Searching for a job can be an emotional roller coaster. Once you’ve made the decision to move on from your current company, there’s a goal in sight, and the desire to get there is often your primary focus.
But searching for a job, and in particular–the right job–takes time. As a career strategist and job search coach, it’s not enough for me to just advise you to “keep calm and carry on”–I can offer so much more. To get you started, I want to give you five key tips you can use to manage your stress and keep you from being flung off the ride.
1. Have a job search plan. Knowing what you want to do; the type of company, culture, and industry you want to work in; and a clear idea of your career goals, are essential elements to forming the picture of what job you’re looking for. But the key to finding that job is to have more than a picture of your destination. You also need critical tools to help you navigate the hills and drops between where you’re at and where you want to be.
Those tools include:
- a commitment to networking
- connecting with people who will be your job search “running mates” or “ambassadors”
- creating a list of companies, industries, and position levels you plan to pursue
- being prepared to clearly communicate what you want people to know about you
With these four tools to help keep you on the track, you’ll greatly improve your odds of arriving at the job you want.
2. Block out time for your job search. Dedicate a certain amount of time each week (or day, if you’re unemployed) to searching for leads and making contact with those who can help you. Job hunting is often discouraging work; it’s very easy to keep putting it off until later in the day or another day. The most reliable way to ensure you make steady progress toward your new job is to commit time on your calendar for searching and connecting with the right people.
Having one or more blocks of time dedicated each week or day to job searching helps you keep moving toward your goal and helps you take the breaks you need to avoid discouragement.
3. Keep a calendar of your activities. This will give you a visual for what you’ve done. On the days when you’re feeling low and that little voice in the back of your head is telling you that you haven’t done enough, you can see your effort. Listing what you did also helps you see what parts of your plan are working and what parts you might be spending too much or too little time on. Remember to acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your successes, too.
4. Pace yourself. Some people say that searching for a job is a full-time job. That may be true in theory, but the truth is you can’t put 40-60 hours a week into searching for your next role. You’ll burn yourself out. You’ll get frustrated and the negative energy you create from it will ultimately show through while you’re networking and interviewing.
Instead, create a reasonable balance and take care of yourself. Go to the gym. Get a few projects done around the house. Spend time with your family. Looking for a new job is often a long roller coaster ride and on this ride you must get out of the car at the top of the hills and enjoy the views. In fact, if you don’t, you’ll likely get sick on the drops.
5. Create a gratitude list. Believe it or not, your mindset, attitude and confidence are just as important as your skills when searching for a new role. How you “show up” can make or break whether or not someone in your network refers you to someone they know or interviews you for a job.
One of the best ways to keep your head in the right place is to acknowledge the good things in your life. Showing gratitude, even if you do it all by yourself in private, will have a positive effect on your eyes, smile, posture, handshake, tone of voice, ability to engage with others, and confidence. (Keeping a good attitude is the secret sauce for getting the role you want, and the special ingredient for that sauce is being thankful.)
Using these five tips will make the job search roller coaster more manageable, maybe even fun. They will also help you arrive at the start of your new role excited and energized, rather than relieved you’re anywhere than still on the ride.
Julia is a Career Strategist and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach based in the Bay Area. She helps career-focused professionals showcase their unique abilities and talents in order to amplify their presence in their chosen fields and when re-entering the job market. Julia uses her extensive leadership experience in executive management, business development, team building and recruiting to help her clients have the career they always wanted. Learn more about Julia at www.JuliaHolian.com, www.LinkedIn.com/in/JuliaHolian, https://Twitter.com/JuliaHolian (@JuliaHolian) and www.Facebook.com/JuliaHolian.