Should you take a break from your job search?
You’ve been pounding the pavement looking for a job. You're applying to job positions like crazy, constantly contacting recruiters, hitting up just about every networking event and well, your job hunt is really feeling like a full-time job in and of itself. So, don’t you deserve a little vacation?
It’s certainly tempting to put your job search on hold, especially if you previously held an incredibly stressful job position and are feeling burnt out. Taking a little time off could seem like a relief after a rough end to your last job. However, as with any big decision, there are pros and cons you should carefully weigh before taking a hiatus. Here are what the experts have to say about the pros and cons of taking a break during the job search.
You'll have time for other things.
If you’re not completely focused on keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, you could get back to doing some of the things you love–or try something new. Spending time on your hobbies could help you get your mind off of what can often be a stressful experience, and could give you an opportunity to flex some unused muscles.
If you do decide to take a break, consider dialing back your job search, rather than giving it up altogether. Amanda Augustine, TopResume’s resident career advice expert, suggests using some of the time you would have spent applying for job positions to do other activities that still help your career goals. This could include taking a class that interests you and sharpens your employable skills, volunteering for an organization that you find meaningful and making the most of every social event you attend by actively networking with those you meet.
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You could find a bit of relief.
Of course, one of the best parts of taking a break from job searching is the relief you feel from not always being on the grind and, oftentimes, not even seeing results from all of your labor.
J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily, notes that most people don't find the job search fun. "They see it as a chore," she says. "Taking a break from the grind is welcomed.”
Sure, you'll feel relief and could use your time off wisely, but the trick is taking the right amount of time off. Too much time and you're simply procrastinating getting back to the inevitable.
You can focus on other priorities.
Nothing is more important than your own health and the health of your family and loved ones. The job search can certainly be stressful, and if that’s taking a toll on you or the ones around you, taking a step back might be best for everyone.
O'Donnell advises that when you have a lot of stress, you might need to put other key areas of your life ahead of your career – physical or mental health, your relationships with a spouse or children, caring for sick parents, etc. There are times when your priorities shift, and it may be in your best interest to let your job search take a backseat.
You'll have time to stabilize other areas of your life.
In order to feel confident in a job search, you need other areas of your life to be stable. Being constantly on the search for a job takes effort. If other areas of your life are draining you of your energy and motivation, you won't succeed.
A little “job-search vacation” might be exactly what you need in order to remind yourself of your goals and what you want out of this search.
Your job search may become more challenging.
The longer you're unemployed, the more difficult it typically is to find another job. This may not be fair, but unfortunately, it’s the harsh reality of the current job market. Once you take a break, you're essentially taking yourself out of the running for the time being, and there are plenty of eager job seekers out there who will take your place.
Augustine advises job seekers to resist the temptation to take a sabbatical from their job search whenever possible. “While the draw for potential relief may be great, in the end, it’s usually not worth the setback when you do return to job searching.”
You'll be back at square one.
Another downside to a vacation from job searching is you essentially dry up your opportunity pipeline. Any networking contacts you've worked so hard to maintain will fall out of touch and you could miss a valuable opening for a job position.
According to O'Donnell, the job search is a lot like sales–if you don't feed the funnel, you will find that you will have to start over. It's more work to start over than it is to at least keep the job search in maintenance mode. Some wise words to job search by: "Don't take a break unless you have to."
Augustine agrees. "When you put your job search on hold, you'll lose any momentum you built up and your job leads will go cold."
Your potential gets put on hold.
We all know the expression, "Slow and steady wins the race." If you work on your job search every day–even for as little as 20 or 30 minutes–you will break through and land a job. A big part of success is sheer persistence, after all.
Danny Rubin, speaker and author of “Wait, How Do I Write This Email?” affirms, “You have too much talent and ability to share with the world. When you walk away from the job search, you put your potential on hold too.”
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You could miss out on a great job opportunity.
If you let your job search gather dust in a corner, nothing will happen. No new relationships will blossom, no lively conversations will spark creativity and you can forget about any interviews or job offers you might get through a contact. You never know what you might miss out on just because you decided to take a break from the hunt.
Not to mention, it will then become much more daunting to start from scratch. Nothing is more tiring than the perspective of getting up off of the couch for a run when you haven’t hit the pavement in a while–the job search isn't so different.
If you've been hard at the job-search grind, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. It’s simply important to weigh what you could lose or gain in doing so. Just remember to make your “vacation” valuable. Take a step back to re-evaluate your job-search strategy before sending out more job applications. You may need to invest some additional time into figuring out your next career move or rewriting your professional resume before you get back to your job search in earnest.
Think before you act.
Before you decide to quit your job hunt or to double down on your job-search activities, carefully weigh the pros and cons. Click on the following link for more job-search advice.
- 7 Tips to Keep You Motivated During the Job Search
- Career Strategies When You're Between Jobs
- The First Steps You Should Take When You're Back on the Job Market