What To Do When Job Searching Takes Longer Than Expected

Job SearchingSelena Dehne, JIST Publishing

Even the most talented, educated and experienced job seekers may have a difficult time finding a job in today's economy. Although people may hope their transition between jobs will last only a few weeks, the reality is that many job seekers spend months, or even a year, trying to secure work.

This delay can wreak havoc on a job seeker's confidence, motivation and sense of pride -- all of which are characteristics critical to achieving success in the job market.

Jean Baur, author of 'Eliminated! Now What: Finding Your Way from Job-Loss Crisis to Career Resilience,' says one of the best things people can do when they begin to feel stuck in their search is evaluate what methods are working and which aren't productive and then adjust their strategy. They also need to take care of themselves. "You can better cope with the feelings associated with a long-term career transition if you're not worn out and take care of yourself through therapy, physical exercise and even volunteering. A new project or hobby can be another way to go," she suggests.

"The real issue here is self-care -- something most of us aren't very good at. Job searching is hard work, so it must be sustained with good self-care. The obstacle that many people have to get over to do this is a false sense that this is wrong -- that they're selfish if they take care of themselves. Job seekers need to realize that balancing the demands of finding a new job with smart ways of caring for themselves will make them more successful."

In 'Eliminated! Now What?' Baur offers these additional do's and don'ts for persevering through a long transition:

  1. Create contingency plans so that if your search goes on longer than expected, you know what you'll do.
  2. Take care of yourself during this demanding process. Find the things that restore you so that this doesn't become drudgery.
  3. Work hard on your search but don't let it eclipse your whole life. Positive results come from short breaks and rewards.
  4. Research opportunities for training, whether in your existing area of expertise or something new. Adding new skills will broaden your market and give you an area where you can see immediate results.
  5. Use volunteering as a way to expand your network. This effort keeps you connected to others and ensures you're doing something productive besides looking for work.

  1. Become a job search machine. You'll wear yourself out and won't be presenting your best self to others.
  2. Assume you know how and when you'll discover your next opportunity.
  3. Get stuck. If one method isn't working, try another.
  4. Tell your network that there are no jobs out there. This is a depressing message.
  5. Be unwilling to compromise. Sometimes you might have to take a small step back to move forward.

Next:The Ultimate Guide to Job Searching

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Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog. Follow her on Twitter at @SelenaDehne.

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