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September 29, 2010   

The Secrets to Staying Motivated in a Stressful Job Search

Secret #1: You DO Have Power! 

10 Steps You Can Take Now to Speed Your Search

Sure, it's important to know what's happening in the world.  But if you're looking for a job in today's job market, it's a challenge to stay tuned in to the news on a daily basis.  Discouraging reports, figures and anecdotes don't help when you're trying to maintain your motivation.
 
So what can you do to stay active and optimistic?  In this issue and the next two, I'll introduce strategies you can apply to stay energized and positive.  
 
The first strategy is quite possibly the most important.  Adopt this approach and it will not only support you through your job search, it will likely speed it measurably to a successful outcome. 
 

Secret #1: 
You DO have POWER in your search.

In any job search - but especially today - we all have times when we feel powerless.  It seems as though everyone else is in control of our destiny.  We keep constant watch on our inbox for responses to resumes.  We wait endlessly for calls to schedule interviews.  We anticipate offers that just don't come through.  It's no wonder many people have stopped looking.

Don't give up!
You have more CONTROL than you realize.

Years ago, I came upon the visual depiction of the job search that appears below.  I regret that I don't know whom to credit for it because it has helped so many of the job-hunters with whom I work stay active and upbeat until they land a job.  Here it is: 

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO YES! 

What does this mean? It illustrates the fact that every job search has negative results -- and while you may not be able to avoid them altogether, you CAN control the speed with which you get through them. 

  1. You can initiate more networking inquiries, continually building and expanding your list of contacts. 
  2. You can stay in regular touch with those in your network, sending periodic updates on your search.
  3. You can continue to identify openings, responding to appropriate job ads and postings as soon as you see them. 
  4. You can seek openings before they are listed by reading about innovations, trends and changes in your industry as well as by joining professional associations, attending meetings and conferences (particularly when they occur nearby).
  5. You can offer to take on projects on a freelance basis or even for free if you feel the opportunity is genuine and promising. 
  6. You can include a cover letter highlighting your unique traits and experience every time you apply for a position. (Because many people do not, this can prove a real advantage in addition to another opportunity to sell yourself.) 
  7. You can send a follow-up letter or e-mail after every interview. (Many candidates fail to do this, as well; so when you do, you differentiate yourself in a positive way from the competition.)
  8. You can send another follow-up letter or e-mail a week or two later, offering more detail about your qualifications. 
  9. You can send samples of your work, achievements or referrals from colleagues when you know you've made it to "the short list" of finalists. 
  10. You can write to the hiring manager when you haven't gotten the position to affirm your continued interest, should there be a change or another opportunity.

A recent college graduate I know printed the graphic above and taped it to his computer to remind him that he is NOT powerless.  You can do the same.  Put it where you'll see it when you need a lift: on your computer, your mirror or refrigerator -- to remind you that...

...you DO have POWER.
Use it to control (and speed up) your job search.

 
Whether or not you stay tuned into the news, be sure you DO stay tuned to the next two issues of this newsletter.  You'll discover more secrets and practical steps you can take to sustain the energy and motivation you need to speed your job search to a successful conclusion.