For 20 straight weeks, the number of Americans who have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment insurance has topped 1 million. If you are one of those workers, securing that next opportunity is undoubtedly at the top of your priority list. But a job search takes time, and if you’re thinking of making a major career change, that could take even longer. So, the question is, how do you maintain the momentum? By employing these key strategies, you’ll be able to stay motivated even when you feel like giving up.
Hold yourself accountable
Conducting a job search can be a very solitary pursuit. There’s no one looking over your shoulder telling you what to do or how many jobs to apply for that day. Left to your own devices, you may get sidetracked by your favorite social media sites or Netflix shows. One way to remain accountable is to find an accountability partner. This person could be a friend, family member, coach or mentor. Develop a spreadsheet of the positions you’ve applied for with follow-up dates. Create a list of realistic short and long-term goals and work toward them every day. For example, decide how many applications you’d like to send out this week, or this month. By documenting your activities, it will help you stay engaged and organized.
According to research by Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton Business School, helping others boosts professional motivation leading to better relationships, increased creativity and more productivity. Try connecting with other job seekers through social media. Share job search tips and strategies. Offer to critique each other’s résumés. Start your own online group to lift each other up. A job search can be isolating and stressful. By motivating others, you’ll also go a long way in boosting your own sense of self-worth.
Continue to have fun
They say that searching for a job is a full-time job. It’s not. If you plan on spending 40 hours a week job hunting, you might as well invest in a straitjacket. Build time in your schedule to have fun and decompress even if you have to schedule it on your calendar. This is just as important as the job search itself. It will help you stay mentally fit and potentially expose you to people outside your immediate circle. By playing nine or 18 holes on the golf course, you may meet someone that could open the door to a potential career opportunity.
Leverage transferable skills
If you can’t find an opening in your current line of work, consider broadening your search. What are your transferable skills, and how can you leverage them in a new industry? Let’s say you work in publishing, and you have developed advanced communication, writing and project management skills. These talents may translate well to any number of roles, including corporate communications, journalism and marketing. Some other examples of transferable skills include creative, analytical and leadership skills. You could also expand your search to include part-time and contract work or set yourself up as a consultant or freelancer. Regardless of which path you choose, the experience you acquired will certainly benefit you in the future.
With more than 17 million Americans currently unemployed, the job market is more competitive than ever. What is one way job seekers can boost their resume? Learn a new skill, like a foreign language. Nine out of ten U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English, and 56% say their demand for these skills will be increasing over the next five years. Not only can speaking a foreign language make it easier to find a job, but it also increases earning potential. One online language school, Live Lingua, pairs students with native-speaking tutors who create customized learning plans. These plans can even be designed to focus on specific business situations or industries.
Celebrate small victories
With any long-term endeavor, it’s essential to celebrate small wins along the way. This is what psychologist B.J. Fogg, author of Tiny Habits, calls “celebration.” Fogg shares, “When you celebrate, you create a positive feeling inside yourself on demand. This good feeling wires the new habit into your brain. Celebration is both a specific technique for behavior change and a psychological frame shift.” Did you get an email response from a recruiter, secure a networking chat with a hiring manager, or land an interview? Hurray! Actively celebrate these milestones so you’ll feel motivated to keep forging ahead.
Conducting a job search is like cycling on mountainous terrain. While there are ups and downs, you must keep the momentum going as you reach the next steep hill. Persevere, and you’ll increase your chances of finding work that is rewarding and fulfilling.