The first of this series, 10 ways to improve your job search in the New Year, was written almost a year ago. After reading this post, please read the prequel.
As the New Year approaches, job seekers are anticipating employers to increase their payroll. This is an accurate assessment. However, until job seekers receive the acceptance letter, they have to continue to improve their job search.
Described below are some of the softer job-search steps. They are what job seekers sometimes ignore or think are not important. They are very important and often the first steps you must take to conduct a successful job search.
1. Forgive yourself
If you haven’t already forgiven yourself for being laid off, let go, or forced to quit, it’s not too late. You may be experiencing guilt, self-doubt, anger, and despondency to name a few. When I was laid off from marketing, I remember going through all of the aforementioned feelings. Now I think it was all wasted energy.
On the other hand, own the past. If you were to blame for losing your job, learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat them in your next job. One member of a job club I operate suggested this as a part of our mission statement. I think she was right on track.
If you are having a difficult time forgiving yourself, considering seeing a therapist, especially if these destructive feelings are hindering your job search. Most health insurance policies cover mental health. Look into the health insurance you or your spouse are purchasing.
2. Take a short break
I advise a week off after you’ve lost your job. You need time to get your head straight. Your emotions will be frazzled. And there’s also taking care of your finances, e.g., applying for unemployment.
However, if you’re newly unemployed, now is not the time to take the three-month vacation you’ve accumulated during the tenure of your previous job. This will put you behind the eight-ball in terms of getting into the job search and showing a gap on your resume.
3. Dive into your job search with gusto
Now that your break is over, it’s time to put a concerted effort into your job search. Determine how you’re going to conduct your job search. Make a plan or have someone help you create a sound plan for your search. Many job seekers make the mistake of searching for work online as their only means.
The methods of searching for work that are most successful from best to worst are: face-to-face networking, attending professional affiliations, utilizing a recruiter or staffing agency, combining LinkedIn with face-to-face networking, and using job boards. You don’t have to use all of these methods, as you don’t want to spread yourself thin.
4. Let others know you’re out of work
As simple as this sounds, plenty of job seekers are reluctant to tell their friends, neighbors, relative, former colleagues, etc., that they’re out of work. Not only should you not feel embarrassed, you are missing opportunities to network. (This is discussed in the prequel.)
Most people understand that people sometimes lose their job. It’s likely they have also lost their job. It’s a known fact that people want to help you, so let them.
5. Be good to yourself
You’ve heard of work/life balance. I believe there’s also job-search/life balance. In other words, don’t burn out during your job search. In a recent job club meeting, I asked the members what they did during the Christmas holiday. Many of them talked about making connections with valuable recruiters.
But the ones who also impressed me were the ones who said they took some time off to decompress, sprinkled in with some job searching activities. You must remember that your unemployment is temporary, and during this time there are other important aspects of your life.
6. Don’t play the numbers game
At times I have to remind job seekers of this destructive practice, where they will say, “In a month I’ll have been out of work for more than a year.” Obsessing over the time you’ve been out of work will hurt your morale and, therefore, your job search.
You may reach the point where you’ve been out of work longer than six months, so you’ll need the assistance of people more and more. Some people you’ve relied on for help may have fallen of the face of the earth. Reconnect with them in a casual way, while also reminding them you’re still looking for work.
Now read the the prequel to this post.