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

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Avoid a Job Hunt Rut

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

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Does this sound familiar? You see a post for that dream job and promptly submit your resume – only to hear nothing for days, then weeks. You wonder why you didn’t receive a response as you continue to scour postings for the next position that seems like an ideal match.

If your job search has hit this type of rut, take heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t just as qualified as your competition. It could just mean your job search strategy is all wrong.

In a job market this tough, you need to be more aggressive than ever to get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters. The key is to gain as much exposure as possible. The more you put your resume out there, the greater your chances for grabbing a hiring manager’s attention.

Here are a few ways to jump start your stalling job search:

Utilize job boards

Employers once relied solely on high-priced headhunters to gain access to highly-qualified candidate pools. Now, they can turn to the Internet – namely, job boards — where job seekers post their resumes. The boards match qualified applicants with open positions based on employers’ customized criteria.

While most job seekers are familiar with mainstream boards such as Monster, they may not realize there are literally hundreds of boards tailored by industry, profession, or diversity group. For those concerned with privacy issues, most boards even offer the option of keeping certain details of your contact information confidential until an employer wants to reach you. Most allow job seekers to post a resume free of charge, so there’s really no good reason to ignore these opportunities.

Send a follow-up letter

If you have already sent in your resume only to yield no result, don’t be afraid to take another shot. Rather than just submitting your resume a second time with a standard cover letter, use a follow-up letter. This approach is particularly useful if you’ve updated your resume recently and would like a chance to submit the new-and-improved version. A follow-up letter allows you to reintroduce yourself while demonstrating you are very serious about a company or position.

Unlike making a telephone call to follow up, a letter doesn’t catch the employer by surprise or put him or her in the awkward position of talking to you without the benefit of your resume for reference. Keep the letter short and to the point, but be sure to focus on why you would be ideal for the position. The goal is to lure the reader into revisiting your resume, giving your application a second chance.

Prepare a 30-second speech about yourself

Whether you attend an organized networking event or happen to run into a former colleague in the park, you should be prepared to capitalize on opportunities to establish professional contacts that can lead to your next job. Many job seekers lament that networking events, like those sponsored by college alumni organizations or professional associations, are a waste of time. After all, you meet so many new people and have such a brief window of time to make any impression at all. Before you’ve finished with small talk, the conversation is over without even getting to the reason you were there in the first place.

Going in prepared, however, can make all the difference. Creating and practicing an “elevator pitch” – a 30-second speech summarizing your professional qualifications and goals – can make the most of the limited time you have to establish new contacts. As an added bonus, you will also eliminate those terribly awkward moments when you struggle for what to say.

Take advantage of online networking sites

Setting up profiles on popular networking sites, such as LinkedIn, not only provides you with an online presence for your professional qualifications. It also helps you reconnect with former colleagues with whom you’ve lost touch. The wider your network of contacts, the more potential opportunities will come your way. Joining most of the popular online networking sites is free, so there’s really no excuse not to do it.

Of course, for any of these techniques to be effective, you need to be sure employers can not only find you, but will be impressed with what they see. That’s why it is crucial to make sure your resume is up to par and rich in keywords before these methods can jump start your job search.

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!

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