Have you been pounding the pavement looking for a job? That's great! You're ready for a better role, higher salary and upward mobility. You're likely getting out of an unsatisfying situation in order to find one with a brighter future.
But, let's face it: Until you hear those beautiful words, "You're hired!", it may feel like you're stuck, stalled and most definitely tired - in other words, you're suffering from job search burnout. You know, that sluggish, lethargic feeling that sets in when your job hunt mojo starts fizzling out. Here are four steps to keep your job search motivation high until you cross that finish line - no matter how long it takes.
1. Take a break! Seriously, you can't reasonably be searching for a job 24/7, nor should you be. Yes, you can be totally efficient by doing things like setting up job alerts on sites like Monster, but what you can - and should do - is take a break. Schedule downtime where your brain shuts off and does not think about a potential new job.
2. Schedule time for your search (and nothing else). You know what happens on days when you work from home without a concrete start and end time, right? You work through lunch and get a lot done, but it doesn't feel like it because you also did a load of laundry and paid all your bills. And then it doesn't feel like you accomplished anything at home either. Yes, that's what happens when your job search bleeds into your life and vice versa - you don't feel like you're devoting all your energy into one thing or the other. Designate a set period of time like 30 minutes at the start of each morning to your job search - follow up with networking contacts, peruse job opportunities and apply immediately and search for upcoming networking events (especially as the holidays approach, take advantage of upcoming holiday functions).
3. Celebrate small victories. When I was a corporate recruiter, I always noticed that job seekers celebrating the small victories; whether or not they got the job - I could still tell they were making progress. Their cover letters were catching my attention, or they aced the phone interview. Even if they fell short of getting a job offer, often times the reasons were out of their control, like the finance department had over-budgeted. Still, they didn't seem to give themselves enough credit. If you just had your first informational interview in a while, congrats! Heard back from a cold contact? That's excellent! As you streamline your job search, you should also take notice of milestones along the way, big or small. And don't be shy about rewarding yourself for those victories - add an extra 30 minutes of gym time to get your mind off things or a divine cup of tea every night while relaxing.
4. Keep your eye on the prize. Yes, you need to write down a list of all the reasons why you're looking for a new job. Keep it visible. You can type it on your phone and set it as your screensaver, write it on paper or tape it to your bathroom mirror. Whatever method you prefer, what matters is that you constantly reminder yourself why you need to get a new job as soon as possible. This will keep you focused, energized and, most of all, psyched for the new job that awaits you.
Yes, your new job is totally worth the time, effort and energy you're pouring into it. But, if you don't carefully manage your job search as well as yourself (as in nutrition, sleep and exercise), you'll be too burned out during an interview with your dream employer to shine. And it truly will be your time to shine.