Job searching for any length of time can be frustrating. But when your search has gone on for months or even years, even job seekers with the most endurance can get tired.
It doesn't help that many job seekers are looking for work under the notion that the recovering economy means automatic work -- and now.
"The economy is on the rebound but the job market is still very slow to respond," says Caroline Dowd-Higgins, director of career and professional development at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and author of "This is Not the Career I Ordered." "Candidates should be cautiously optimistic."
But sanguinity in times of dejection is easier said than done. Job searching for long periods of time can not only make job seekers tired -- it can affect them emotionally, too.
"There are so many emotions that go along with long-term unemployment -- feelings of inadequacy, anger, terror, shame. You name it. And when these emotions get a lock on a job seeker, they can be nearly paralyzing -- or totally paralyzing," says Jenny Foss, owner of Ladder Recruiting Group.
To manage those emotions, you need to acknowledge that your search methods aren't working and commit to adopting a new strategy or plan, Foss says. And it's important to tap into your resiliency skills so employers know you can handle stress and change, adds Dowd-Higgins.
But part of the problem is that even after long-term unemployment, many people still rely on the passive search methods that used to work well -- but just don't anymore, says Foss.
"The game has changed dramatically in the past few years. Unfortunately, a large number of job seekers who find themselves suddenly on the market often panic," Foss says. "They don't take time to catch their breath, craft a job search strategy that leverages a variety of search and networking tools, and then execute on that strategy in a focused, systematic way."
Tried and true methods of simply applying to jobs online, searching through job boards or even enlisting a recruiter just won't cut it, especially after a long period of job searching. You simply cannot conduct an effective job search from behind your computer, says Dowd-Higgins.
"You must get out and be seen and heard in your job search. People hire whom they know and trust and employers are using their network more than ever to make new," she says. "When jobs do become available, employers are hesitant to post because they know they will be inundated with applications. The networking job search continues to be the most effective technique."
If you're looking to revitalize your job search, here are eight tips from Foss and Dowd-Higgins.
1. Consider your job search a full-time job.
2. Catch your breath. Calm down before you scramble to find a new plan, says Foss.
3. Know what your strengths are. "Develop your special sauce story so you can illustrate why you are a value-add to an organization," says Dowd-Higgins.
4. Focus on your competencies not just job titles.
5. Polish your interview and storytelling abilities. "A great interview is a fluid conversation -- not stock answers," says Dowd-Higgins.
6. Explore social media techniques for job search like Facebook, Twitter, a personal blog and Linkedin.
7. Craft a formal game plan. "Don't flail your way through every day. Have a plan, and a schedule for each day," says Foss.8. Stop playing the blame game. "I can't find a job because I'm too old, I'm too fat, I'm under qualified, I'm over qualified," says Foss. "Really? You can play this game all you want, but at the end of the day? Figure out what is not working and then craft a strategy around it. If you can't find your way in through the front door, find the side door. It's all about being creative and strategic today."
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