Avoid Job-Search Paralysis

By: Daniel Martinage, CAE

Tips to prevent losing your sizzle when looking for a new job.

Looking for a job is tough enough without suffering "job-search paralysis," a condition often caused by seemingly unending rejection letters and the ambiguity around your job search. Here are some tips to prevent losing your sizzle during the job search:

Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember to stay focused on where it is that you're headed and why. A new job can change your life dramatically—it can bring more money, responsibility, and passion around your work. Finding the right opportunity and fit takes time. Resist becoming impatient, and don't settle for something less than the prize you have your eyes on.

Stay grounded. Nothing can drain your job-search effectiveness more than an unhealthy attitude. Your interview and networking self needs to be sharp and polished. It's easy to be "down" about not getting the results you desire in your search, but a bad attitude is counterproductive. Take time to refresh yourself daily: Work out at the health club, take a brisk walk, visit a museum or art gallery.

Get out there. Online networking is great for a job search, but it does not replace the need to press the flesh. I'm not only suggesting business or "official" networking events either. It's just as important for you to circulate at social events like dinner parties or community and neighborhood events. Use every occasion to share what you are looking for in a new job. Don't hold back from asking people if they know of opportunities that meet your profile. Most people are more than happy to help others, provided that you are polite, not pushy, and offer to help them out with what they may be looking for as well.

Remember the power of an hour. Author Dave Lakhani, who wrote The Power of an Hour—Business and Life Mastery in One Hour a Week, emphasizes how setting aside as little as one hour a week of uninterrupted, totally focused time can have dramatic results in achieving what we seek. Take the challenge to set up an hour or more a day of total focus on a specific goal or action for your job search, whether it's writing an article for a local or trade publication or doing research on your target market.

Keep it together. Being unorganized or sloppy will only add to your stress during a job search. File your resources and communication so that you can easily track them. Keep your office or workspace clean and clutter free. Be sure to keep a record—in a paper journal or on the computer—of your job search, including what's worked and what hasn't. Don't fall into a vicious cycle of making the same mistakes or missteps over and over again in your search. Recognize your patterns, both good and bad, and learn from them.

Seek support. We've all heard how working out with a buddy in the gym can keep us more accountable and challenged in our workouts. The same goes for your job search. Having someone who holds you accountable for your actions (or lack of them) is essential to making progress in your job search. Hiring a career or business coach is ideal, but even a buddy "coach" can help you stay on track.

Daniel Martinage, CAE, is executive coach and consultant at Association Coach, LLC, in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

Daniel Martinage, CAE