Like any successful marketing or military campaign, you need to plan and organize your job search. The goal is to have a steady, productive level of positive activity that always drives your search forward. First you must understand two points - 1) finding a job is a full time job; 2) if you let the job search consume your entire life, you will burn out quickly.
Here is what I recommend:
Targeting Your Search
You are targeting numerous potential sources of employment and must divide your time between those sources based on their potential. Only about 20% of jobs are found just through responding to ads; 5% or less are found through recruiters and headhunters; 75% are found through networking in various forms. Thus you should be spending no more than 20% of your time responding to ads, 5 to 7% applying to recruiters and headhunters, and 70% networking in all its various forms.
Positive Habits & Activities
We are all creatures of habit. Just as you had a daily routine (more or less) that you followed at work, you need to set up a daily routine for your job search. Pick a daily start time, say 8 AM. You need to be at your new job of finding a job daily at 8 AM. Schedule your time as suggested above and stick to it. Get into a daily routine that includes calling family, friends and professional contacts to network; researching companies; writing and sending targeted letters to specific companies and/or industries; building your on-line networking resources such as Linkedin; attending networking events and one-on-one meetings; contacting recruiters and headhunters; searching on-line listings and completing applications. Activity is the key. Measure your results (see my “Activity is the Key to Success” blog). This will help you to maintain a sustained level of positive activity.
Do Not Neglect The Personal Side
We tend to shy away from family and friends due to the embarassment of being unemployed. Family and friends want to help, so let them. In order to maintain your positive outlook and not burn out, try to maintain a balance. Plan time for physical exercise, even if it is nothing more than a daily 30 minute walk in your neighborhood. If you do not now exercise, start one (endorphins make you feel better and can help clear your mind) Make sure you have time to see family and friends (they can be great networking resources for you). Even if money is tight, try to arrange activities with your family and friends. There are a lot of great activities that are free!. If you belong to a religious group, become more active it (another great networking source). If you do not belong to one, consider joining one. Finally, consider volunteering. It is another good networking opportunity, as well as a wonderful way to focus on others while generating a positive self-image that you need to sell yourself in an interview.
Look For Support Groups
Finally, consider joining a support group or job club. They are great ways to cross-fertilize ideas that you or others may find helpful. They will also help you to maintain a positive attitude. If you cannot find such a group, Maybe you can start one.
Each person’s schedule will be different; all the good ones will contain these elements.
Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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