Beat the job-search blues

The holiday glow has worn off and the guilt of taking a few weeks off to spend with your family and to over-indulge is kicking in. Your new year’s resolution of finding a job is still lingering and you realize you are still unemployed, but don’t worry you are not alone.

So, can we just be real for a second and admit – the job search stinks! People you thought would jump over the moon for you won’t return your phone calls. The resume you have rewritten 50 times continues to fall into the black hole.

January is touted to be the most depressing month of the year, and this is only exaggerated when you are unemployed. Here are a few ways to not only survive but thrive through the job search blues:

  1. Treat the job search like a full-time job.  This will probably be the hardest job you’ve ever had.  Stop doing the list of chores that have been on your backburner for months – job hunting is serious business. The difference between a “real” job and a full-time job search is that now you are the boss. You are in business for yourself, selling the product ‘YOU’, and your future is solely in your hands. Get showered, dressed and be ready. Be at your computer and desk every morning by 9am if not sooner.  The benefits of a ‘work’ mindset far outweigh the comfort of staying in your robe and slippers. The job search is good ol’ fashioned networking, building your brand online, trolling through job sites, joining new ones, tailoring your resume, writing another cover letter, reaching out to contacts, updating social media channels, and much more.
  1. Network! If you are tired of meeting new people or tired of meeting people for coffee.  Suck it up! The single most important factor in getting a job is networking. More than 80 percent of positions are filled by someone who knew someone who knew someone. Simply sitting at home, perusing the job sites is not going to get you a meaningful opportunity.  If the word ‘networking’ makes you woozy and seems like a daunting task, your day doesn’t have to be filled with meeting strangers. You can also utilize your rich network of former colleagues, friends, relatives, neighbors, acquaintances, and others.
  1. Heighten your self-awareness. Before jumping head-first into the job search pond, take time to get clear on what you want. What position or role gets you really excited? What type of industry are you targeting? What company are you targeting – consider the company culture, qualities of your direct supervisor, location of the office, etc. What are the criteria which you can negotiate, including salary, stock options, car, healthcare, etc. What are you willing to give up and what is a “non-negotiable item”.  Getting clear on your ideal career and company allows you to say ‘No’ when Mr. Okay rather than Mr. Right enters the picture – don’t regret the marriage.
  1. Finally, find someone to complain to – don’t put this burden on your spouse or your kids, but rather lean on a career coach, join a job search support group or connect with other workers or friends who share your struggle and can sympathize with your frustrations. Searching for a job takes persistence – and it’s not always easy to stay optimistic when prospects appear to be rather bleak.