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Seven Years' Good Luck

Today marks seven years that I've been writing this newsletter to you all. If I had to summarize my advice from all those years, it would be this:

Everything's going to be all right.

Look, I know. I've read the anxiety in your e-mails; I've seen the worry in your faces; I've been through countless job searches with you, Readers.

There's no doubt about it, the job hunt is stressful, straining, and tedious. The lack of certainty over what's going to happen to you, your family, and your career creates so much worry that it's easy to fall prey to periods of despair.

But I can also tell you that everything is going to be all right.

We'll make it through, together.

We've helped literally millions of people through their job searches over these past seven years. It's rarely easy, but those millions have landed successfully on the other side in a new role. And you, too, will find your way through.

It will take longer than you want; it will be more of an emotional rollercoaster than you were hoping for; and there will be days when you think it is never going to end.

But end it does. The call will come, the offer will be made, you will find your next great gig. Barring major medical problems, professionals like you do land in a new role. I've seen it happen, literally, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times.

And to get through the job hunt challenge, let me elaborate a bit further on what I've learned over these past seven years. My best tactical advice is this:

Pace yourself.

The job search can take anywhere from 6 to 8 months, sometimes longer. It may happen sooner, but you shouldn't get your hopes up lest you wind up disappointed. Be sure that you're mentally ready for that long of a search. Set your expectations and think through how you'll handle a half-year or longer of looking.

You'll need to work at it, steadily and consistently. And you'll also need to take breaks. Just like "real" work, job search work is exhausting, and you'll perform better if you keep yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically fit and well-rested.

Get your resume professionally written.

A great product needs great advertising. You are a great product, with a price point that's measured in six figures per year. Please have a professional write your "ad copy." The competition (i.e., other job-seekers) has done it, and it enables them to stand out in a stack of resumes. And while it typically costs less than 1% of your annual earnings to get your product well advertised, it will be the most productive money you spend in a job search.

Apply to one job per day.

If you're applying to dozens of jobs per week, you're not doing yourself any favors. The "spray and pray" method doesn't work. Because recruiters and HR departments receive so many resumes these days, if your application is not on target, it goes in the bucket.

All that wasted effort not only does you no good, it does you actual harm. Because you're sending out so many applications, you don't have the time to follow up on the right ones. And when your response rate turns out to be very low, you too may get very low as you inaccurately perceive there to be no demand for your talents.

Do this instead: apply to one job each day. And then use the extra time you have from not applying to so many jobs to follow up. Call your college buddy who works there. Seek out the company's executives at the trade show. Get yourself noticed by the hiring manager by blogging about your work.

Slow and steady wins the race, not the flash in the pan.

Well, folks, those are my best bits of advice, gleaned from 365 weeks of writing, 365 weeks of reading your replies, comments, and questions, and 365 weeks of research into making your job hunt more successful.

I enjoy being your guide, and I hope to continue doing so for 7, or 70!, years more.

Thanks and have a great week in your search.

- Mark Cenedella

Founder & CEO