Mindfulness in Job Searching

By Daniel Myrick

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Snagging the best job possible doesn’t take luck, it takes practice. It takes the right techniques and being in the right position.

Mindfulness is realizing your position in the moment, consciously and actively giving attention to yourself, observing thoughts without judging them good or bad.


Know Yourself

It may sound simple, yet knowing yourself is at the heart of mindfulness. If you don’t know yourself deeply, you can’t make decisions in your best interest. Also, know the needs of the present situation. Consider expenses and how much value comes with the money you spend. Often people have expenses that could easily be cut, yet never take the time to realize. For example, an $80 per month phone plan might contain more features you actually use, when you could easily meet your needs for $40. Little expenses can add up to big money that can easily change the dynamics of how much money you need to make in your next job.


Know Your Pay

There are more factors than a number on a check at the end of the month that determine pay.

Many people hate dealing with traffic, but that doesn’t stop 151.3 million people annually from commuting an average of 25.1 minutes per day. That’s nearly one extra hour per day spent in the car, which most are not getting paid for. At the federal minimum wage of $7.50 per hour, that comes to $150 per month. Plus, the average commuter spends $1129 on gasoline annually, or just shy of $100 per month. Those two facts alone cost $250 per month.

Considering other associated car costs such as repairs or loans, the expenses can quickly get out of hand. All told, Americans spend 17 percent of their income on automobiles. It might sound sacrilegious to suggest, but why not get rid of the car entirely and live close enough to walk to work? You could afford to take a job that pays 17 percent less or take 17 percent more time off work. The money saved just from the commute is a substantial pay raise before even getting a job.

Likewise, if the company offers premium insurance, that is another way to save hundreds of dollars per month. Some companies pay for further education, which could save thousands of dollars for the employee. Taking a job for low pay now might provide the experience for a high paying job in a couple of years. Taking a less stressful might save money long term just in time taken off work or medical costs. There so many intangibles to consider in addition to the hourly wage. Understanding the important ones is the first step.


Consider Your Own Values

People compromise their own needs and wants for the easiest and fastest job available. For example, if you don’t want to work with your significant other, then hold firm to that feeling. If you don’t feel like working a fast food restaurant, be adamant to that end. The last thing you want to do is take a job you don’t really want and get stuck in it. Find something compatible with what you believe in. Your gut instinct can often get you further than any advice.


Build A Network

Having moved to news towns several times, I can testify that having contacts is the best, if not only, way to get an interview, if not the job itself. Work temp jobs, volunteer jobs, attend community events, whatever it takes to meet new people. Ask questions about jobs and the job market. Show your dedication as a person before you are even an employee. Apply for jobs you may not even want, just to practice interviewing and talking to hiring managers about jobs. Networking is a free service to yourself that pays huge dividends. But you must also be patient. Be aware that pportunity won’t always come easily.

In addition to pounding the pavement, maintain an online presence. Social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn give direct insight into companies and communication outlets. This helps have conversations before you even apply for a job or get links to similar companies and many more brainstorming features. Platforms like Indeed or Monster are rich resources for job openings. The digital job search is a great overview of the options and strategies.   

While waiting for the big break, apply for assistance. People shy away from government resources, but it can be your biggest ally. Assistance of any amount, even $50 per month of food stamps, is money that can be used in a job search for things like new clothes, gasoline, or even saving money to hold out a little longer to find the perfect fit. Significantly, states typically offer programs to those on assistance to help get back into the workforce. Working with different agencies gives different resources or different ways of thinking and approaching the job search. Taking assistance is a huge step forward in networking for a new job.  


Build Your Resume and Continue to Build It

The better a resume is, the better chances of getting interviews and offers. A resume needs to be catered to each different job description. There are too many specialties that a person can have to fit onto one resume. Know yourself and your needs and the job you are applying for and succinctly make those worlds meet. Especially valuable, an oversight that most people make, consider your skills and the job description, company mission and figure out exactly how you fit into the potential company. The more you update your resume, the more you understand yourself and what you really want. Showing an employer that you know yourself, what you want and how you can contribute to the business is vital.


Know How Long You Can Hold Out

Apply for the most ideal jobs you really want. Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking that you would never be hired. Don’t be critical of your skills, just present them to a company. Be mindful of the company, itself. Make sure it’s a reputable organization and that you’re not stepping too low. Whatever you do, don’t give in too soon and take a $10 per hour job today when a $15 per hour job may present itself tomorrow.  

Getting the right job is good not just for your own sanity and day to day well-being, it’s also the responsible thing to do. An employee is only likely to give back if they respect their company, their job’s mission and enjoy doing the work. If you’re getting paid, you owe yourself and your job the integrity of doing what you believe in your core.  Don’t just accept a paycheck; accept a paycheck while doing what you are meant to be doing.


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