A job search has its peaks and valleys. You start out with enthusiasm, confident that you offer something special that companies will want. You get a few interviews. You talk to a few people. Then slow spots. No one calls. Nothing happens. You want to scream! It is harder and harder to keep up the enthusiasm you felt at the beginning.
I know. I’ve been there. Martha is making a job change. It wasn’t her idea but she is getting into it now. She shared some ways she keeps her spirits up when the search drags on longer than she expected:
- Reduce your family budget to the lowest possible level as soon as possible to make your funds and unemployment last as long as possible. Stop all unnecessary expenditures. Martha even eliminating a planned vacation that she really wanted to take.
- Don’t eliminate everything that is fun. Find a different way to do what you love to do. Martha stopped giving store-bought gifts but instead makes cookies to give away. She is a great baker so this is no hardship. For Christmas, she invites friends over and makes it a fun weekend of baking family favorites. Then as Christmas approaches she delivers her gifts to ooohs and ahhhs that can’t be purchased with money.
- Get plenty of exercise. Martha gave up her gym membership but she walks her dog every day and works out with a Wii so she stays fit. This helps her stay positive.
- Keep up your skills. Martha took some classes to qualify her to teach at the community college level until she finds the perfect job.
- Consider consulting. Consider doing odd jobs in your field either through a temporary service or by offering your services to colleagues. This keeps your hand in and puts structure in your day.
- Get out of the house. It is important to have a place to go periodically and people to talk to. Job seeker groups give you a chance to meet more people, practice your elevator speech, and learn about opportunities you might otherwise miss. Volunteering at local organizations gets you out of the house and meeting people – a good way to keep your spirits up.
- Network, network, network. Martha uses LinkedIn regularly to research people she meets and companies she is interested in. She probably spends a few hours a day on LinkedIn talking to people and doing research. This counts as networking. Her contacts are leading to meetings and telephone conversations. She polished her networking approach so she is comfortable.
The trick to keeping your spirits up is staying physically and mentally active. Smile when you can. Pretend to smile when you are down. The real smile will come to you eventually the more active you are.