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Advice for a successful job hunt

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Whether you've been laid off or you're just seeking a change, looking for a new job is generally not fun. It's often exhausting, a job in its own right, and it can feel like it will never end. But what can help is a job-hunting plan. Life Kit host Marielle Segarra has more.

MARIELLE SEGARRA, BYLINE: All right. So let's imagine you're in that place, that I-really-need-a-new-job place. Maybe you're sitting on your couch staring blankly at a wall or lying awake in bed panic-scrolling through job listings. Cynthia Pong has something to say to you.

CYNTHIA PONG: It can and will feel like a slog sometimes. It can feel hopeless, but the truth is that you can ask for help. You are resilient. You do have a ton of resources.

SEGARRA: Pong is the founder and CEO of the career coaching firm Embrace Change, and she's all about making a plan. She says, first of all, you don't want to just blast out your resume in response to every job listing you see.

PONG: Because you probably are going to be spinning your wheels for the most part and wasting a lot of valuable energy and time.

SEGARRA: Instead, she recommends that you spend 70 to 80% of your job search networking and the rest submitting applications.

PONG: It's way more powerful to apply to a job when someone has explicitly asked you to apply for it, or at least is like, yeah, I'll tell so-and-so to keep an eye out for your application.

SEGARRA: Also, Pong says to keep yourself on task, set some performance goals. Those are goals that are focused on what's in your control. So a performance goal could be I'm going to reach out to 20 people this week for informational interviews. Keep in mind, you won't hear back from everybody.

PONG: And that's also OK. No need to internalize or personalize that as rejection. It's literally a numbers game. But if you reach out to, you know, 20 people, you might hear back from eight to 12. And out of those eight to 12, you might set up two to four coffee chats. And that's all you need.

SEGARRA: You can also set goals for how many applications to submit a week or how many networking events to attend. Now, when all this goes well and you get to an interview, go in there as an equal. Don't think of yourself as desperate, and maintain your composure.

PONG: And in that place of composure, it's not like you're trying to have power over the other person or you're not letting them have power over you. And instead, it's about, let's have a conversation. They're looking for someone to solve a problem or fill a role. Does my experience and what I bring to the table match up with the problem or the role that they're trying to fill?

SEGARRA: Then you send your thank you email a couple hours later. You know, hi, so great to meet you. I loved talking to you about X, Y, Z. Looking forward to continuing the conversation. Bye. And you see what happens. And look, you might not get this job, and we can't tell you how long your job search is going to take.

PONG: But it will end at some point, and you - this will not be the hardest thing that you've had to go through. Like, I really feel that genuinely for the vast majority of people.

SEGARRA: For NPR News, I'm Marielle Segarra.

MARTIN: There are even more job search tips from Life Kit. They've got an episode about how to craft your personal brand. And if you feel like networking is just too awkward, there's an episode to help out with that, too. You can find those and more at npr.org/lifekit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.