In a shaky economy, the job search can be a long and daunting process. Whereas a job search may take two to three months in a healthy economy, today's job seekers can expect to take up to six months to find a new position.
That's a significant amount of time; it means job seekers have to be diligent and motivated throughout the job search process from beginning to end, lest they end up becoming discouraged. Too often, job seekers get burnt out quickly and end up devoting too little time to finding a new position. In the U.K., Sweden and Germany, job seekers spent 10 minutes or less per day looking for a job. In the U.S., job seekers spend just 40 minutes per day looking for a new job, and tend to quit after just five months of searching.
If job seekers want to find success at the end of their job search, they have to remain diligent and avoid getting burnt out before achieving their goals. The job search process is never easy, but job seekers can use the following tactics to avoid burnout during their search:
Avoid looking at too many open positions. Your job search process will be most successful if it's focused, so don't look at more than four or five companies at the same time. Applying to too many companies at once means you may forget details, or end up being interviewed for a role that doesn't fit your skills, experience, or goals.
Mix in networking. The job search process doesn't mean mindlessly sending resume after resume into the black hole of the digital realm. Networking with other professionals in your industry can be a great way to learn about open positions. Set aside time to catch up with professionals you admire -- whether it be former colleagues, former college peers, or LinkedIn contacts -- and let them know you're on the job search and would appreciate if they could pass on the word or let you know if they spot open positions.
Block out your time. Time blocks are the best way to avoid job search burnout. Treat your job search process like a 9-to-5--spend only those hours looking for new positions, attending networking events, or emailing companies. In the evenings, step away from the computer and practice activities you love, or focus on self-care. Taking the time to recharge is just as important as being diligent in your search.
Get organized. It can be easy to lose track of the companies, networking contacts, and email addresses needed to get your foot in the door at an organization. Keep an organized list of information about each company to help you stay organized. Include key contact people -- their name, title/position, and email address -- as well as upcoming career fairs and networking events, names of professionals you'd like to reach out to, and a few key details of the companies you've already applied to. Creating a list can help if you receive a callback and need to quickly find key information.
Self-evaluate. Looking for a job can be even tougher when you're faced with rejection after rejection--but it doesn't have to be all bad. Keep a journal to document your journey through various interviewing or hiring processes. This can help you to evaluate where you might have gone wrong in the process: Did your resume have a typo? Did you forget to highlight your volunteer experience, or fail to follow-up with a "thank you" after an interview? Keeping a journal can help you to avoid making the same mistakes.
Volunteer. Unemployment is a great time to find a cause or organization you're passionate about. Volunteering looks great on a resume and shows employers you take advantage of any extra time you have and offer your skills to organizations that need it. Spend a few hours a week volunteering for a cause you love--it may even open up great new networking opportunities.
Practice self-care. Don't get frazzled during your search--always take the time to do activities you love. Surround yourself with positive people to avoid getting into a negativity rut. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise. Although unemployment can feel like it affects every aspect of your life, it's important to take the time to recharge and treat yourself well.
The job search is tough, but the process is much easier if you take care of yourself and keep a constant eye out for a new position. Avoid job search burnout by following these tips, and you'll feel rejuvenated and willing to power on in your search.
Patrick Richard is the president and founder of ShinyNeedle, a job site that allows employers to submit challenges to job candidates and see how they can impact a business from day one, making the hiring process more interactive. You can connect with Patrick and ShinyNeedle on Twitter and Facebook.