Motivational Job Search Tips
“Rejections are not unlike breakups,” says Marian Schembari of New York City. “I remember one time I was rejected from the perfect job and spent the day in bed like a love-struck teenager eating ice cream and watching movies. Maybe not the most productive way to spend my time, but it definitely made me feel better!”
Anyone who has ever suffered through long-term unemployment can identify with Schembari’s scenario, and such comforting may be just what is needed before sending out another application. But what happens when your desire to persevere needs an extra boost?
Before reaching for another scoop of Ben & Jerry’s, check out these motivational tips from experts and fellow job seekers.
Start your day with structure
“Get up every morning at your usual time and dress as if you’re going to work — because you are going to work, except now your work is finding a new job,” says Richard S. Deems, co-author of “Make Job Loss Work for You.”
While it may be tempting to sleep in or lounge around in pajamas, getting your day moving can provide a psychological boost. “I think that keeping a schedule has helped me,” says Cherie C. of Denver, Colorado, who has been unemployed for nearly a year. “I wake up with my partner as he prepares for work, shower, dress and tackle the job search.”
Use your computer — and then get away from it
Chances are you’ve used a computer to scout job postings, but have you explored the full potential of technology?
Erica Myers of London spent seven months without a steady job. During this time, she learned new ways to connect to others and get an edge in the application process. Her tips to rev up job-search motivation by rethinking computer time include:
- Use social networking sites and Google searches to find a person to contact directly instead of sending a blind résumé.
- Build an online portfolio or a free website. (It not only looks great and tech-savvy, but it secretly gets you organized.)
- Read the websites of companies that interest you.
- Use connections and build on social media by looking through friends lists for useful contacts, searching through Twitter keywords and adding people on LinkedIn.
- Designate certain periods of the day as computer time — then resist the urge to constantly check e-mail or see if one new position got posted. Too much screen time can zap energy. Instead, find other productive ways to pass the time.
“Do as much face-to-face networking as possible,” Deems says. “Even if you’ve talked with your network two weeks ago, contact them again.” He also is a fan of hand-delivering applications, noting that the return rate for mail-ins is about 3 to 5 percent.
While some job seekers may feel guilty about spending free time doing anything besides looking for employment, exploring interests can be rejuvenating — and potentially rewarding — during a trying time.
“If someone is job hunting without getting the response they want, volunteering at a local hospital or for a nonprofit organization where they will meet new people who can extend their networking reach is a great game plan,” says Debra Yergen, author of “Creating Job Security Resource Guide.” “Not only will they keep their skills sharp, they’ll also have an opportunity to make a larger networking base aware of their availability.”
Give yourself a break
The familiar advice of persistence paying off holds true for finding a job. After all, you can’t land a position if you don’t even apply. Yet, while dedication will pay off in the long term, sometimes it helps to step away for a bit.
“On days when I lack motivation and don’t want to send a résumé, I really try to push myself to keep working, but sometimes I’ve found it’s best to wait a day,” Cherie C. notes. “Sending a résumé while in a sad or defeated mood could lead to typos or other errors that could cost me consideration for the job. I take a short break and try to refresh myself.”
It is easy to feel frustrated when your inbox is filled with rejections or (worse yet) you aren’t even acknowledged after pouring your heart into landing a seemingly perfect position. Job seekers are often hard on themselves when faced with such disappointments, but it pays to remember that setbacks are only a bump on a long career path that will have ups and downs. Take a look at your résumé to remind yourself of what you have accomplished, and when you’re feeling better about your capabilities, get back to sending it out. Someone out there is waiting to read it.
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