Looking for work isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. These three tips will make it more bearable—and help you land your next job quicker.

I lost my job about an hour after I got married.

I’m exaggerating, but that’s what my in-laws probably thought. After our wedding, I moved their Georgian daughter to Boston for my job—and then promptly lost it. Those were not fun months.

A lot of people are in a similar place right now. Whether you lost your job or graduated from college into an economy that doesn’t feel very friendly, here are three things you need to do right now:

1. Think about your circles

Being unemployed is about properly managing three different circles: geography, industry and commitment. The longer you’re unemployed, the more deliberate you have to be about expanding these circles.

For example, for the first month or so, you might look for a new job in your city. During the second and third months, you might expand your search to other cities within your state.

If you experience prolonged unemployment, you might need to expand your search to other states—or even other time zones. Same goes with the industry you’re targeting and the commitment you want (full-time, part-time or hourly).

Want to potentially speed up your job search? Expand the circles quickly.

2. Get a stopgap job

This is way easier to write than it is to actually do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

You might need to get a stopgap job, some sort of part-time employment that heads off monsters like “getting the power turned off,” “having your car repo’d” or “moving back in with your parents.” This is an ego-aside, I-never-thought-I’d-work-here-but-difficult-times-call-for-difficult-measures kind of job.

The day I wrote this article, I saw a bakery job posting for someone to bake bread from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. That’s not easy. That’s not fun. But that’s a great stopgap job.

And don’t for a second buy the lie “If I take on a part-time job, I won’t be able to go out for interviews or look for a full-time job.” That’s ridiculous. What job interview are you forced to cancel at 4:00 a.m. because you’re making bread?

3. Put results at the top

This one is incredibly tactical, but it works. At the top of resumes, most people put “goals” or “objectives.” They then type out paragraphs that say things like, “I want to work in a people-based environment where I can use my skills to progress the business in innovative ways.”

Goals at the top of resumes are useless. Why? Everyone can say the exact same things. Everyone on the planet can write fluffy words about what they’re going to do. That doesn’t separate you from the crowd.

When I applied to one of the best ad agencies in the country, the owner chewed me out for using empty words like “goals.” He said that every candidate told him over and over again how creative or goal-oriented they were. He didn’t care about that. He cared about what I’d actually accomplished.

I rewrote my resume that week. Instead of goals or objectives, I started each resume with a short paragraph titled “results.” In under 100 words, I summarized what I felt like I had accomplished that might be relevant to each job.

And something weird happened. Recruiters and HR departments started asking me about the results. In some cases, they would barely look at the rest of my resume and would instead ask, “What was it like to work at Home Depot?” No one had ever asked me about any of the meaningless sentences I had put in my “goals” paragraph.

Even if you’re a recent college grad just joining a new industry, you’ve got a sentence or two you could put in that paragraph that might generate questions, interest and maybe even a job interview.

The good news is that regardless of why you find yourself without a job, there are some very tactical things you can do to remedy that. The great news is that we’re all in our 20s. We all have the chance to START over and be awesome again.

Just because you’re unemployed doesn’t mean you have to be average.

 Jon Acuff is the New York Times bestselling author of four books, including his new one, Start. You can follow him on Twitter @JonAcuff and read his blog at jonacuff.com.


  1. Kulls

    Interesting bit of information for me to use.. This will help me for sure in some or other way. Putting results on top tip was worth to read

  2. CareerShift

    Very inspiring post! We have to take control of being unemployed and do what we can to fix it. I particularly liked your point about stopgap jobs. While they may not be the most attractive finds, they can sharpen skills, build our portfolios, and keep us humble. Plus, you never know what a stopgap job can lead to, such as a new opportunity. Great read!

  3. Kizi 10

    Think about your circles

    Get a stopgap job
    Put results at the top.
    I think if you try to do everything we can and will bring good results to your business problems.

  4. Maegan Anderson

    It all boils down to one phrase ‘Never stop searching until you finally got one’. I know there’s a lot of job waiting for us, it just that sometimes it doesn’t fit to our dream job qualification. My advice is have a lot of experience even it means a low salary, with that companies will run after you and you’ll have all the option of which job to choose. 🙂

  5. Links

    Well crafted! Emphases on achievement at the earliest lines of any resume is a winning style. Thank you

  6. yepi 10

    We all have the chance to START over and be awesome again.

    thank articles!

  7. Amanda

    This + God’s never early=Excellent

  8. Owl Jones

    These days, you might have to expand your search to other …umm…countries. After 3 years of unemployment, the only thing left for me to do was strike out on my own. Thank God I read “Start.”

  9. Sharon Portland

    This is a great article. And three advices are true. Expanding your job search even in other countries is the trend now. Specially with the draining economy like US. Stopgap job is also relevant. All of us have dream jobs and we want it full time of course but hello, odd jobs put money in our pockets too. And the idea of RESULT on top of the resume, I will definitely try this one 🙂 thumbs up.

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  11. Jessica Sweet

    Great article, Jon! I love your last tip about putting results first. It makes so much sense! Employers really want to know what you bring to the table – so answering that question immediately is genius.


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  15. yepi

    wow! i think, me too need work

  16. Kevin B. Brown

    You may need to expand your search to different cities? Different states? For most people, this just isn’t a possibility. Especially, considering they’re unemployed in the first place. The results paragraph at the top of resume sounds like good advice.

    • linda

      The thing is, finding a job all depends on who you know. My resume is fine, I’ve rewritten it at least 15 times. Finding a job in another city/state is a great idea, but if you don’t know anyone at the company you’re applying to, chances of getting in are even slimmer than they already are.

  17. yepi 10

    thank, because this things.
    3 Things You Should Do Right Now to Find a Job Faster
    i need it

  18. Gina Rogers

    Some of us aren’t in our 20’s anymore though! I appreciate the tips about stopgap jobs and putting achievements first on a resume. As another person said that makes alot of sense.

  19. Jess

    Very inspiring indeed ! I like the way you presented it. Straightforward and sensible. I learned a lot from this interesting article.
    Keep on writing !

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  21. Liz

    Brazen Careerist isn’t just read by 20 somethings who HAVE to find a job. Sometimes it’s read by 50 going on 60 somethings who are starting out anew after an extended absence from the workplace. It wasn’t my choice…but it is necessary. Just because I’m over 30 doesn’t mean I’m too old to use new ideas. I have gotten a stop gap job, I can’t move…but I’m going to try changing my resume. I have accomplished a lot during my lifetime! Even while I wasn’t “working” outside the home I was volunteering and was accomplishing a lot for schools, youth, sports teams and more!! Thanks for the ideas but don’t throw the oldsters out with the bathwater in the future PLEASE.

    PS Temp agencies are another stop gap option which might provide work that pays better. In fact, it is often a good way to see jobs that are open within a company and to find out what the culture is like. Sometimes it is an eye opening experience that lets you know it would be better to clean up after the snake than work there.

    • Bo

      Well said! I’m 38 and changing careers; it’s pretty common these days. If say, your spouse is the breadwinner, you can’t move, but you can heed the other advice. In my stop-gap job as a bartender, I network nightly with business owners, attorneys and others who can help me out. I’ve made some great connections so far and hope to put my masters degree to work very soon as a result of these referrals!

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    this is the obama economy isnt it great….democrats says it is so great…just think the food stamp president is proud of his poverty mentality….you can get a good paying part time minimum wage job with no benefits….

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  25. microzborn

    Point 3 is truly the key I think…Results are what matter to us all. Employers want to to know that we fit their goals. We are selling ourselves when we write a resume and we want to be sure we fit the bill. I think I would also add a fourth point. Seeking out self employment. I know its not possible in every field, but sometimes a career change to put yourself in control makes all the difference.


  26. Angel

    So this is a book for 20 something’s that need advice finding employment ?

  27. linda

    What makes you think we’re all in our 20s? I’m in my 50s and have been unemployed 2 years. This stuff applies regardless of age.

  28. Julio Gonzalez

    One of the best ways to find a job is to get in the habit of meeting new people. Attend networking events and who knows, you could meet a potential employer. The more people you know, the more referrals you will get if you ask around, and you will have a greater chance in landing a job. With so many people filling out job applications, what are the chances of being picked out of the thousands who have resumes better than yours? If all else fails, just pick up the yellowpage book and start calling small businesses and see if they’re hiring. If you make 100 calls, you’re bound to find someone who is willing to hire you. I hope this helps 🙂

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