In those first few weeks after being laid off, you devoted hours each day to updating your resume, scanning online job sites and writing dynamic cover letters.
But as each day has gone by without a nibble, you are finding your energy and enthusiasm waning. Looking for a new job seems more hopeless than exciting. You are having trouble sitting at your computer and keeping focused. “I’ll look after one more game of Solitaire…” you think. If any of this is done while still in your pajamas, you really are in dire need of a shake up!!
First things first: be kind to yourself. Looking for a job can be a full time job in itself. If you are still working it is difficult enough. But if you have been laid off, being out of work is an added stressor. So while you definitely need an organized plan, don’t beat yourself up when you deviate from it.
Now to that organized plan. Make a list of the most common job sites you use. If you haven’t already, add saved job searches on each of them so they automatically deliver potential jobs to your e-mail. In order to keep from being overwhelmed, sort them into a schedule. For example, focus on two each day of the week. But keep your schedule fluid. If there are no opportunities on either of the sites you had scheduled for a particular day, move on to the next two on your list. Document jobs you have applied to in order to prevent duplication and to follow up if necessary.
Stick to a routine as if you were still going to work each day. Get up at a regular time, shower and get dressed. Maintaining your usual habits will keep you feeling good about yourself. Commit to your job hunt a particular number of hours per day. You can break them up as you need to, or even add to them, but keep to a set minimum.
Don’t isolate yourself! Keep in touch with former co-workers if that is practical. Explore networking groups in your area. They can be an invaluable source of connections, support and advice. If there aren’t any, or even if there are, consider starting one yourself. Post a notice on both actual and virtual message boards that you are looking to develop a networking group for fellow job-hunters. Local colleges are another great resource for meeting other people who are looking for work. Your area unemployment field office is also an invaluable source of information and support. Besides helping you feel less alone, staying connected is one of the best ways to hear about job openings through word of mouth that are might not be advertised.
Concentrate on keeping a life/work balance. Your job hunt is your work right now. But this is also a perfect time to explore your hobbies and spend time with your family. Sometimes getting back into a hobby can lead to a new career opportunity as well.
Arm yourself with organization, support and self confidence and you will be back on track. Best of all, you will have a job before you know it!