Starting a job search is exciting! You think of new goals and possibilities. You get more done than you have in months!
Then, suddenly, it isn’t fun anymore. The networking meetings you looked forward to now seem like a chore. You’d rather jump off a tall building than hold an informational interview. You’d give up chocolate before you’d rewrite your cover letter.
You’ve hit the job search wall. It happens to most of us. The novelty wears off, and we’re left with the day-to-day drudgery of the hunt.
Getting back on track is going to take some motivation.
What inspires you?
Most of us have something that fills us up again. If you don’t know what that is for you, now is a good time to find out. It might be music. If I am dreading something, I can often turn that around by listening to some upbeat music. (I might even dance, but I usually don’t admit it.)
For some, it might be an inspiring story or movie with an uplifting and positive outcome. Maybe, it’s talking to someone who is encouraging and enthusiastic. Something spiritually healing like prayer, meditation, or worship can be especially effective. Find a couple of things that help you turn around your attitude and use them.
Stop (for a little while)
I write a lot, all day most days. When the words stop, my first impulse is to try harder, work longer, and do more. It usually fails miserably. Instead, I’ve learned to take a walk or ride my bike. Getting some physical activity and letting my mind go in another direction seems to give it a rest and allow the juices to flow again.
It doesn’t really matter what you do. It might be taking a few minutes to call a friend, bake brownies, or run an errand. The risk is that the phone call takes 2 hours or you spend the rest of the day running errands, so you have to treat it like a break from work, not a day off.
See it differently
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you‘re right.” Sometimes, all it takes is to find a new way of thinking about what you’re doing.
Not long ago, I was resenting the time I spent making meals every day. I needed to be working, I thought, and cooking just wasn’t profitable. All I could think of when I cooked was what a waste of time it was.
Then, I exchanged some recipes with a friend who is a health coach. I became very interested in high-nutrient cooking and decided to do more of it. Suddenly, I am enjoying cooking again. I have a new approach and a new, healthy reason for spending time in the kitchen (besides those brownies I mentioned earlier). What turnaround in perspective could you make that would revitalize your search?
It’s all in the game
For some folks, all it takes is a challenge. Can you make more calls today than you did yesterday? Can you increase your interview ratio? Keep your stats and see how much your game improves.
Learn it or teach it
Often, the key to renewed interest is new information. I’ve been in the career field for about 15 years, and I still don’t know everything. Chances are there is a book, Web site, or webinar that could spark your interest.
I’ve never learned so much as when I’ve taught something. Perhaps you have experience and expertise to share with others who aren’t as far down the path.
Feel the pride
Read your resume. No, really. Read it. I know you’ve been rewriting it for weeks, but now I want you to take it out and study it. Remember each detail of each accomplishment. Relive the moment. Feel how proud you were. Smile. Who was with you? Did you celebrate? If not, now is the time.
Find a friend or acquaintance in the same situation and agree to hold each other accountable for a certain amount of work per week. Call at a set time to check on each other. Just be sure not to turn the call into a gripe session. Talking about how awful it is to look for work can get the frustration off your chest, but if it goes on too long, it will bring you down. Be sure to keep the conversation on goal-oriented planning.
Bring in an expert
If you’ve tried everything above, and you’re still feeling stuck and uninspired, it’s time to bring in the expert. Hire a certified resume writer and career coach to help you identify and overcome the obstacles so you can move forward toward your goal.