance of your search enables you to stay focused and not get derailed by a surprise trip to the store. You also want to prepare in advance for services you may need, such as printing, copying, mailing, and faxing. Know the hours of the closest post office and office supply and service store. Know where you can send and receive faxes and where you can do special copying, binding, or printing.
Here is a checklist of ideas for a comprehensive work space:
If you have a very organized friend, enlist his or her help in setting up and decorating your space.
Know your budget for your job search essentials in advance. You can price out the work space items listed previously and the professional dress requirements listed earlier. For job search events you already know about, budget for registration fees and transportation costs. If you want to work with a career coach, factor that into your budget.
Another financial consideration is the opportunity cost of the time spent on your search, as opposed to working. If you have to drop a part-time job to launch your search, there is the cost of lost wages. If you are a student and your job search extends past graduation, there is the cost of supporting yourself while you look. How will you pay for your living expenses? How long can you sustain yourself without a job?
Your financial situation affects the execution and timing of your job search, so you need to decide on these issues prior to your search. If you are relying on family or friends to help with your living expenses, have a candid conversation about both of your expectations before you start your search.