If you’ve been in a job search for more than a few months, you already know that one of the greatest challenges is maintaining a positive attitude. Without it, going through the motions can feel as demotivating as running a race in lead boots. You begin to think "What’s the use? I’ve already sent out 50 resumes this week with nothing to show for it."
If you find yourself in an emotional slump, here are three things you can do to regain a positive, optimistic outlook:
Write out an action plan that includes job search activities in these four areas:
- Search and respond intelligently to online and print job openings. To optimize your results take the time to customize your cover letters to each opportunity.
- Research potential employers to contact proactively in search of not-yet-posted job leads. Make sure your research includes contact names of key executive within the organizations. Again, customize your cover letters to illustrate your interest in their company and/or industry.
- Contact members of your personal network of friends, former colleagues and professional association members to let them know of your search. Continually build your network through new professional associations, job fairs, trade shows and business networking events. Involve yourself with others who will tell you of job leads in the “hidden” job market.
- Invest in an online resume distribution that allows you to target your resume to employers and recruiters most likely interested in your qualifications. You’ll see quick results allowing you to jumpstart your interview activity level.
Once you have your action plan, schedule these activities just as you would if employed on the job. Plan your work and work your plan.
Choose an accountability partner and support group. These are essential to keep you motivated and on track with your action plan and schedule. An accountability partner helps you reach your activity goals. A live support group (vs. online chat group) keeps you actively involved with others who understand your situation and can lend emotional support. Caution: avoid negative groups of job seekers who will drag you down by their pessimistic outlook.
Allow yourself to enjoy simple pleasures. Spend an evening with a great book. Take a walk on a sunny afternoon. Play football with your son. Meet a friend at a coffee shop for a long chat. Often job seekers think they don’t deserve any fun until they’ve found a job. The truth is there is more time for simple pleasures while unemployed than any other time in life. Once you’ve put your job-search action plan into practice and you’ve spent your time wisely in productive activities, reward yourself a little. You deserve it!