The Secret To Finding A New Job In 30 Days

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
by Avery Johnson

A job search doesn't have to be long and arduous. By properly preparing and taking the necessary steps, you'll land your dream job by the end of the month.

We spend the majority of our days clocking in and clocking out. We sit in cubicles answering the phone, type away on our laptops at the coffee shop and deliver plates of juicy burgers to happy diners. Some of us may have even recently walked across the stage for a diploma, only to land back in our parents’ house with no place to go.

No matter what you do, if you dread rolling out of bed in the morning and driving to the office — wherever it may be — it is time for a change. Although what many fail to realize is this simple truth: You are never stuck.

Yes, a paycheck is essential to live, but how you get that paycheck is up to you. I’ll be honest, the job hunt is never easy. It is full of discouragement and rejection and the sharp pangs of hearing “no” until one day, often when you least expect it, the offer rolls through.

With so many avenues and options out there, how do we even begin the search? Set aside some time, energy, and focus during this next month to land the job of your dreams. Whether you’re fresh out of college or searching for a new gig, follow these steps to land a new job in just 30 days.

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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Begin your job hunt with a simple question: what are you looking for?
Is it a smaller company, or larger? Flexible hours or work-from-home capabilities? A collaborative environment? A different role or industry than you are currently in?

Be willing to be specific in your answers and write them down. Create your ultimate career wish list with as much detail as possible — and dream big here. Let your answers and this dream job lists be your guide to direct your job search. With so many different resources, job boards, LinkedIn connections and more out there, knowing what it is you’re after keeps you laser-focused on your end goal.

Related: Authenticity and Passion: The Two Most Important Keys to Every Job Search
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Make A Plan
Finding a job is often like a full-time job in itself — it takes daily dedicated practice. To propel your search along, designate a block of time each day to check tasks off your list: researching positions, working on your resume and cover letters, submitting applications, and calling or meeting with contacts.

Schedule out time each day on your planner and check it off to hold you accountable. There will be days when you feel just plain exhausted or discouraged. Be sure to add breaks into your schedule for happy hours with friends, a good workout, and time to read and relax to keep yourself refreshed.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Track Your Progress
It's easy to confuse activity with forward progress during the job hunt, but clicking away online doesn’t always translate to useful research.

Google Sheets is a great tool to help you keep track of your job-hunting progress. Mark columns for which companies you’re applying to, your primary contact there, date contacted or application submitted, and any other important notes. Dates make it easy for you to follow up with your contacts if you don’t hear back, or for sending thank-you emails after interviews.

You can also use spreadsheets to make to-do lists and “companies to research” lists to check off or make notes as you go.

Tracking your progress also reflects back to you all you have done, helping to quell the feelings of discouragement sure to come. It allows you to decide how to spend your time wisely and refine your search as you continue, keeping your focus on the bright future ahead.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Cultivate Connections
Although there are plenty of resources and job postings online, most are landed by, yes — word of mouth. Who you know, and who you meet, matters.

Send along well-crafted and personalized emails to contacts you may have in your desired industry. Request an informational interview to learn more about what they do, or ask to shadow them on the job.

It is important to remember to approach these professional conversations lightly and with curiosity rather than demanding outright for a job. Let these encounters lay the foundation so you may rise to the top of their mind should a position open up.

Don’t know anyone in your intended industry? Before you’re discouraged by your apparent lack of connections, know that even the smallest conversations may lead to a big opportunity. Strike up a chat after your spin class or while standing in line for coffee. Or, instead of donning headphones on your next flight, make friends with those in your row.

Talk it up with others — tell them more about who you are and what you do, while inquiring about the other person as well. You never know where these chats may lead!

Related: Informational Interview 101: How to Get Them, What to Ask For and How to Follow Up
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Follow Up
Following up is a key step many forget during their job hunt. Submitting an application is just the beginning!

Follow up on your application within five-seven days of submission. It may take HR departments several days to process each document they receive, so keep this in mind. A quick follow-up email shows you are proactive in your search. Just be sure to avoid pestering with repeated contact or phone calls when not requested.

After an interview, email a quick, professional note to your interviewer to thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Be sure to email them within 24 hours of your interview. It will keep you top of mind and show professionalism.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Remain Open
A willingness to stay open and receptive to various opportunities out there during your search gives you a greater chance of landing a new job by the end of the month.

While your dream career wish list acts as a guideline to keep you focused in your search, allowing it to be more of a working document keeps it open to new additions and edits along the way — maybe you’ll find the perfect company with a position slightly different than your ideal, yet with ample opportunities to grow and shift about. Or perhaps you’ll stumble upon an entirely different role or path than you intended. Let it happen and trust your gut. You’ll know when something is or isn’t a good fit for you.

There is no magic formula to landing a new job, but if there were, it would look a lot like this: preparation, dedication, and focus. Prepare yourself, take the chance, and just begin. Happy hunting!

Next: How To Answer This Dreaded Interview Question