Staying Motivated throughout the Job Search

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We all have those days when it’s difficult to stay motivated.  And if you’re looking for a job – a task that can drag on for weeks and weeks with no end in sight – it may become even more difficult to maintain your enthusiasm and stay positive as time goes by.  Obviously, getting discouraged is the last thing anyone wants while trying to get things moving and land the perfect position.  So here are a few tips to help keep you motivated:

Reward Yourself

While the ultimate reward is that great job you’ll eventually snag, it’s important to treat yourself along the way.  There are dozens of ways you can go about this.  Perhaps you reward a great week of job hunting with a Friday night movie or happy hour with friends.  If you need more encouragement along the way, unwinding with a favorite TV show or a bowl of ice cream can help get you through a long day of job applications.  Or maybe you’re the type of person who needs little incentives throughout the day, such as a quick stroll through the park or a flip through your favorite magazine.  It’s imperative to give yourself something to look forward to, if only to clear your head from all of the time and energy you spend looking for a job.  But also try to truly position these indulgences as rewards – things you can enjoy if you reach the goals you have set for yourself.  It’s great to go party with the guys at 5pm, but if you do it every single day regardless of whether or not you have been productive, it is less likely to be a huge motivator.

Find an Accountability Partner

When it comes to getting things done, it can be easy to blow your responsibilities off and procrastinate for a bit, but far more difficult to let someone else down.  So find someone you can trust – a person that you know will hold you to your work – and check in to update them on your progress.  Doing this also keeps things in perspective for you, and it forces you to take a look at your actual progress.  Sometimes it’s helpful to choose an accountability partner who is trying to achieve a goal of their own – a fellow job seeker, perhaps – so that you can build off of each others’ momentum and support each other.

Create a Working Environment Conducive to Your Work Style

Since you’re likely going to be sitting in one place for an extended period of time while you’re looking for a job, try to create a working environment that is conducive to work.  For some people, this means removing all distractions.  For others, it means creating a friendly space full of personal touches.  Some individuals may need to select one space and stick to it, so that they can train their minds to go into “work mode” whenever they enter this space.  Others may need to vary their setting in order to avoid becoming too antsy.  The best, most productive working environment is different for everyone, so figure out your style and play to your strengths.

Staying motivated is difficult – just don’t get disheartened when you’re not feeling completely jazzed about the job search.  It’s perfectly fine – and actually advisable – to take breaks every now and then. And while inspiration itself can be difficult, working on ways to inspire yourself is something that’s much easier to manage!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Make New Goals for Your Career Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Your resume is the most important vehicle for sending a positive first impression of you and your skills to hiring managers.  However I hope a strong resume isn’t the only strategy in your tool box for 2011. Many people discount the value of New Year’s Resolutions but recognize the power in writing down intentions. Make a commitment to a successful job search in the coming year by defining your direction. Use the list below or be inspired to come up with your own!

1.  “I will target my job search efforts instead of using the old shotgun approach.”

It’s so easy to send your resume to multiple sites via the Internet, but results are not always optimal. Your resume may become one of hundreds in the hiring manager’s inbox. Target jobs of greatest interest and be diligent about your interactions with those companies as noted in the following intentions for the New Year.

2.  “I will expand my list of contacts by 2 people or organizations each week.”

Add contacts face-to-face, via phone, or electronically. Help new contacts see you as a viable partner in the organization by highlighting how your strengths can further their mission.

3.  “I will improve my resume by emphasizing accomplishments and recent experiences.”

Accomplishments can be communicated to new contacts as well as in revisions of your resume and cover letter.

4.  “I will participate in regional job fairs.”

Job fairs are a great opportunity to reach your weekly contacts goal, make you more visible, and expand your knowledge of the local job market.

5.  “I will make cold calls to regional prospects.”

Calling prospective employers helps you in many ways. You become more than a name in the endless string of resumes. The relationships you develop may leverage an interview and eventually a position.

6.  “I will develop action plans and present to major companies in my job search.”

The action plan is a great strategy and clearly sets you apart from other candidates. Taking time to research the corporation and create a plan that addresses company needs or goals communicates your initiative and unique talents.

7.  “I will use business intelligence and corporate research to revise my cover letter.”

Do research on companies to identify values, projects, and initiatives. Incorporate information into the cover letter by telling prospective employers how your experience and talents solve their problems.

8.  “I will become more active in my professional and community organizations.”

Being active in organizations not only enhances your networking, but may also help you develop additional skills. Serving as member of a Board clearly conveys your leadership skills.

9.  “I will demonstrate my qualities as a solid candidate in every action with potential employers.”

Interactions at every level of the organization reflect on you in the application process. Each phone call, social network posting, and face-to-face contact will be reported up the chain of command. Be deliberate and considerate to be successful.

10.  “I will present a consistent brand in my resume, cover letter, and professional contacts.”

You may have heard President Obama’s brother-in-law describe the importance of behavior on a basketball court in assessing an individual’s overall character. Although not under constant scrutiny when applying for positions, you must be aware that behavioral inconsistencies will be magnified or misinterpreted. Display your best character.

11.  “I will develop an “elevator speech” to use with my expanding professional network.”

Encapsulate key aspects of your skills and professional brand into a 30­-second speech. Use it at every opportunity.

12.  “I will use old-fashioned thank-you notes to follow up all types of contacts and keep my name fresh in people’s minds.”

You may be tempted to send an email note to follow up on a professional meeting. The sheer number of emails most people receive is overwhelming. Sending a hand-written note is another way to distinguish oneself from the crowd.

13.  “I will use social networking sites to my advantage, including adding professional resources, such as resume and career advice consultants.”

Smart use of social media can accelerate progress in your job search. You expand your network and are more likely to be seen by potential employers. Clean up any questionable postings and present yourself professionally to make the best use of social media resources.

14.  “I will continue my professional development activities to improve my skills, expand my network, and maintain my enthusiasm.”

Participating in professional development activities becomes even more critical during employment gaps. You gain focus, new ideas, and strategic contacts.

Most importantly, don’t become discouraged.  A job search can be daunting, but with a specific plan, you can re-gain a sense of control and direction. Well-defined intentions can provide a framework for a successful job search. Be confident as you move into the New Year. Armed with effective goals, you can make this your year to secure a new job!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!