Getting a job is a full time job that requires drive, discipline, and determination. This is true no matter what your life situation. During the recession so many people were unemployed- it was easy to believe that there were no jobs. Many people just stopped looking, discouraged by the prospects, and discouraged by the process. The news is rife with stories of the long-term unemployed - people who failed to ignite at graduation or whose job flamed out with a layoff notice. It is easy to just chuck it all and give up looking, give up trying. Even with the recession long over I run into people who believe there are no jobs or that they are too inexperienced or have been unemployed too long to be considered.
Here is the risk- if you believe there are no jobs or you lack necessary years of experience you will act accordingly. If you do not look, you will not find a job. If you lack confidence you will sabotage your efforts. Even in the tightest market people get jobs and in great markets employers dig deeper into the pool to find enthusiastic candidates who lack experience; you want to be one of them.
When things feel hopeless that is the time to buck up and have a plan- to create your own purpose and your own schedule. It should be an ambitious schedule with time spent on all aspects of self-improvement and self-determination. YOU DETERMINE WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS. At any given time you can make the decision to find your purpose in life. It may not be the one you planned for a few years ago or even a few months ago; but it will be a good one if you commit yourself. Find your greatest strengths and interests. Believe in yourself!
Get out of bed early. Sounds simple. But even simple things are difficult when you find yourself without purpose and depressed by the prospects. Depression is a very common affliction of job seekers. One of the best cures is to get moving early. Tumble out of bed at 6:00 am with a plan and a whole world of possibilities will occur to you. You will be taking control of your life once again.
Start your day with exercise- running, walking, biking, tennis - all things you can do on the cheap to improve your outlook and your outward appearance. Do it first thing in the morning to get the endorphin kick and clear your head. Put exercise on the schedule just like you would any other appointment. Set the alert on your phone to remind and reinforce your plan. Exercising will open your mind to the possibilities and reduce the stress and anxiety you feel about not having a job. You will start to think about what you should be doing to move on with your life.
Exercise with a partner and you have your morning office meeting right there on the trail - and you will have the support you need for your new beginning. The support and encouragement will help tremendously. Bounce your ideas as you bounce your body!
Carve out a space where you can work each day. It is amazing how just having a place to go will make you more productive. A corner of a room or Starbucks works – as long as it is a place you feel comfortable and motivated to produce.
Set your goals. Start this process by listing your long-term and your short-term goals. What do you want to accomplish over the next 3 to 6 months? What do you want to accomplish over the next 3 to 5 years? Write a "to do" list each day with your goals in mind.
Get organized! Put together a job search binder and a calendar to organize your search. Your job search is an adventure... an opportunity to explore your field, meet new people, and find openings. Be positive – people will respond accordingly.
Get help! Doing it alone is arduous at best – find a career counselor, or a career planning class or read a career-planning book – The Serious Job Seeker (free online). You need to establish a solid strategy for getting a job and this is where to start. A professional can help move the process along with better results. (You would not try to set your own broken leg would you?)
Be well informed. Read the news for the geographical area you are searching for a job in and search professional journals for exciting breakthroughs, professional activities, ideas, and leads. Develop a list of possible companies to apply with and hit their web sites. Research a minimum of ten companies on your target list each day. You will be amazed how many companies are actually hiring. You only need to find one job – right?
Network! Use your contacts to connect with people inside of the organizations that interest you. Linkedin or friends and faculty can provide you with names of persons you might connect with for more information or a company visit. Send email expressing interest in the organization and describing your qualifications. Follow up with telephone calls and schedule appointments.
Follow-up with thank you email to anyone and everyone who gives you ideas, contacts, or leads. And get used to some rejection... don’t let it stop you! Just get more creative the next time.
People are getting hired now – Do not give up!