As New Year recedes in the rear-view mirror, the reality sets in: job search is just as time-consuming and frustrating as ever. You’re tempted to let your efforts lapse — it’s cold; I’ll restart in the spring! Here are 3 typical ways people get stuck and how you can combat the inertia:
You don’t really want to find a job NOW. You have a job, and even though it’s not the best, you decide it’s better than having to look. Or you’ve lost your job, but you have savings or severance to tide you over. Or you thought you wanted a career change, but a few steps into it, you feel it can wait for a better time.
Lack of urgency kills many a job search because if there is no time pressure (or financial pressure) you have to create your own momentum. The antidote: fight mind games with more mind games. If your mental chatter is telling you it’s okay to stay as you are, take a good look at your situation. Imagine that it is 3, 6 or 12 months from now. Will you be happy? Imagine that a friend pushed on with a search and found something great. Will you be content, or will envy creep in? Imagine that when you finally begin your search months down the road, it stretches out longer than you expected (this is common!). Will you be feeling time/money urgency and wishing you had started sooner? Truth is, many people are motivated by fear. So use the fear of regret, envy, unemployment, or financial ruin to create urgency in your search now.
You don’t really want THAT job. Maybe you’re working your search but what you’re turning up doesn’t thrill you. Could be, you’re targeting the wrong industries, companies and/or roles. Even if you’ve spent years developing your career, it is never too late to shift.Top job candidates show genuine interest, and the best way to do that is to amass deep knowledge on the topics, challenges and trends affecting your prospective employers. If conducting research and informational interviews isn’t enjoyable, you won’t enjoy the job either.
Stop now and check your targets. Can you aim at a different industry sub-sector, or same industry but different companies (e.g., smaller or bigger, start-up or established), or same industries but different roles? You will still be able to use many of the contacts and information you have gained, and you definitely can use the job search technique you have honed, so your earlier efforts are still worthwhile. But don’t assume you should just press on when your motivation has stalled – you may need to rethink your targets.
See Also: Tweet Your Way to a New Job
You don’t really want to engage in that ACTIVITY. Job search has many facets, and ideally you mix them up. You focus on your targets – reading about them, conducting informational interviews to glean insider insights, following their press and social media. You focus on yourself – refining your resume, cover letter and online presence, taking care of your energy and mindset with regular breaks. You focus on the mechanics of your search – maintaining your contacts, following up on your leads, troubleshooting where you’re getting no or low response.
If your momentum is waning, are you doing too much of the same thing, becoming bored and less effective? You can’t just research your targets; you need to reach out. You can’t just reach out; you need to follow up. You can’t follow up the same way to the same people; you need to adjust your approach based on what’s working. That can mean different follow-up or different people to contact or both. You can’t just push, push, and push on your job search; you need to build in regular breaks to ensure you don’t burn out.
Part of what makes a job search so challenging is that you need a sustained effort, yet results are up and down, and your mood and momentum follow accordingly. Manufacture the urgency to continue, refine your targets, and mix up your activities so you don’t get stuck. And build in a support system for the inevitable ups and downs, whether it’s a good friend to call, a specific treat that jump-starts your energy, or a designated coach or group for structured accountability.
Courtesy of Life Reimagined.
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