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By Kat Boogaard – theMuse

You’ve decided it’s time to look for a new job. Cue the exasperated sighs and the eye rolls, right?

We get it—looking for a job can be a daunting process. From tailoring your resume to preparing for interviews, there’s a lot involved in finding and landing your next great opportunity.

But, before you start cracking under the stress of it all, know this: There are a few tips you can put into practice to make the whole thing a little more manageable.

1. Understand What You Really Want
When it comes to your job hunt, that age-old “quality over quantity” rule holds some water. You’re better off applying to three roles that you feel really confident about—as opposed to blanketing the world in your resume and crossing your fingers that something sticks.

However, you’re only going to be able to target your efforts in this way if you have a really solid grasp on what exactly you’re looking for in your next position.

The best way to get started? Sit down and create your own personal wish list. Jot down anything and everything that you’re hoping for. Whether it’s a relaxed culture or a specific responsibility, write it all down.

Will you find a job that satisfies every single desire on that list? Probably not. But, you can still use it as an informal checklist of sorts when evaluating job descriptions. That way, you’ll be able to figure out which ones are worth your energy and application—and which should just be skipped over.

2. Refine Your Research Process
You know how important it is to do your research. But, this is often advice that’s dished out when you reach the interview stage of the hiring process—so that you’re prepared to recite the company’s mission statement on demand if requested (trust us, this hardly ever happens).

There’s nothing stopping you from rolling up your sleeves and digging into some research before you even apply for that open role. In fact, we recommend it.

Why? Well, investing the work upfront to become familiar with a company and its culture is another thing that helps you determine whether or not that job is worth your application. There’s no point in wasting your time (and the time of the employer!)—only to determine that it’s not really what you’re looking for.

So, don’t save the research for later. Scroll through that company’s website and do some detective work on their social media accounts to see if you can truly imagine yourself working there.

If that company strikes you as a place where you could really be happy? It might even be worth applying to several posted positions that you’re qualified for and interested in.

3. Set Bite-Sized Goals
Would you sit down at your desk with the intention of learning Portuguese in one day? We didn’t think so. So, why are you taunting yourself with the lofty ambition of landing a job in one sitting?

I know—it often feels like you’re racing the clock in your job search. You want to get your materials in for that perfect opportunity before the application period closes. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t break the process down into smaller, less intimidating milestones.

Maybe your goal for today is to find and apply to just one job that really seems like a good fit for you. That’s a far more manageable objective than “get a new job.”

The job search is stressful enough, so don’t put more pressure on yourself than necessary. Break things down, and then the entire process will feel a whole lot more doable.

4. Batch Your Tasks
If you haven’t previously tried batching your tasks, it’s a productivity hack that can be particularly helpful when you’re job searching.

It’s an odd name, but the concept is simple: You group similar to-dos together so you aren’t jumping around and constantly switching gears.

For example, you’d use one chunk of time to find and evaluate job descriptions. Then you’d tweak your resume for those job postings at the same time, and so on and so forth.

Not having to hop back and forth between different tasks can save you a ton of mental energy. Plus, since you’re technically focusing on one thing at a time, you’re far less likely to make an error.

The process of finding a new job can feel overwhelming at best. But, before you start huffing and puffing into that paper bag of yours, know that there are a few things you can do to make things a little easier on yourself.

Put these tips into play, and you’re sure to remove some stress from your job search, optimize your efforts, and get yourself one step closer to landing the role of your dreams. You’ve got this!

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