You are energized, excited, positive and motivated – you have finally made up your mind to find a new job and you are off to a great start.
Fast forward to 3 months, 6 months and even 18 months later. How do you feel? What is your energy like? Are you still excited about the possibilities.
Starting a new job search is like starting a new relationship. It requires us to be open, to be vulnerable, take chances even at the risk of getting disappointed or hurt in the process.
When a job search turns lengthy and uneventful, it is depressing and its effects can be crippling and often devastating for job seekers. It becomes easy to question your qualifications, your abilities, your market value and even your age.
Rather than falling into despair and giving in to the negative self-thoughts, here are a few things to keep you grounded in today’s job search:
A) Are you strapped for the long haul?: In today’s slow economy and tight employment conditions, your ideal job may take longer than you anticipated to land – yes, the opportunities exist, but in a competitive market where companies want to minimize their job search costs and larger pool of qualified candidates are actively seeking, it can take more than six months to a year.
Consider what you can do during that journey – if you are gainfully employed, it may mean improving your skillset in the meantime; if you are unemployed, it may mean taking up part-time or alternative work to sustain you during the process.
B) Is your professional resume to blame?: I have worked with so many jobseekers who have come to me, discouraged, disheartened and ready to give up and it was just a case of a poorly written resume. Before you start beating up on yourself, take a closer look at your offline and online brand representations.
Make sure you are marketing a targeted, focused resume with specific keywords, standout achievements and high-level job specifics. Avoid a lengthy, wordy resume that only tells employers what you have done, but not how well you have done it.
C) Are you glued to the computer all day?: While a large part of your job search activities will involve the social media and online technology tools, don’t fall into the trap of being make the computer your entire world.
Emails, Tweets, Facebook updates and newsfeeds are fine, but don’t forget to get out and connect with others – share resources, tools, tips and strategies, you never know where you will get your next referral.
D) Are you stepping outside your comfort zone?: As a confessed introvert, I can relate to the discomfort of networking and reaching out to new people, especially from a place of need, but challenge yourself and do it anyway.
Make a phone call, invite someone for coffee, hold your own networking meeting with employed and unemployed colleagues, create your personal advisory team, just do the uncomfortable anyway.
E) Are you minimizing isolation?: An aggressive job search will require you to stay focused, on schedule and organized, but don’t use it as an excuse to completely disconnect from others. Your personal job situation may only affect you and your immediate family, but you are NOT the only one going through it.
Find support groups through church, neighborhood, professional and other associations…the more you disconnect from others, the more you will become isolated and depressed.
To those of you still searching, still hoping and still trying, keep pushing and pushing until you reach success.