Making a career change can bring up a lot of negative emotions. Most of us are not excited about looking for a new job, even when we know it’s the best move for our careers and our sanity. When I was acting, every audition was like an interview for a new job, and I had to get used to a lot of rejection.
The job market can be an unfriendly place, filled with rejection and waiting. I’ve had to learn to change how I think about the process of finding a job, and I try to help others do the same.
I had to start thinking about the job hunt as an opportunity to learn about a new company and explore different areas of an industry. Networking was no longer about trying to meet the right people and land a job, but about making genuine connections with others and learning what they liked and disliked about their industries. I also had to stop comparing myself to others and start seeing their career successes as evidence that I, too, could advance in my industry.
Bringing negative thoughts into the job search only makes us miserable, impedes our progress, and drains our energy. We are less likely to spend our time on something that we have negative feelings about. Instead, we are likely to push back and procrastinate.
To lesson some of the tension that comes with the job search, you need a clear strategy. I personally love strategies that are broken down into weekly and daily tasks. All good job search strategies should include research, networking, building your online brand (I love LinkedIn for this), and applying to companies directly.
And, of course, every clear strategy must start with a goal.
Creating a Plan
The first step is to think about what you are looking to accomplish — not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. Where do you see your career in the next five years? Ten years? These long-term goals will affect the kinds of companies and jobs you apply to.
I generally advise people to create six-month job search plans. The length of your job search will depend on your effort, time commitment, salary requirements, industry. It will also depend, in large part, on the state of the economy overall. It can take the average unemployed job seeker more than seven months to find a new job. A strategy with a projected end date can keep you focused and help you set various smaller goals along the way.
Once you have a clear plan in place, the language around your job search has to change – not only in terms of what you tell others, but also what you tell yourself. If your job search involves a lot of negative talk about the economy or your competition, you will not feel very motivated to execute your job search strategy,
Pay attention to who you discuss your job search with. The person who is always complaining about their job search and the lack of opportunities is not the best person to go to for career advice. Find a network of like-minded individuals who can support you in your search and hold you accountable to your goals.
The next step is to set your intention. Work toward it with confidence, knowing that the right opportunities will flow into your life at the perfect time. As you work on accomplishing your mission, keep the positive energy flowing.
A version of this article originally appeared on BusinessCollective.
Jasmine Briggs works with professionals on manifesting their dream careers and supports clients in career exploration, setting career goals, employment search techniques, and resume writing. She coaches individuals regarding the current job market, their personal brands, and their search for employment. She supports individuals in transitioning into new careers, strengthening their interview skills, and creating winning resumes and cover letters.