Procrastination in the job search

Procrastination in the job search

The art of systematically avoiding the task in front of you for as long as humanly possible is something that most of us are all too accomplished in.

Many assume that as they wave a bittersweet goodbye to education, that they also wave goodbye to that old, guilt-inducing nemesis known as procrastination.

As soon as you embark on your first real jobhunt you will soon become reacquainted with that old sensation of shame that creeps in when you realise that you spent far too long translating the lyrics of ‘Despacito’ into English, achieving approximately zilch in the process.


We’ve all been there

I remember trying desperately to force myself to concentrate on a particularly boring essay at university when I suddenly realised I’d never baked a cake.

Naturally, such an atrocity couldn’t go on any longer so I set about my procrastinatory (yes it’s a word – I couldn’t believe it either) task with zeal. Two hours (and several YouTube tutorials) later, all I had to achieved was a deep feeling of guilt... and a truly dreadful cake. “Inedible” I think were the reviews from my flatmates.

Everyone has their own tactics for avoiding tasks.  Some decide that it’s been far too long since they spoke to grandma, some clean, some discover new and bizarre hobbies and some simply cannot resist the call of social media.

I imagine at least one (or maybe even all) of these resonate with you. 


Three types of procrastinators 

Studies show that there are three different types of people who procrastinate.


Arousal type 
These are adrenalin junkies. These people love leaving things to the last minute for the stressed euphoria that it evokes.

The Avoiders have a fear of completing substandard work. Their motto is – ‘if I don’t try I can’t fail!’ Often this is not true. These people would rather people thought of them as lacking effort than lacking ability.

Decisional procrastinators
These people struggle to make decisions. They dawdle and dither so long that nothing gets done. They feel that not making a decision somehow frees them of responsibility. 


The good news... that the job search type is not the worst place to try and tackle procrastination. There are many things in your favour, one being that looking for a job has many different and varied tasks involved in it. That means that if you become really demotivated by the less interesting and stressful tasks then you can put them to one side and start doing something else.

A lot of procrastination stems from being bored of working on the same project for too long. When searching for a job you have the luxury of being able to mix up your activities a bit.

20% people procrastinate

First you need to know what it is that you should be doing at one time. Check out what the daily routine of a job seeker should look like.

In fact, you should make a list of each task that you don’t enjoy so much, and then next to it write a back up one which doesn’t bore you so much. But you should only resort to this when you really can’t take it anymore.

For example, if you get sick of filling in application forms then you can spend half an hour on LinkedIn, searching for new contacts or fresh opportunities – but decide which one, otherwise you’ll waver between the two convincing yourself that you’re doing something constructive when in reality you’re baking an inedible cake.

A small amount of your urge to scroll on social media is satisfied and you achieve something productive. 

Procrastinators drink more

But I don’t have LinkedIn! If this is you and you’re a job seeker then just stop reading this and go make a LinkedIn profile... 
...ok, now you’re back we can continue. 

If you’re bored of improving your CV then spend time away from the word document and read some blogs or look at cool examples of CVs to pick up some tips.

In the job search there really isn’t much time to lose. Jobs come and go very quickly and maybe you could argue that another opportunity will appear at some point. However, many people are not in any positions to wait around for too long.