It’s a tough time to be out of work. Unemployment is depressing at the best of times, but with prices rising and the economy tanking every three minutes, mustering the motivation to put yourself through the job application cycle can be a gruelling experience. Fortunately, there are some tricks that I’ve picked up along my own rocky road to employment that help keep your spirits up and get you through the thankless administrative slog that searching for work usually entails. if you’ve found that your jobsearch has stalled because the whole process is demotivating, then these tips should be especially helpful.
1. The first and most important tip: Identify the tasks you feel you have to accomplish
This is daunting but really key. Being honest with yourself in this moment will help you get back on the road of productivity. Make a list of everything you think you need to do to get a job. This can include everything from updating your resume, searching for and applying for 5 positions everyday, identifying and attending networking events…you can go on and on, leave nothing out. Once you’re done, go down the list and put a star next to every task that makes your stomach do a flip of anxiety. Then it’s all about going back through that starred list and working out which of these tasks is the one you least want to do. Listen to your gut, you may be surprised. This task is your path of most resistance and the next step is about dealing with that anxiety.
2. Break the task down into pebbles
This is classic productivity advice but it is odd how easy it is to forget when you’re the one in the pinch. The best way to refocus your attention on your hunt for work, whether you’re looking for jobs in media or on a construction site, is to break down the scariest and most insurmountable task into tiny, achievable components. For example, if you’re dreading completely overhauling your resume, try and identify the micro tasks inside your objective. These could include
- Go online and google a few professionals working in the field I want to work in.
- Check out their resumes online. Note any useful techniques or presentation strategies you could use.
- Read your current resume thoroughly.
- Trim any unnecessary wording or irrevancies (no-one cares that you were a volunteer lifeguard when you were 15 if you’re 27 and trying to hook a mid-level management position)
- Go back through your paycheques to identify the dates you commenced employment.
The important thing is to keep the tasks singularly focused and easily acheivable. Nobody wants to update their resume but it’s easy to google ‘media jobs in London resume’
3. Reward yourself for the little things.
It may sound indulgent but giving yourself a break and celebrating your little victories are vital to keeping your spirit and motivation high. Have a fancy cup of coffee and /or a cookie when you tick off three micro tasks. Take a walk outside when you’ve worked for 2 hours. Your brain is like a truculent teenager. Don’t forget to give it time off for good behaviour.
4. Allow yourself the luxury of failure.
It’s a no-brainer that the majority of your job applications are likely to go unanswered. It’s rare that you get this much free time to yourself – although this can sometimes be more destructive than delightful. It’s important that you don’t let apathy become your default state. There’s always something new to learn, a new skill to master and new people to meet. The worst thing you can is allow yourself to become insular. Open yourself up to new interests, even if they don’t directly pertain to your chosen career. Unemployment is hugely dispiriting but it can also be a time to take stock and decide if the line of work that you’re in is really what you want out of life. Sometimes the things you’re most drawn to in your leisure time are valuable clues as to where you should be putting your time and attention.
In summation: Be brave. Be kind to yourself. Make the big things small. You will get through this and you will be awesome. Good luck.
Rebecca Miller is a freelance writer who blogs for Media Week Jobs
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