As I’ve already said, it’s easy to fall into a slump. But lying around in your PJs all day watching reruns of Star Trek: Next Generation and eating Doritos by the bag is NOT acceptable. You don’t want to be that lazy life-suck that your parents become embarrassed to discuss.
(Rule #1) STICK TO A SCHEDULE: Like I said yesterday, you don’t need to plan out every second of every day. But you do need to figure out a vague daily schedule. Wake up around 8 or 9 (that’s AM, not PM), make your bed, do daily exercise and/or shower, get dressed in your big boy/girl clothes (no PJs after 10am and before 9pm!) and then start your day. Have an idea of one or two things you want to get done during the day. In general for me, that includes checking my email and replying to any questions or interview inquiries from places I’ve applied, doing a solid hour or two of job search and research including applications and tweaking my cover letters and resume. Having a goal for the day is what will get you going, and it may be what gets you a job too, because…
(Rule #2) GET INTO PROJECTS AND HOBBIES: From gradspot.com’s Guide to Life After College, “The worst thing that you can do while job hunting is to do nothing but look for employment” (Klein, Schonberger, Schultz, and Hoen, page 41). I am so glad that I read this before going to some of my interviews recently, I can’t tell you how many times an interviewer has asked “What have you been doing since you graduated” or “What do you like to do in your spare time?”. As the book says, “…if you spend your time enhancing your story by keeping active and learning new skills, you’ve now presented yourself as someone who is motivated and multi-faceted…” (Klein, Schonberger, Schultz, and Hoen, page 41).
You don’t have to go pay for language classes or take up full-time volunteering. In my case, I have several projects and hobbies that I spend my (scheduled) time working on. They include writing and planning this blog, learning to bake and trying new recipes, making hand-made cards, and working on writing a novel (see my crafts and creativity blog for more on my cards, cooking, and writing. I’ll be updating successes especially of my novel here as well.)
Like I’ve said before, having a project or hobby that you spend a lot of time and effort doing is interview gold. When asked the question about what I’ve been doing and what my hobbies are, I know can proudly say that “As you can see on my resume, I participate in National Novel Writing Month in November, an online writing contest that challenges members to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. Since graduating I’ve been working on the novel, which currently consists of one and a half books and a total of 200,000 words.” It’s damn impressive, and I know it. Sure, most of those words were done in the past 3 November’s and I’ve only gotten around 8,000 words written since I graduated. But it’s something I’ve been working on, and it’s something that will show the interviewer that I have a life outside of the job search and am someone who can bring more than the average bland skills of a new-graduate to the job. It is also something that makes me stand out, which is always a good thing during an interview. (Case in point: I recently received a rejection email. What surprised me was the interviewer remembered my novel, and in closing, told me he wanted to a copy of my book when I got it published. I may not have gotten the job, but I stood out enough to be remembered.)
So pick something you enjoy to do more of, find a new hobby or project that will challenge you and make you work hard. Keep yourself busy, and the time will pass.
If you’d like to know more about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), go here. There is more than just the contest in November, and if you’re interested but worried about being able to keep up the word count, there is a huge community of forums for members. You can also contact me, I’d love a writing buddy!
**Citation: Schonberger, Chris, Stuart Schultz, Tory Hoen, and David J. Klein. Gradspot.com’s Guide to Life after College. New York: MG Prep, 2010. Print.**