You may have seen an article or two titled What not to do in 2012. The overriding message is: don't rush into things without evaluating, without making sure you're spending your time and money wisely whether it's your finances, your diet, your fitness routine, your relationships. Don't resolve to hit the gym at 5 a.m. every day or cut back to 1200 calories or put $500 a month into savings until you do a reality check.
The same is true for your career. Don't start out the year committing to 20 internet applications, two networking events, and four hours of volunteer work a week and three informational meetings a day. You will fizzle out quickly.
Instead, take stock of your goals and deadlines, how much time you have, what your energy and motivation levels are, and what you're willing to sacrifice. Know your job target and have a job search buddy or mentor to meet with regularly.
Then take that 168 hours in a week and subtract everything you MUST do each day including sleep, work, transportation, child care, grooming, meals, shopping. What's left? If it's 10, 20 or 30 hours a week, great. Work with that. If it's 20 minutes a day (that's more than two hrs/wk), work with that, too. The secret is being purposeful. Small, consistent successes will keep you positive and that's 95 percent of the job search.
Have a healthy combination of networking for ideas and information, internet research, job search support group, volunteer work, and only 30 percent of your time on job applications from your internet job alerts. Get away from your computer!
Bringing structure and a plan to your days will go a long way to keeping you motivated and productive. Do the math and see what you come up with as a reasonable and challenging routine.
Kathleen Martinek, former UNCG alumni career counselor, has more than 15 years of experience in career development and corporate management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org