Bite Size Your Job Hunting Strategy

When you are job hunting, you are bombarded with so many decisions. Where to search, what job titles to search for, what geographical area to target, what you’re qualified for, what you want to do. It’s overwhelming.

And we all know that decision fatigue results in analysis paralysis. It’s real, folks. Analysis paralysis is an affliction that most academics suffer from, seeing as we’re smart and trained to follow every research lede, and analyze (ahem, overanalyze) everything.

So step back from job hunting. Have you broken this down into bite-sized chunks yet?

You don’t have to leap to working on a polished cover letter the second you see a job ad. Taking a few repeatable mini steps each time will help narrow down the number of decisions you have to make, simplify those decisions, and turn your info-gathering process into a decision-making tool.

Prioritize – and weight – your needs

List out everything you want from your next job. Just freestyle it, don’t worry about it being right. You might list job title(s), specific responsibilities, the employer, the team, the geographic location, the pay. Whatever comes to mind write it down.

Next, take your list and weight your priorities. What is most important? It’s unlikely that you’ll find that Associate Librarian position that allows you to focus only on the art history collections at Awesome College in Best Place in the World for $150,000. So now sort your wants and needs by priority. For me it’s: responsibilities, industry, good organizational culture, and personality fit. For you, it might be: any type of library, pays at least $60,000, in Minneapolis area.

Use your Priorities When Setting up your Job Search

Now go set up your job search to search for librarian, library aide, library assistant, and related job titles, only in Minnesota. There, you’ve already made several decisions, and now you’ve used your decisions to limit the amount of information you’ll have to sift through.

Scan the Job Ads Quickly

Use the minimum and desired qualifications and position description to quickly decide whether it’s a Yes, No, or Maybe.

No? Delete it. You don’t need to look at it again.

Yes? Stash a PDF or download the job description and save it somewhere, you’ll need to refer to it when you do the application.

Maybe? Ask yourself does this get me closer to where I want to be – or at least farther away from what I don’t like? You don’t need to be pursuing a job just because it’s got a cool title or the work would be neat, if it doesn’t align with your plans! If it’s pretty cool but not right for this moment, you should still save a copy of it somewhere to refer back to it someday when you are ready to look for jobs like that again.

Make a Go/No-Go Decision to Apply

When you have more time to scrutinize the Yes-es and the Maybes in more detail using my Go/No-Go Decision criteria. Here you’ll sort them one last time, keeping only the definite Yeses and discarding the Maybes.

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