Job searching and career transitions can be unbelievably taxing in so many ways, including emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. No one can totally shield themselves from the daily twists and turns of a job search, a rude voice at the other end of the line, HR departments that won’t return your phone calls, etc. This is a window of time that will “show you what you are made of” and push you outside your comfort zone. Here are some tips and thoughts to help you navigate through your job search:
- It goes without saying that you need a plan. Make sure you have literally written out (not just thought about) your driving motivators, your goals, your brand identity, marketing strategy and target markets.
- You are in control of setting the peg in terms of someone’s first impression of you and your skills, so make sure your online and offline presence (i.e., your resume and Linked In profile) look as good as possible.
- Manage your time by mapping out when you are going to work on your job search and what main task you will work towards accomplishing each day. I counsel my clients to set aside less time then they think they need (or have), and to set up systems to automate, ditch, or farm out, in order to get things done. This reserves your energy and enthusiasm. The primary thing is to get job board searches down to just a few minutes each day, or a few times a week. Job board activity is generally the most taxing and least profitable activity in your job search.
- Develop a more positive mindset. My engineer clients are the first ones to tell me they look at things using critical analysis. In a job search, focus on consistent strategies and meeting daily and weekly goals, is the skill that will preserve your sanity. One activity I have seen work in this area of “performance management” is to write down a list of things you are grateful for each day. The reason is because the mind is a muscle and focusing on both small and large things you are grateful for gently trains the mind and the heart to focus on positive events, which can dramatically affect your attitude and outlook.
- Understand marketing 101. Imagine I list a bike for sale on Craigslist. 16,000 people see the ad, I get three calls and sell the bike. Did I fail because 15,997 people didn’t want to purchase my item? We must put marketing in perspective and understand that, no matter how wonderful we are, you will only be appealing to a certain number of people in a certain time frame. Luckily you only need one to WIN!
- Keep your energy and spirits bright by starting each day doing something you love.
- As much as possible, filter out negativity from your life – especially during a job search! That includes negative media and people. If those closest to you are creating negativity, try gently reminding them that right now you need their strong, positive support. Each time you are aware you are having negative thoughts about your job search (“It’s been 3 months – when is this going to end?” “Why didn’t he call me back?” Etc…) then try to send those thought gremlins out for a coffee break and refocus on achieving your short term (daily) goals.
Setting up systems and initiating your job search strategies consistently are two ways to take the hills and valleys out of the road as well as your emotions. You are a temporary marketer right now. The more you learn how to navigate this section of your life the more empowered and excited you will be for the future!
A job search can be humbling – but I have never met humble person I didn’t love! It should never be a poor reflection on your self worth. Be smart, correct your course when you have to, get professional help if necessary, and keep your eye on reaching your career goals.