Establishing order in your job search schedule.
Losing your job means losing the normal structure of your day. No longer do you have to rise early to beat rush hour traffic, lead a Monday morning all-staff meeting and have quarterly deadlines. Though stressful, these things did provide structure.
The loss of a job can be an even more stressful situation. The stress associated with losing a job can affect you physically from headaches and insomnia to a weakening of your immune system leading to even more serious conditions.
When the structure of your daily life becomes interrupted, it’s imperative that you organize your days to keep a healthy, focused mind. Searching for a job for all intents and purposes will now become a full-time endeavor. There are no rules in place in determining exactly how many hours that is required to maintain a proper job search schedule, but becoming acclimated to an established daily routine can pay huge dividends.
Here is a sample of a productive job search schedule.
• Try maintaining your normal bed times and waking hours each day.
• Establish a regular exercise program and good nutrition.
• Keep specific hours for researching positions, networking, and job-search related meetings.
• Diversify your strategy and mix up your job search outreach. Never spend too much time surfing the internet looking for jobs. Make sure to not forget to incorporate newspapers and trade magazines.
• Attend social activities with family and friends to avoid social isolation and withdrawal.
• Take time for creativity on projects, classes, or volunteer work to keep fresh.
Rise and Shine
If you were accustomed to getting up a 6:00 A.M. each day at your last job, you might want to do the same while unemployed. Keeping a similar routine will help your mind and body keep in tune and stay sharp. Getting dressed and heading out to a library, book store, or Workforce Solutions office to check e-mails and follow-up phone calls is a great strategy.
Consider volunteer work even if it’s just a small amount each week. Donating time can give you a sense of accomplishment that sending out resumes and making calls cannot. You might also strike up potential jobs leads.
Consider incorporating activities that include teaming up with another unemployed person on short-term projects. Constructive projects can offer the opportunity for you to roll up your sleeves and create other success stories to share during interviews. Employers are always looking for people who are doers as well as thinkers.
Working on small paid or unpaid projects can help you keep a positive mental outlook and learn new skills; but so can continuing to develop professionally through coursework—even during dry periods. The key here, however, is to not let professional development efforts overshadow the job search or to use studying as an avoidance tactic. One or two courses is usually enough since it can become financially taxing when you are in the midst of living off of severance packages or savings while taking loads of courses.
Dare to Dream
Don’t forget that unemployment can also provide the opportunity to pursue career dreams. Take the time to explore professional alternatives that you have placed on the back-burner over the years.
Good luck with your job search strategies and always remember to keep your head in the game!