Looking for a job can be a demotivating experience - frustration when you don't get responses to your applications, angst about 'finding the right thing' and concern for your future. And that's even when you still have a job you want to move on from!
Add to this the extra stress and worry if you aren't working and the whole thing can be quite challenging to stay smiling and upbeat through the process.
And it can be lonely without people with a common interest to talk to throughout the day, bounce your ideas off or even be able to express your frustrations or share your experiences with.
It can take a lot of optimism and positive thinking to keep smiling whilst you are looking for a job.
Yet staying positive, focused and proactive is essential to find opportunities and then be able to put your best foot forward.
A planned approach to your time and activities can make a big difference to the experience you have whilst you are looking for work. Here's 7 Tips to help keep you positive, focused and on the right track.
1. Get Up, Get Dressed and Get Out - it's not hard to fall into the habit of hanging out in your pajamas for a few extra hours in the morning, sneaking in a quick game (Tetris, Angry Birds anyone?) and the day slipping away from you. Not only do you lose valuable job search time - it can become really demotivating and energy sapping.
This can take a bit of planning but make sure you have somewhere you need to be every day.
Some ideas include:
- Book in networking catch ups - they are part of the job search process anyway.
- Attend networking or other events in your industry or area of interest.
- Sign up for a course to develop or improve a skill set (you'll learn something and have people to talk to!)
- Have a coffee date with a friend, mentor or someone in your network
When you have somewhere you have to be it keeps you in a 'working' routine and gives your day purpose. Not to mention you are much more likely to uncover job opportunities when you are about out and about talking to people than when you are sitting at home.
2. Do what you'd regret you didn't do if you had the time. What I mean by that is - Imagine that you have your shiny new job and you're happily heading off to work. You think to yourself, "If only I'd known that I would get this great role, I would have used some of the time I wasn't working to ......" Whatever .... is for you - go to the gym, take up photography, cook more, go and see your Mum, reorganize your closet - whatever it is - work out how to work it into your routine.
Work on the basis that you are going to be successful in your job search. Give yourself permission to spend time on what you want.
3. Approach your job search like you would your work. Use the skills that you are good at in a job to use in finding your next role. Whether it's 'to-do' lists, mind maps, project plans - however you do your best work - use these to look for a job. When you can get into the zone where you excel at what you do - you will be much more productive than if you try and approach it in a way that is different from your usual working style.
4. Set Milestones to achieve your plan. Know what you want to achieve in a day, do it, tick it off and be satisfied that you are working towards your goal. If your only measure of success is getting a job - the process is not going to be much fun along the way. Have your own personal reward and recognition program and acknowledge when you've reached goals or achieved what you set out to on a daily or weekly basis.
5. Do a task and move on. If you have a planned set of activities - review job boards, check LinkedIn, search Twitter, look at some preferred employer websites for opportunities - do them and move on. Doing extra searches or obsessing on a particular website is not going to make opportunities that aren't there appear.
6. Work work hours. When you conduct your job search efficiently and with a plan - you don't have to be preoccupied every hour of every day with looking for a job. Take time off and pace yourself. You don't want to get a new job and be so exhausted by the process of finding it that you can't be your best when you start.
7. Talk about what you are doing. Looking for a job is nothing to be ashamed about. Talk to your family/whoever you live with/or would talk about work with - about who you are meeting with, talking to, how many calls you have made - whatever it is you are doing. Let them know your routine and how you are approaching your job or looking for a job.
This can help others understand your job of looking for a job and that your time to do this is valuable. It can also help avoid falling into the trap of being asked to pick up the dry cleaning / get the car serviced / buy the groceries just because you don't have somewhere you have to be (implement Tip 1 and you will have somewhere you have to be!) - as these tasks can really eat into your time. Be proud of what you are doing!
Have you got any tips that you've used when looking for a job? Let's chat!