After a job transition, many people decide to take some time off. It’s true that you could need—probably deserve—some time to think things over, particularly if you were terminated or laid off. You might want to give yourself some time to let the sting of losing your job dissipate. It’s true that taking the time for self-care can not only keep you sane but help you to prepare for your job search. However, (there’s always a “However,” isn’t there?) if your goal is to find a new position in a reasonable amount of time, it’s best to start your job search right away. There are two primary reasons for this:
1.) There will never be more opportunities or interest in the job market than in the first few weeks of your search. Time is of the essence/time is money/insert other clichéd phrase here. Basically, many opportunities will not be there if you wait too long. So don’t. Start your search right away. Keeping positive and motivated isn’t as easy after a few weeks or months of unemployment.
2.) The marketplace is going to be both curious about you and welcoming. Unless you’ve maintained your network prior to the job loss, you’re unknown to the market. So it’s critical to organize and reconnect your network right away. It can take weeks and possibly months to create the visibility that is so crucial to your job search, but starting right away can push you in the right direction faster.
Just like with any other endeavor, it’s important to not get bogged down with excuses. Many job seekers fall victim to the same old excuses—“It’s the holidays and no one is hiring,” “The job market just isn’t good right now,” or “I need to update my résumé.” Companies do hire during the holidays and they want to hire you! Survey research has consistently shown that there is no noticeable hiring downtime. Companies hire all the time, even during December, January, spring break and summer vacation. Need to update your résumé? Great, do it. Today. Don’t wait.
By jumping into your job search hard and fast, you can make yourself known to the marketplace right away. You offer a fresh set of skills and competencies that will indubitably match with at least one organization’s needs. So they need to be aware of you, and as soon as possible. If you start immediately, you’ll be more confident and energized. And you don’t want to have to explain what you’ve been doing over the last several weeks or months. You will find your network welcoming, excited and possibly in need of someone just like you!
Once you land that new job, if possible, push off the start date a week or two, and then you can truly sit back and relax and know that this is a well-earned and deserved break.