Many jobseekers struggle with keeping a schedule and maintaining a healthy mental and physical lifestyle during a job loss. Today I would like to offer a few tips to help those who are struggling after their loss.
Tip #1: Get to bed at a reasonable time and get up early like you already have a new job – EVERY DAY!
One of the biggest struggles unemployed jobseekers tell me about is having a regular schedule for sleep. Letting your sleep habits get out of whack and create additional fatigue and stress for you is a bad idea. Go to bed by 11:00 PM each evening, and make sure that two to three hours before you go to bed you are off all cell phone, computer, and tablet media (which can keep your brain awake for hours after you quit). That means, no video games, no looking at Facebook or Twitter feeds, no doing research or searching for jobs after about 8:00 PM in the evening. I also recommend getting up sometime around 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM daily. Keeping a work-life routine and being rested will help your search, your attitude, and your interviewing!
Tip #2: Get dressed daily!
So many jobseekers seem to sit around in their PJ’s all day while doing a job search. This makes it too easy not to shower, to stay home instead of networking, and to be in an overly casual mode that breeds a casual and lackadaisical job search. Get dressed every day just like you would if you were going to work – except in this case you can definitely do “jeans day” most days. You will feel better, you will be cleaner, and it will again help your attitude.
Tip #3: The Honey-Do List!
I call this the Honey-Don’t List – hello jobseeker spouses and significant others – please don’t give the jobseekers a list of things you want them to do all day and then come home asking them why they don’t have a job yet. Just like any work, a job search is a job in and of itself. A jobseeker needs uninterrupted time during the day of at least five to six hours to search and apply for jobs, go to networking events, maintain their LinkedIn and other social media for a job search, personalize their resume and cover letter to different job ads, do phone interviews, prepare for in-person interviews, and make follow up calls. And that is just to start!!! Any of your Honey-Do List can be done on nights and weekends just like they would if your spouse or significant other is working a traditional job. Let them do their job search during the day. Yes, you the jobseeker will need to push back at that list and make sure those things are done during off-job search times, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do them at all – a handy little piece of advice from someone who has been happily married for nearly 26 years.
Tip #4: Take the weekend off!
Your job search should be done during the weekdays so you can take the weekend off and have time with your family, to do some of that Honey-Do List, go to a religious service, and to enjoy your life. Trying to do your job search seven days a week will only result in one thing – burn out. Unfortunately that burn out will result in you effectively quitting your search or performing it haphazardly at best.
Tip #5: Don’t spend all of your time just applying for jobs online!
This is another common jobseeker issue. You need to break up the day with other tasks that are job search related, including:
–Networking (online and in-person) and maintaining ongoing, active, and professional social media.
–Making follow up calls.
–Researching potential companies.
–Going to local free seminars at your library about interviewing or networking.
–Scheduling lunches and coffees with networking contacts.
–Preparing for phone and in-person interviews.
–Going out and applying for stop-gap jobs if the money is running out at Home Depot, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, your local grocery, or other similar venues, etc.
Just sitting at your computer and applying for jobs hour after hour will have the same result as trying to search for a job seven days a week – burn out.
Tip #6: Volunteer
Get out of your house and away from your computer one day week for at least four hours and help someone else. Whether you volunteer at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore Store (a favorite of my clients), Catholic Charities, a local hospital, or a soup kitchen, you will be rewarded in many ways well beyond time away from the house. First, you take this volunteer work (needs to be at least four hours a week for most organizations to provide you a recommendation/reference) and use it as a current job on your resume – now you have something listed “to present” on that document. Be honest and say you are a Volunteer Customer Service Rep, or Soup Kitchen Volunteer, but show that “job” on your resume with one bullet point that describes the work you perform. Remember, work is work whether you get paid for it or not. Volunteering also shows Human Resources or the Hiring Manager that you aren’t sitting home all day watching television and taking naps. Second, the time spent helping others will help you to feel better about your situation and give you incredible fulfillment in knowing you are making someone else’s life a little brighter or easier.
Tip #7: Keep your social media posts professional!
You may be very mad at your former company or a particular employee, or one of your “friends” may have an opinion you find atrocious, but do not respond negatively in any way. One of the biggest issues for jobseekers is having their social media posts, including pictures, come back to haunt them in a job search. Go back through your social media and delete those things that are inappropriate and avoid them going forward. Your social media is NOT PRIVATE, no matter what the privacy setting is, and you risk losing a great job by thinking no one can see your activity. Be smart and keep your posts on the professional level.
Tip #8: Schedule your day!
This is my last tip for taking care of you during a job search. If you don’t have a schedule, you will just do a willy-nilly search for couple of hours, maybe applying for a job or two, and spend the rest of your day watching television, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, but not doing your search. From setting a clock to keep you timely in various tasks, to making sure you get a lunch, each day should have an overall schedule. Yes, you will need flexibility, especially in those online applications which can take from one-half hour to almost two hours to complete, but that schedule will help you get a great deal done every day. Additionally, you will receive a great deal of satisfaction in crossing off each to-do item.
So, take care of yourself throughout the job search and your job search will take care of you. Many job search blessings!
Karen Silins is a multi-certified resume writer, career, business and personal branding coach working with individuals and small businesses. After graduating with degrees in education and vocal performance, she made her own career transition into the Human Resources realm. Karen left Human Resources to become an entrepreneur and help jobseekers and fellow entrepreneurs achieve their goals. She keeps current regarding trends in the resume writing, coaching, HR, small business and marketing industries by working daily with individual clients on resume development and career coaching, consulting for small businesses in business plan development, marketing, hiring and overall HR processes, and providing 50-70+ seminars and workshops annually to a variety of organizations in the greater Kansas City area. She can be reached via her website at www.careerandresume.com.