Until you secure employment, chances are your job search is difficult, complex, multifaceted and somewhat unfulfilling. This is likely due largely to the unanswered job inquiries you've submitted, such as phone calls, emails, rejection letters and redirection to go online to complete an application, or the response that the position is filled.
The search process can be intimidating and upsetting, but it is the process 95 percent of us follow to land a job.
If you want to secure employment or advance your career, you need to know there will be struggle. We live in a new economy. Awareness of the job market is important because it tells you where the opportunities are so you know how to focus your search. If you embrace this prospective alone, it will not eliminate your struggle, but you will become more informed with a few less hurdles.
Here are a few ideas to address some of the job search struggles:
■ Don't panic. I know that's easier said than done, but what's the alternative? All too often we find ourselves frustrated with our job search process. It has become too common in today's economy that you have more pitfalls and difficulties on the road to securing employment. You know it is a hard process; you've experienced it. But I would urge you to take that knowledge and keep a positive outlook. Face it, job searching takes time, and if you panic it's feeding into negativism.
■ Assess your current situation. Taking an inventory of your job search process and approach is a good way to stay grounded. Answer a few key questions about your search: Are you applying for jobs for which you meet and/or exceed the qualifications? Have you effectively utilized your professional network in connecting with potential employment? Have you overly invested or underinvested time in your search process? What can you do differently to increase your search success?
■ Get help. Going at it alone or not accepting sound advice contributes to an unproductive job search. It is important to seek career advice from experienced professionals or from individuals within the network and industry. Generally, individuals do not thrive when isolated from other people. After all, "no man is an island."
If you are in need of assistance, try these resources: unemployment agencies, nonprofit organizations, privately run career-counseling firms, and colleges or trade schools' career staff.
Don't overlook trained career professionals who can guide you through the stages of the search process and provide validation that you are approaching the process correctly. You might glean new ideas. Additionally, they can assist you with staying organized, focused and hold you accountable.
■ Enjoy downtime and service. I'm amazed when I speak to people who spend all their time on the job search or see this opportunity as an extended vacation. It is important to seek a good balance, which reduces stress during this process.
Seek to create a routine until you reach the level of effectiveness that gets results. If you are not working, I suggest you volunteer 20 to 25 hours with a nonprofit or agency. The will fill gaps in employment as well as reinforce your commitment and values.
■ Say thank you. It is polite, everyday etiquette, but nonetheless it goes a long way. Also, saying thank you is a reflection of having gratitude toward others. Can you ever say thank you enough? No. You should thank people who assist you in networking, sharing job leads or words of encouragement.
I was told a long time ago that your attitude will affect your altitude. If you are frustrated and struggling with your job search, take a few minutes or a day to reflect on how much you've expressed your appreciation to people helping or offering to help you in your search.
Also, it's not too late to send a thank-you note to people who have helped you along the way. Even better, make it a handwritten note.