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How to get through a long-term job hunt

1365362_62188970When getting laid off or quitting a job, most of us immediately start a fast-paced job hunt. Even those who are fortunate enough to have savings to live off of for a while don’t have enough money to pretend that unemployment is a vacation. Instead, most jobs seekers attack their job searches aggressively until they hear the words, “You’re hired”.

The problem with such a steadfast approach is that you can grow frustrated quickly. After a few weeks of constantly browsing job postings, writing cover letters, sending them off and repeating, you don’t have the energy to keep going. You can’t stop, however, because you do need a job. Let’s face the truth — in times like these your job hunt may take a while.

So how do you avoid getting frustrated? Here are some top strategies that can help you through a long-term job hunt:

Regard your job hunt as a job.
Organize your job hunt day like any other business. Set a goal of the number of calls you’ll make, and CVs you’ll send out each day, and be sure to reach that.

Keep up your energy levels with exercise.
Regular exercise provides numerous benefits the long-term unemployed. Besides the obvious health benefits, achieving fitness goals can help reinstate a positive self-image and boost self-esteem. Additionally, exercise releases “feel-good” endorphins, making it a great way to combat the job-search blues and frustrations that every job-seeker is bound to experience at some point.

Take a few days off
Think of something you enjoy doing that doesn’t cost any money and go and enjoy. Sometimes just a few days off is enough to refresh a person. Socialize with friends and talk about other things. Have fun and laugh.

Learn from your mistakes
You can learn a lot from failed interviews, e.g. how to tweak your CV, presentation and skills. Hone up on what you are lacking.

Network
Make sure to keep in contact with your network. This could be alumni, previous colleagues, professional associations, online groups, and even relatives and friends. Let everyone know you’re looking for a job and one of them may know someone who is looking for someone exactly like you.

Volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to keep your skills sharp — think teamwork, client relations, fundraising, etc. — and your mind energized. Through volunteering you also meet a lot of new people who could be useful to your network.

Take a more pro-active approach
Instead of just answering job ads and looking through job listings, contact the decision-maker — usually the person who supervises the position, not HR — and ask what the job involves and be ready to talk about your experiences and accomplishment. Continue researching the position; if you want the job, contact the decision-maker again and ask what you can bring to help the person make a decision.

Find out what you really want
If you’re not one of those fortunate people who can count their work and their lifelong passion as one, you may have had to put an activity you love on the shelf while working a hectic full-time schedule. Now that you have some extra time on your hands, use it as a chance to reconnect to your talents and hobbies. Who knows? You may even discover a whole new career path.

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