Monday, March 2, 2015

The Balancing Act: Three Steps to Find Balance with your Job Search

Christina Schmidt
Associate Director, Graduate Career Services
for the Business Marketing Academy
Most every day is a balancing act for full-time MBA students, between going to classes and finding an internship (as a first year) or a full-time job (as a second year). Each student has a list of things to do, places to be, and people to meet, both for school and the job search.

Here's a simple, three-step strategy to figure out the right things to do in order to achieve success in your job search, and simply have a life outside of the search.

Develop a job search plan and prioritize your week

Take the time to discover what works for you. Think about what you learned from your past career or undergraduate studies about time management—what worked and what did not work? Be willing to ask your classmates and career coach how they manage time, in order to develop a plan that will work for you.

Ask yourself: What is your objective or priority for this week with regards to school and your job search? Where will your plan lead you in the job search process this week if you have a solid day-to-day plan for the week? The most important aspect of balance here is what you can reasonably achieve in your week for your job search versus what needs to be done in school.

Set goals for both school and your job search

Put everything in two piles: school/social activities and job search activities.

School and social activities might include classes, clubs, homework, studying, social events, family events, and projects or team obligations.

Job search priorities might include some combination of networking, LinkedIn or alumni connections, career coach or peer coach meetings, informational interviews, and site interviews.

We all need balance in our lives so planning and prioritizing what needs to be done first from each of these piles makes reaching the goal easier. Pay attention to the minor details and use your time wisely.

Work Your Plan

Once you have a job search plan and you have prioritized that plan, work it!  Be flexible and understand that plans may change. But remember that if you take 10-20 minutes each day to develop your LinkedIn contacts or you do one informational interview per day with someone from your top company, you are working your plan.

Ask for help from your career coach, your classmates, your significant other, your family, your peer coach–we all want you to succeed. It may not be easy at first, but you will get better at balancing everything over time and it will be worthwhile in the end!

Christina Schmidt is the Associate Director of Graduate Career Services at the Kelley School of Business. Christina and her team meet and coach hundreds of students, alumni, and corporate partners on tried and true recruiting methods, interviewing tactics, and career management strategies, while staying in tune to how these areas are changing and evolving. Email Christina at

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