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Budget Time for the Job Search

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It is imperative that every job seeker budget for the search. Money is the most obvious commodity, but the job search budget includes time as well as money. Finding the time while student teaching or working may be a challenge, but you can do it if you plan ahead.

All of the activities involved in a job search require time. Résumé writing and modification require time, not just for the writing itself, but to get opinions of others about the documents. Be sure to set aside some time to meet with your university’s career services office for an evaluation of your résumé and some advice on letters and job search activities. The more sets of eyes reviewing your materials, the better.

One of the most time-consuming activities in the education job search is preparing applications. Many, if not most, districts now have applications online, which can reduce or increase the time necessary for completion, depending on your situation. If you are completing mostly online applications, be sure to print or save each so that you have a record of where you have applied and when, as well as how you answered any questions that may be unique to each application. Having at least one saved application can also save time, as most applications will have similarities – a complete experience history, a breakdown of your college hours, questions about your licensure, and so forth. Once you have created a record of your answers to these questions, it is much easier to copy or cut and paste your responses to the next one. Be sure to proofread the online application before clicking "Send," just as you would a paper application before mailing.

Time for interviews can be considerable – much more than just the interview time itself. Travel is involved for almost all interviews. Even for interview days on college campuses, you must budget time to travel to the site and park. As most of us who work on campuses know, the parking process can be frustrating at best, so allow plenty of time for finding a parking place and getting to the interview site from your vehicle. A few years ago, I was in Los Angeles for an interview and was caught in the heavy morning business traffic. Fortunately, I had allowed plenty of time to travel from my hotel to the interview site. You will want to plan similarly.

Time for shopping is also important if you do not already have interview attire in the closet. For some, this will be a recreational activity, but for others of us it is a chore. In either case, allow plenty of time for seeking the type of suit you want and for comparing prices in several locations. As I said in a previous post, it is not necessary to pay $600 for a suit, but you will have to shop to find good quality attire for a good price. Ask other professionals in your area about where they find bargains.

Conducting a job search is a job, and finding and budgeting the time for it is essential. I will comment on the financial budget for a job search in a future post. Happy budgeting!

--Kent McAnally,
Director of Career Services,
Washburn University on behalf of AAEE

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