Staying Motivated During Your Job Search While in a – Hello! – Freaking Pandemic!

We don’t have to tell you that it’s rough out there: about 31.8 million plus folks are out of work nationwide (as of early July).  In fact, Los Angeles County itself had an unemployment rate of 19.4 percent in June.

So it’s understandable that, if you’ve been looking for work for two or three months, that your job search motivation might be, shall we say, “lagging” a bit.

Yes, it’s rough, but if there’s one thing to focus on, it’s this:

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You are a job seeker of one. There’s one of you; you need just one job. Don’t worry about ALL the other people applying to the jobs available. Instead, focus just on getting the job you need.

That said, even if you’ve been looking for work for weeks with no luck, even if you feel beaten down and just can’t bear to look at a job board ever again, let alone send in an application, you definitely can get your motivation back. Here’s how.

Set short-term goals

You’ve done tough things in your past. Perhaps you’ve:

  • Given birth/gone through labor
  • Run a marathon
  • Lost 50 pounds
  • Saved up money for a new laptop (rather than put it on a credit card)

What do those things have in common? They were relatively short-lived and you looked forward to a specific outcome when you finished them. You knew “the end” was coming.

Looking for work, on the other hand, has no set timeline. You don’t know when “the end” will come. You have a goal – get a new job – but it has no set endpoint that you can control.

So set short-term goals. Goals such as:

  • You will reach out to 15 people by Friday.
  • You will apply to 15 jobs by Friday. (This is a different goal than the one above because reaching out to people is different than applying for jobs. In addition, you will tweak your resume/cover letter to be specific to each position to which you’re applying.)
  • You will post at least one comment on the LinkedIn groups to which you belong by Friday.
  • And so on.

Give yourself rewards for meeting each goal.

And we do mean EACH goal! Looking for work is hard (as you well know). It’s definitely “not fun” (putting it lightly). You definitely should celebrate when you reach a goal. You truly deserve it!

Focus on processes, not results

Your goals shouldn’t be, “I’ll get a job by the end of September.” “I’ll get 2 interviews a week in August.” Why shouldn’t you make these types of goals? Because you have no control over whether the goal will “be met.” (For example, you have no control on whether a hiring manager will call you in for an interview.) Instead, focus on what you can control: the process. Send out X resumes a week. Reach out to X people per week. And so on. Work the process and the process will work for you.

Keep looking and you WILL land a job!

It’s amazing what consistently “working the process” does when it comes to just about anything (weight loss, exercise, learning a new skill, etc.). It’s the same with the job search, no matter what the “conditions” are surrounding your efforts, setting small, process-focused goals – and meeting them – will help you get your job-search mojo back and land you a job sooner than you may think.

Helpmates has several job opportunities available right now and many of them need people to start working immediately. Take a look at our current openings and follow the instructions for applying to the ones that interest you.

Making the Most of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Times of good cheer, holiday parties (at the office and friends’ homes), gift purchasing and giving/receiving….and a GREAT time to finally get some work done!

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Work in December often slows down as you and your colleagues think ahead to the 25th. That’s why this month can be a terrific time to focus on what you need to do to improve your skill sets, catch up on networking, revamp your resume, and so on.

Take a look below for how to use the slower days at work this month to improve your job/career prospects.

  1. Use holiday parties to best networking advantage.

While you won’t want to network blatantly for new job opportunities at your office/professional parties, you will want to ask people what they do for a living, maybe talk shop if it interests you and (most importantly) get their contact information so that you can follow up with them later.

Just about everyone is in a great mood at holiday parties and well may be in a “giving” mood, so don’t be shy about asking to meet later.

(Important tip: don’t drink too much – or at all – at your company’s holiday hullabaloo or at networking events. It may be a party, but you’re there in a professional capacity.)

In fact, instead of “networking,” think of the parties as a way to make new or build upon existing relationships. Relationships, after all, are what truly make the world go round, whether in our personal or professional lives.

  1. Update your resume to include recent accomplishments.

The slower times could be the perfect opportunity to update your resume. However, while it may be slower at work, be very careful: don’t write your resume at work. Don’t print it out there, either. Take notes, writing them down for working at home later when you’ll do the actual revamping.

You may be too busy when home with holiday preparations (why is it the holidays seem so jam packed at home but slow at work….) but if you have time off between December 25 and January 1, use the quiet break in the hubbub to think about what you want to accomplish professionally in the coming year.

  1. Updated your skills.

If things are slow at work, ask your boss if you could take an online course, certificate program, etc. during office hours. Your boss/company may be happy to pay/help pay for these courses. If not, there are many free ones online.

  1. Look for work.

If the idea of returning to this particular employer in 2019 is ruining the holidays for you, start looking for a new opportunity (during your off hours, of course)! It’s a big myth that “no one hires during the holidays.” Instead, hiring managers often have to fill empty positions before the end of the year or they lose their budget for the positions (the ol’ “use it or lose it” budget policy).

So, go ahead: enjoy this lovely time of year, full of hope and good feelings. And consider extending those great feelings for yourself by contacting the Helpmates branch nearest you and registering as one of our associates. We look forward to meeting you!

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