Job hunting can be an overwhelming process. Especially for individuals making a career switch or stepping back into the workforce after time away. Don’t let the fear stand between you and your aspirations. Taking agency over job search and putting your career into your own hands is as easy as 1, 2, 3… Literally!
In my experience, the best way to manage the stress associated with your job hunt is through making a Career Search Action Plan consisting of one large-scale goal and supported by a series of smaller goals that help you attain your target. By doing this, you not only get a birds-eye-view of what is needed for achieving your goals, but you also break it down into easy-to-digest portions. By focusing on one small task at a time, stress will become a myth and your productivity will shoot through the roof as you get closer and closer to reaching your goal.
Awesome right? So how do you start?
1. Establish A Long-Term Goal
Ask yourself what you want to achieve for the next six months. Setting a specific time frame will help you stay on track and determine what will be needed to reach your goal. Being specific about your long-term goal is essential. If your goal is to be employed, ask yourself if there is a particular company, industry, title, etc. that you want. The clearer and more modified your long-term goal can be the better.
2. Determine Your Short-Term Goals That Can Support Your Long-Term Goal
Once you have determined your long-term goal, it is time to ask yourself what actions or which among your short-term goals you need to accomplish, in order to help you get to your long-term goal by your desired deadline.
Begin by brainstorming some ideas. For example, if you wish to be employed as a UX/UI Developer at Spotify in six months, there’ll be some essential steps you need to take in order to make that happen. You might want to update your portfolio, connect with developers at Spotify and ask for an informational interview, attend networking events hosted by Spotify or spend some time improving your skill-set in the technologies they use, etc.
After you’ve come up with a list of your short-term goals, you need to determine how they’ll fit in your long-term goal. Furthermore, you can create a daily, weekly or monthly to-do list to organize and monitor your activities. You can surf online and visit any of these sites: jobtrack.io or huntr.co, to help you stay on track.
3. Find an Accountability Partner
No matter who you are, staying motivated can be a challenge, especially after rejection hit you hard. Believe it or not, nobody is exempted from it because it’s a part of life’s twisted game. So finding an accountability partner, someone you can lean on when the going gets tough or someone who can uplift your spirit when you’re not feeling down is an excellent approach to stay focused and enthusiastic.
Your accountability partner can be your peer, partner, family member, career coach, instructor or anyone you can trust. Just be sure that it’s someone you’re in contact with regularly, someone you know very well and someone who won’t be scared to give you a bit of tough love if you need them sometimes.
When you’re done choosing your accountability partner, share your goals with them and ask them to keep in touch with you periodically to know how things are going and to make sure you’re staying on track.
4. Take Action, Rinse and Repeat.
Look at that! You’ve established a long-term goal, determined the small goals you need to accomplish in order to attain your long-term goal, and you’ve found an accountability partner.
Now comes the best part. Taking action by completing your goals is the most crucial part of your Job Search Action Plan. You’ve broken everything down into bite-sized chunks which makes this part effortless to manage and kind of fun. Simply start at the beginning and execute the task or goal listed and then cross it off your list.
Keep moving through your goals, take actions, rise above the hardships, and repeat the cycle. The more you act on them, the quicker you’ll reach your goal.
5. Celebrate Your Wins. Big and Small.
As I mentioned earlier, the job search can be daunting and often-times exhausting. Which is why it’s important to stop and pat yourself on the back once in a while for all you’ve accomplished thus far.
At the end of each task, look back and see what you’ve accomplished. For any wins or successes that took place along the way, make sure to give yourself credit by celebrating in some way; whether its a hike along your favorite trail, attending a Built-in Brew, or scoring the new software you’ve been dying to try out.
Rewarding yourself will not only keep you motivated but will also allow you to see how far you’ve come and how close you are to achieving your goals.
Now get out there. Do some works and take ownership of your career. You deserve it!