Stuck in a Rut: Strategies to Jump Start Your Job Search!
By: Christina Harrington
I have had several conversations with clients lately that have
shared feelings of being “stuck in a rut.” Sometimes the feeling
creeps up when you find yourself not knowing what companies to
apply to or you’re not making follow up calls and feel an overall
feeling of despair. Usually, when you are in a “stuck” gear, it
makes it nearly impossible to shift in to drive without a jump
start! I am hoping that by breaking down some daily action goals,
you’ll be able to get the jump start you need.
One of the reasons action may stop is because of the fear of
change. Change is not easy. You might not believe you can do it
or you may be concerned you’ll start and fail. These are normal
concerns. If it was easy, then 12.8 million American would not
be out of work. Yes, jobs are difficult to find but using the
right tools and methods may just give you the inside track.
1. Be Consistent! Some of us are procrastinators and feel like
we “work better under pressure.” But, think of the price you pay
when you psych yourself out by waiting until the last minute. Try
to schedule a block of time focused on just job search
activities. It could be 2 hours in the morning and/or 2 hours in
the afternoon. Ideally, you should be spending the same amount
of time looking for a job as you’d like to be working. But, it
doesn’t start all at once; you can work up to it! If you are
looking to work 30 hours a week, then start off with a morning
time block for two weeks. Then, add a couple of afternoon time
blocks on your 3rd week and so on.
2. Be Active! This means you actually taking action and not just
spending your time browsing through job boards hoping someone
will call you. It doesn’t happen that way anymore. Activities
should include research on companies you would like to work for,
applying, and follow up. (If you have not asked me to create
company listings for you, please contact me). Each day your
activities should include applying to companies, follow up, and
finding new jobs to apply to. This is the ease of using your Job
Search Log. If you use this tool daily to track your progress,
you will have a plan for each day. This is what your week could
a. Day 1- Use your Company Listings to identify 4 companies you
are interested in. Review their websites and call for the
Manager’s contact information (email address and phone number).
Write the company names and contact info on your Job Search Log.
Pick two companies to email your resume to. You need to have a
cover letter that “sells” and a resume headline to inform the
reader what type of position you are interested in.
b. Day 2- Look at the 2 companies listed from the day before and
apply to the next two companies. Use your company listings and
identify two more companies. Call for contact information. Write
down the information for the next day.
c. Day 3- Apply to 2 companies. Then, research two companies and
follow up. I would suggest following up within 48-72 hours of
submitting your resume by calling and asking when they will be
scheduling interviews. If they are not hiring, ask if you can
call be in a few weeks to check in. This is what I call the
‘happy stalker’! Always be polite and upbeat. This helps to
make sure you are the first person they think of when a position
does becomes available.
3. Be the process! The actual process of applying, following up,
and interviewing may not be the most difficult part. Staying
motivated is! By staying focused on the activities, the end
result will come.
4. Be kind! Yes, being kind to yourself is part of moving
forward. Oftentimes, when we are not doing what we think should
be doing, we start beating ourselves up. It’s like kicking a flat
tire only to make it more deflated. Listen, it’s time to call a
tow truck and get a lift! We are here to listen, support,
congratulate and bring out the jumper cables when necessary!
When you find yourself stuck, do something different! Most of
the time just moving forward in any direction is helpful. You
can’t steer a parked car, so keep moving and you’ll find your