July 9, 2009
This feature is a service of the Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest (JVS), in cooperation with the NJ Jewish News and MetroWest HELPS. Look for additional tips in the weeks to come.
Conducting a job search can be a long, grueling, and painful process. It takes consistent and persistent effort on your part, all the while appearing outwardly positive and self-confident while inwardly you feel discouraged and defeated. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated in landing the job you desire.
• Recognize your motivational enemies in a job search: Constant rejection, constant failure, and lack of control are just a few. Excuses, focusing on the negative (so much competition out there), and getting stuck in past failures will only serve to stall your job search. Look forward, not backward. Your previous employer is no longer paying you to think about them — spend time thinking about your future, not your past. Visualize your job success by thinking about your desired job and how happy your will be when you find it. A positive attitude is crucial to obtaining a job.
• Don’t take rejection personally: As much as you don’t want to believe it, there is always someone out there who may do a job better than you despite your high qualifications or who may have a personal connection to the interviewer that you lack. It may be something small or something relatively significant that deters you from the employer’s short list. Try to get feedback as to why your job application was unsuccessful. Use the feedback to correct what you can in your next presentation.
• Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses: Think less about what you can’t do and more about what you can to help an employer’s company grow, make more money, become more efficient, etc. If you believe you can help the employer, they will believe it too.
• Create a job search schedule and celebrate your successes: Be specific, setting small doable goals, listing problems, actions, resources, expected results, and deadlines. If your goal is three networking phone calls today, do them and then reward yourself when they are accomplished. Have a daily schedule and a weekly goal chart. Make sure the goals are small, manageable, and realistic so accomplishments will fuel future goal setting and successful behaviors. Setting unreasonable goals will only lead to disappointment and depression. If you don’t meet the goals one week, re-evaluate so you can make more realistic goals the next week. Make sure you pat yourself on the back for a success, even a small one, like setting up an interview or making an inside contact, because believing in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals will help energize you for the next challenge.
• Don’t do it alone: Those loved ones to whom you usually turn in times of trouble, such as a spouse/significant other, may be the last person you can turn to now, because of your fear of worrying them and their own issues revolving around your unemployment. So who do you turn to? There are numerous networking groups, career transition meetings, and support groups where you can gain both ideas and emotional support during these difficult times. Houses of worship, social service agencies (including Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest and Jewish Family Service agencies around the state), state-funded One Stop Career Centers, and local libraries offer free support groups for those out of work. Private therapists and career counselors/coaches are available for a fee. Just remember that if the group is depressing you, find another; the experience should be a source of support and extra motivation.
• Manage your job stress levels: Schedule time to be good to yourself. Although a job search is a full time job, it is 40 hours a week, not 24/7. Physical exercising is not only great for your physical health, it is even more important for your mental health — a good run or smashing tennis balls can take away a lot of anger and frustration. Seemingly trivial things like a good night sleep, a healthy diet, and some free/inexpensive entertainment with friends and relatives will give you the energy and the positive frame of mind necessary to tackle the job search come Monday morning.
Good jobs are out there but in this economy it will take time, perseverance, endurance, resourcefulness, and a sense of humor to sustain yourself. Maintaining a positive attitude will give you the strength to endure the job search process, no matter how long (or hopefully short) it takes.
For more information or to make an appointment for job placement assistance from the Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest, contact Dr. Meryl Kanner at 973-674-6330, ext. 271, or firstname.lastname@example.org.