Most people will agree that conducting a job search, especially in this economy, is a necessary evil.
I agree that it’s necessary, but I disagree that it’s evil.
If done right, a job search need not be all doom and gloom. You can stay upbeat and you can actually, I’m whispering now, enjoy the process.
Here are some strategies for staying motivated and organized during your search, which will make you feel good about the process and the accomplishments you make, and ultimately land the job you want.
First you need a system for organizing your job search contacts and leads. Whether it’s a business card case, or whether you staple those biz cards into a spiral notebook, make sure you loose not one of them! Each card enables you to follow up after your meeting, and keep that communication going. Remember – you aren’t asking them for a job, you are asking what made them successful, what they like best about their job, and what advice can they give to you. You’ll also ask who they can recommend you talk to. Since everyone knows about 250 people, network well, and you’ll be adding 250 new people every time you network effectively.
You’ll also need a system for ensuring that you reach the smaller goals that will eventually add up to the larger goals.
Smaller goals include: networking with 5 people per week, which is 20 people per month; researching 1 new company every day via their websites, and any articles you can read about them, which results in 20 per month. Doing a “Google search” would be very helpful here.
Larger goals include scheduling 10 informational interviews per month. Top goals include scheduling actual interviews for open jobs. Keep on track with your smaller, less intimidating goals, and you’ll soon reach your more challenging goals.
You should also have a system in place to audit your job search process and my suggestion is that you do this once per month.
If you are not making it to the second round with anyone, perhaps you need the services of a career coach to test your interview skills. Having a fresh pair of eyes for your resume could only help, and those eyes should belong to a seasoned recruiter, or a career coach.
You also need to take regular breaks from this process. You can’t search for a job 10 hours a day because you will loose your mind. So, schedule time for the gym. Try cooking some dishes you always wanted to try. Volunteer for those less fortunate and you won’t have to search far for that. Try the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. I do that myself and get a lot out of it. It can be a life altering experience.
We all enjoy being productive. It just makes us feel good. So be focused, organized, set goals and keep pace with your goals. Stay motivated because little successes build on each other to be significant successes. Work seriously on your job search, but don’t forget to enjoy your life.
I read this great line once: You only have one life, but that is all you need if you do it right.
Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio is a career coach and co-founder of and has worked for the bluest of blue chips for the past 25 years. Her companies include Citigroup, Pfizer, and most recently as the COO of Campus Recruiting for Merrill Lynch. Connie also co-authors a career blog for Vault.com.
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