Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Staying collected during the job search

Staying collected during the job search

Treat the job hunt as a business problem and engineer short-term successes to keep your morale up

SEARCHING for a job is being at a transition in your life. Learn to keep it in perspective. Despite the worries, being in transition can have its plus side. Believe in yourself. Even if you’ve just been turned down for three jobs, remind yourself that you had three interviews and you can get three more.

Being freed from the nine-to-five daily routine means you have time to take stock. Many people find that they have been charging so intensely for so many years that they haven’t noticed they’ve veered off-course.

Some of the questions to consider as you reflect and test the job market are:
» What matters to me most?
» What do I want to do differently?
» What hasn’t worked for me?
» What was my role (if any) in my job loss?
» What can I do better the next time?

Serious deliberation of these questions can be liberating and energising. Make protecting your morale a daily obsession.

Associate with positive people

Circumstances differ but job loss can mean you’re far more fragile and vulnerable than you realise. So it’s especially important to manipulate your environment in your favour. Avoid pessimistic and cynical people. Some job hunters have told me they shun some friends who are too negative. Associate with people who tend to see the glass as half full. Stop going to a support group if there is too much venting and negativity. Going to the movies is a great idea, but don’t watch depressing movies. Now is not the time to get a full dose of reality about the dark side of human nature.

Accept your ups and downs

You will have lousy days. Just don’t fall into the trap of believing that the bad days are the norm. Your perseverance will hand you the good days as well, and you should do your part to make them happen. Remember that you had good days and bad days too when you had a job! Bear in mind that persistence pays off. Make more phone calls. That’s part of the process. Your morale can get a big boost when your phone calls put you in touch with people who are eager to help, welcome you to a networking event, refer you to other people, or simply take a few minutes to give you pointers and suggestions.

Tackle unemployment

When you had bad days at work in the past, you analysed the problem, gathered your resources and people, and came up with solutions. In the wake of job loss, your emotions may be blocking this kind of response. But think of getting hired again as a business problem. Obviously you may need to master some new skills, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve looked for a job. Once you acquire the tools, a job hunt can be treated as a business problem: Track down the people who are in a position to hire you, position yourself appropriately, offer proposals to meet their needs, turn interviews into offers.

Engineer short-term successes

Break this “business problem” down into manageable components. Set a realistic agenda for the day. For example, you could write five targeted letters, identify 10 companies to contact, make 10 follow-up phone calls, or get one or two networking meetings set up. Some of the activities will pay off. You may land a meeting or get suggestions on suitable companies and people to contact. These are short-term successes which feed your morale.

Stay on top of your game

Use some of your time now to catch up on reading journals and attending seminars by professional associations. You may feel a little awkward showing up initially, but rubbing shoulders with people in your field will help you feel that you’re still part of the scene. And of course, you’re there to network, too. This would be a good time to volunteer for one of the association committees. This allows people to see that you’re still in the thick of things. The experience can go onto your résumé as well.

Stay current

This might also be the time to take a course to upgrade your skills since you could never find the time when you were employed. This could be a great selling point in your next few interviews. Or you could teach a course, which obviously makes you look more valuable. Contracting or consulting is also a way to stay current. It brings in cash, keeps you focused and calm, and can add more heft to your résumé.

Keep fit

Bad habits usually have a bad payoff. Watch your diet and drinking habits as people tend to abuse them when life is disrupted. So try to maintain the good habits you’re used to. If your routine includes going to the gym, keep it up.
Or if you’re on a budget, find some other way to make physical exercise part of your daily regime. It is a fact that regular physical exercise helps to reduce tension and stress, and a half-hour walk daily does just the trick too.

Article contributed by Roland Ang, a career coach with CrossRoads Career Consulting. Email: rolandang@xroadscareer.com
This article first appeared in ST Recruit on February 13, 2005.


Post a Comment

<< Home