When you're without a job, it's important to maintain structure throughout your day. It's easy to get distracted with household chores, sleeping in, and focusing on the wrong tasks. Setting up a solid job search plan will not only help you find a job faster, but it will also renew your confidence and keep you feeling good about yourself.
[See our list of the 50 Best Careers.]
Part 1: Hunting for a Job
While it may seem like a lot, you should allocate a significant portion of your day looking for a job. To break up the monotony, designate each day for browsing different career sites or company sites. You should also set up email alerts or RSS feeds to bring in all of the new jobs daily that match your criteria. Once you've checked those, you can go back and browse the sites individually to find other positions that may have been missed by your automatic searches.
Your online focus should include major job boards, industry-niche job boards, even Twitter hashtags and Facebook status updates where individuals could post information about a potential position you won't find elsewhere.
Some companies only post their open positions on their own sites, while others may have a large budget to spread amongst several sources. Third-party recruiters may not even post all of their open searches. Keep track of which jobs you've applied for, because you don't want to make the mistake of applying for the same job more than once.
Part of your daily routine should be spent networking to find a job. Find local networking events and schedule them on your calendar each week. Even if you don't feel like meeting new people, push yourself to get out there. It just might be the fast track to your next role.
Also, spend time prepping for interviews, even if none are in sight. Simply thinking through what answers you'll give to common questions, as well as what you will wear for a job interview can prepare you in advance and help you succeed.
Part 2: Mental Health
Sticking to your old routines can help you feel more grounded. Do things you did when you had a job. The less changed your routine is, the easier you'll find it to focus on what you need to: finding your next job.
Spend time thinking about what kind of job you want, especially if it's much different from the one you had. Maybe losing your job is a blessing in disguise. It gives you the opportunity to think about what you really enjoy doing—and don't. It might be time to go back to school or start in a different industry.
Part 3: Physical Health
Don't underestimate the value of physical exercise on your well-being in this situation. Physical activity should be part of your daily routine: aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise daily. It doesn't have to be the same activity each day, and you may want to try something different depending on how you're feeling.
For example, a long walk can help you clear your head and give you space to think about what you want with your career. Run, bike, swim, lift weights, practice yoga, join a volleyball league —whatever it is, make sure you enjoy doing it.
A major cause of depression or frustration with job loss comes from feeling adrift. Having a schedule that you can rely on each day will get you back on track and feeling better. Not to mention, it will speed up the hiring process and get you in your next job.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.