8 Ways to Break Out of the Job Search Rut

Searching for a new job is similar to house hunting. When the decision is made to go forth, there is a burst of excitement and joy about the prospect of looking.

Initially it is all fun and games. Looking through the listings, figuring out a budget, calling real estate brokers and making appointments to see the houses availablecan lift your spirits and fill you with optimism.

But often after a few weeks your joy turns into a feeling of drudgery. Your energy is depleted just thinking about having to look at one more house.

The job hunt is no different..

Whether you are searching to find a better position or because you are currently unemployed, the initial burst of happiness and hope can dissipate after a few weeks of being unsuccessful. And the next thing you know you are in a rut.

Here are 8 ways to break out of the job search rut..

1. Follow a plan

Don’t go all willy nilly when you set out on a quest for a new job. Make a three-point plan to stay on top of things, so that the day doesn’t disappear on you. Compile a list of long term goals, shorter term goals, and attainable tasks to be completed daily. Doing the groundwork up front will make your time more efficient in the long run.

2. Don’t panic. Reevaluate instead

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating.  

If things aren’t working out as you had planned, and you are not getting the interviews you thought you would, maybe it’s time to reassess your job searching materials.
Take the time to revamp your résumé, tweak your cover letters and update your online presence. It will be time well spent.

Your shorter term goal list should include a memo to update and reevaluate every month what you’ve done and what you need to do differently to move forward.

3. Network, network, network

Gone are the days of filling out online applications by the dozen and hoping to get a hit. Today’s job hunt is different.

Your chances of finding employment are enhanced if you connect with friends or colleagues. There’s no need to go it alone. In fact, the more people you bring in to your search, the better. Even if nothing comes of it other than having them encourage you during this tough time, it’s a good thing.

4. Expand your horizons

Locate networking events, conventions, conferences and seminars. Don’t just sit home and hope for a lucky break. Actively find places where you can see and be seen by the people and organizations which can assist you in finding you next job.

5. Volunteer or take a temp job

Get away from your computer once in a while! Volunteer in the industry for which you want to work. By doing so, you will be expanding your knowledge and you’ll be tapping into a whole new group of people who you can add to your networking list. You never know you who might meet.

And don’t hesitate to accept a temp position in your field. It will help you gain additional  skills, plus you’ll be eliminating some stress by having money to pay your bills. And again, the more people you know in your field, the better. The doors might fly open for you once you get your foot in.

6. Be patient

Happenstance, coincidence, a fluke. Sometimes you get lucky and the right job falls into your lap.

But usually it doesn’t.

So be realistic and patient about how long it may take for you to get the job you want. It could be three months, it could be one year. Plan to stay in for the long haul.

7. Be good to yourself

When the rut gets to be too much, and you’ve done all that you can, stop for a day or so and treat yourself to a good movie, a good book, a mid day nap, or time with family and friends. It will clear your head and give you a fresh perspective.

8. Remember why you are doing this

When it all gets too overwhelming, stop and reflect on why you are doing this. A better life for your family? Hate the commute or the stresses at your current situation? More money, more job satisfaction?

And remember this if you are unemployed… your job is not who you are. You don’t lose your value as a human being when you lose your job. You just lose your job. Don’t let it demoralize you. Your value is found in the thousand other things that make you the person that you are. Think about all that you’ve accomplished both personally as well as professionally. It should boost your confidence….it might even give you some insight to more information about yourself which you can then include on your résumé.

Following any or all of these tips should help you break out of your job search rut and find you happily employed.