Advice for the Newly Unemployed, Part 3
September 1, 2009
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The first article in this series covered my recommendations on financial planning issues related to becoming unemployed. The second article, by Belinda Plutz, discussed things you must do before beginning your job search. This article offers practical and insightful tips on how to maintain a positive attitude while seeking new employment opportunities.
MANAGING YOUR JOB SEARCH
by Belinda Plutz of Career Mentors
Job hunting can be a very frustrating process. People either don’t return your phone calls as quickly as you hoped they would, or they ignore your call completely, and more often than not email and letters go unanswered. Opportunities seem hidden from view. Time is limited, the clock is ticking and you want results NOW. So how do you keep up your spirit, energy and commitment for as long as it takes?
MONITOR YOUR INNER MONOLOGUE (you know… those words that run around in your head automatically and are usually uncensored)
If you continue to say negative things to yourself (I’m never… I can’t… I won’t…) your actions will reflect this negativity. If you insist on telling yourself that the process is futile, and won’t yield a job that will satisfy your needs, you could very well wind up with just this result. One way to fix this is to actively listen to what you say internally and consciously work at replacing that negative self-talk with positive (or, at the very least, more neutral) words.
LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE
We all know people who, for whatever reason, are always negative or overly critical or who couldn’t offer an encouraging word even if they were paid for it; real “downers” to put it succinctly. What you need to do is to associate with people who feel good about themselves and about you. They can help bolster your spirits and energy. Being with people who radiate good feelings and enjoy whatever activity they are doing is essential.
COMMIT (IN WRITING) TO GOALS AND WEEKLY TARGET ACTIVITIES
Plan what needs to be done each week and break the projects into do-able time frames. Make sure that you set realistic goals so you can meet them and keep things moving along.
GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS – BIG AND SMALL
When larger goals take time to realize, it is essential to give yourself credit for the intermediate steps that you’ve taken along the way. For example, if you have two good weeks and then a not-so-good week, you can neutralize or mitigate the negatives by looking back at the positives and focusing on them.
WORK AT MANY JOB HUNTING ACTIVITIES SIMULTANEOUSLY — NOT SEQUENTIALLY
If you only focus on one thing at a time, you will not maximize your effectiveness. Put more of your time and energy into the activities that have the greatest potential for generating positive results. Keep moving the process along. For example, if you have an interview that looks promising, keep working to get others lined up behind it. If the first interview doesn’t result in a job offer, there will be other things happening and you won’t have to keep “restarting.” Work methodically, and try not to let the lows (or the highs, for that matter) of job hunting affect your productivity.
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU CAN CONTROL ONLY WHAT YOU DO
Unfortunately, you cannot control what others do or think or say. But, even controlling only what you do, means that you have a lot to control. Make sure that you take care of all necessary tasks, not just the ones that are easy. Follow-up is critical when you are job hunting. And you must do what you say you will do — always.
FIND A WAY TO ENJOY SOME PART OF THE PROCESS
Everyone is unique. Everyone is better at some things than others. If you can find pleasure in some (or even one) of the things that you have to do anyway, the process will go by much quicker and be less painful.
KEEP A BALANCED PERSPECTIVE
You’re not working, but that’s not all bad. Spend some time with family and friends, take a course, renew a hobby, do some volunteer work. Job hunting should be a part-time job if you are working or a “light” full-time job if you are not. Spending too much time on the hunt can be counter-productive. The goal is to work smart and hard, not just hard.
Belinda Plutz can be reached by telephone at (212) 947-3180 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Career Mentors, Inc. 2009