In our economy, it is neither abnormal nor shameful to be among the millions of job seekers who have been out of work for months at a stretch. And while the necessities of life require you to find employment as soon as humanly possible, many times your own approach to the job search can hold you back. In these cases, it’s most helpful to step back, examine what you’ve been doing, and make some changes. The following list discusses some common issues faced during a tough job search and ways that they can best be overcome.
Whether you have been the victim of the downsizing economy or have recently graduated from school, there are a number of reasons why you may find yourself unemployed and unable to quickly reenter the work force. Probably the first reaction to an extended period of unemployment is a burst of negative emotions such as depression, sadness, anger, and frustration. Such a state of mind, while normal, can be detrimental to your motivation for getting out there and really selling yourself to potential employers. Eventually, you WILL find a new job, but there are several things to do when you feel like giving up the search.
First of all, stop your search so that you can really investigate what you want out of your career. Write down what it is that drives you to live each day to the fullest and the values that you feel most strongly about. These lists will be the guiding force behind your new job search and give you the energy and inspiration you need to press on. Once you’ve singled out what you want to do and accept what you have been doing hasn’t been working, it’s time to regroup and ask yourself some probing questions about your job search and what you can do to boost its efficiency.
Try to diagnose the underlying problems with your search by first assessing your status. How many job offers and interviews have you had? How many calls have you received as a result of your applications? How many jobs have you applied for and what contacts have you made in your job hunt? How many employers have you followed up with about your applications? Where are you looking for leads? Are you using social media to its fullest extent?
Once you’ve examined the health of your job search and pinpointed the weak points of your approach, it is time to reach out to your contacts that may be of some help to you. These people may include friends and family, past bosses and co-workers, industry professionals, or anyone who may be available to give you advice. Contact them. Ask questions and really listen to what they have to say. You may ask questions such as, “What would you do in my situation?” or, “Where can I go to learn more about my industry?” The important thing is to take notes and act on the advice you’re given.
Finally, don’t let your job-search struggles allow you to neglect yourself. By focusing on your own health, eating well and exercising, sleeping well, and being engaged in your community, you will not only have more confidence in yourself but access to an external support group and others who are in similar situations. By realizing that you are not alone in your plight and that there are people out there willing to help you and give you solace, you will become reinvigorated in your search, have a more focused approach, and become more likely to give your all.