Day in the Life of a Job Hunter: Bricelyn Jones
This month, we’re taking a different spin on our Day in the Life of a Remote Worker series and spotlighting a job hunter.
Job searching can be a strange and challenging time of transition for many, but it’s possible to shape your day so that you’re feeling empowered, motivated, and productive during this phase. Here, one of our community members Bricelyn shares her current job hunting experience – whether you’re looking for a new gig while working full-time or in between jobs, you’ll take away something.
Big thanks to Bricelyn for coming through with this idea and sharing!
Name: Bricelyn Jones
Location: Evergreen, CO
Last job: Product Manager @ Kapost
Why I left: I was at my last company for almost five years. I felt myself getting very burned out on the problem we were focused on, and many of the individuals I’d formed close relationships with were leaving. In general, it felt like a major shift had taken place and it was just time to move on.
What is your approach to job seeking? Before starting to look for jobs I recommend taking some time to get clear on what you value and identify where your values are out of alignment within your current lifestyle. Also taking some time to recognize when you’ve been engaged and energized by something you were working on, as well as depleted and bored can be helpful for giving you a starting point. You may find you could tweak something about your current situation to get back in alignment or make a change without having to find a new job. And if not, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for.
Now that I’ve formed an idea of what I’m looking for, my job search approach falls into four main categories:
40% Networking - as an introvert, I’ve always dreaded this one, but there’s no denying it’s the most important. I’ve found this can be more enjoyable when you focus on ways you can add value, reconnect with people you’ve haven’t talked to in a while, compliment someone’s work, or learn from them. This involves reaching out to old colleagues and friends to let them know what I’m looking for and asking them to tap into their network, working with recruiters, informational interviews/coffee with people at companies or industries I’m interested in, going to and helping plan meetups, and engaging in Slack or LinkedIn conversations.
30% Applying, Preparing, Interviewing - I have a few, quality job resources I look at each day for openings. If there is something new I’m interested in, I’ll apply and then immediately start networking with potential connections to the company. I try not to spend too much time browsing job listings as it can be very overwhelming and usually doesn’t get you the results you need. Preparing for interviews and actually interviewing falls into this bucket too.
15% Learning - Since I’m in between work, I’m taking advantage of this time to work on my craft. This involves reading books and articles I never made time for when I was working full time. I’ve also been looking into some online classes on subjects I’m interested in.
15% Side Projects - I like to write so I have a blog I try to contribute to consistently. I’m also working on an app idea with my partner who’s a developer.
The actual percentage of time allocation definitely varies on a week by week basis, but that is the mix I aim for.
What is your advice for those who are job hunting while working full time and for those who are job hunting full time? Whether you’re working full time or are in between jobs, you need to create some space to step back and assess where you are and what you’re looking for, and then connect with others who can help. Without this knowledge, you’ll just be blindly applying to whatever pops up, and that lack of clarity and focus will result in a lot of wasted effort. If you’re working full time you’ll have to cut back in some area of your life for a bit to make time for the search (you can’t add job searching onto an already full plate and come out alive). If you’re in between jobs, come up with a routine so that you’re spending time on the search, but also taking care of yourself and taking advantage of some unstructured/free time (more hours on the search don’t necessarily result in better output, there’s a point of diminishing return you want to avoid).
What’s your daily routine that allows you to be and feel the most productive and effective?
- 6:30-8:30 am - Wake up, coffee, dog walk, think about my priorities and goals for the day, make breakfast
- 8:30-12:30 - I’m most alert and focused in the morning, so I set aside this block for the most important items on my list. I usually briefly check the sites or slack channels I follow to see if any new jobs have been posted and respond to any important messages. Then the rest of the morning varies but could include a mix of completing a job application, updating my resume, working on my side projects, researching/preparing for interviews/calls, or reading/learning on a topic of interest
- 12:30-2:30 - I often give myself a longer lunch since I’m in between jobs and use it to exercise, run errands, and enjoy some time outside with my dog
- 2:30-5:30 - I use the afternoon for networking outreach, responding to messages, wrapping up anything I didn’t complete from the morning, and planning out the next day
- 5:30-9:30 - I make sure to allow myself the evenings to hang out with my partner, meet a friend for dinner, read or watch something entertaining, go to an event, or exercise (rock climb, hike, trail run) if I didn’t do it earlier in the day
- 9:30-10 - Wind down and bed
It’s hard to stick to the same schedule every day, especially when you’re often revolving calls, coffee meetings, and interviews around other people’s schedules. Every day doesn't look exactly like this and that’s ok as long as I’m spending a weekly mix of time on networking, applying to jobs and preparing for interviews, learning and side projects, and allowing myself to have some free time and do what I enjoy. I give myself the weekends to recharge just as I would if I were working full time, and sometimes I give myself one weekday to not plan or commit to anything and do something fun because I think it’s important to take advantage of time outside of a job while you can.
Job hunting can be hard and challenging! What’s your advice for those who are dealing with overwhelm, burnout, etc.? Establish some kind of schedule/routine for your day, and priorities to focus on so that you aren’t just spinning your wheels all day and wasting effort. Taking on a side project or learning a new skill can be a good way to break up the gaps between reaching out and hearing back from someone. Take a break or a few days off if you’re feeling burned out and do something you enjoy (sometimes it’s good to give your efforts time to marinate). Eliminate other areas of noise that cause stress (constant news updates, social media, emails/subscriptions that don’t add value...etc.) Continually remind yourself and/or spend time with others who can remind you that you have value to offer and that it will eventually be recognized.
What resources or job searching tools do you wish existed? There are already so many resources and tools out there that I just wish there was a way to list out what you’re looking for and what you’re struggling with, and then receive a tailored, customized set of resources that best meet your needs so you don’t have to sift through as much information.
These books have been great resources for me as I decided to leave my job and entered into the job search:
Daring Greatly - a good read for strengthening yourself emotionally, and redefining what leadership looks like
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - helped me think about what I value and take responsibility for my problems
Designing Your Life - gave me a framework for solving problems, and shifted my mindset around my career
Is there anything else you want to share? Burnout was a feeling I hadn’t experienced before, and I wasn’t in the right mindset to begin looking for a new job while I was still in my old one. I felt very unmotivated, tired, and unsure about what I was looking for in my next role. This was a confusing, and somewhat sad time but I know many other people have experienced the same thing. I’ve definitely learned some things in the process of moving from burnout to taking action, and if you’re curious about my experience I wrote more about it here.
You can find Bricelyn here:
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