Looking for a job can be a stressful and protracted process. You should expect to spend about 6 months before you land the position you want, if not longer. Half a year is a long time to be in limbo. The challenge is compounded when you are currently without work. An individual must draw on many characteristics to successfully navigate a job search. You’ll need to tap your reserves of organization, articulation, decisiveness, and perseverance. There is one trait that governs them all: patience. A job search takes time. To maintain the energy, morale, and accuracy you need to obtain a new position, you must have patience. Here are three ways patience guides a job search.

1. Sustaining your pace. Job searches can come with wild swings of activity, from days of procrastination to long hours of panicked applying. Patience allows you to settle into the season of looking with measured, strategic efforts toward your goal. Engaged time researching employers, applying to positions, and connecting with your network is rewarded with rest in the midst of a stressful time.

2. Avoiding errors. Formatting résumés and customizing cover letters requires careful thought and attention. It can be a tedious process. You might be tempted to rush a batch out the door with sloppy results. Employers will recognize and appreciate the caliber of work you put in when you spend the time to do it well.

3.  Focusing your efforts. As a job search drags on, you may be tempted to think any job will do. You need patience to stay cognizant of what is important to you in a position that will be a good fit over the long term. While a job search may feel like an eternity, being stuck in a bad job for years feels even worse. Patience maintains perspective, enabling you to be successful.