Recently a person began telling me they were seriously overwhelmed by their job search and then they burst into tears. Being overwhelmed by your job search does happen. Little wonder it overwhelms many people, because these days there are a lot of moving parts to it, and made even more complex because of the internet.
As both a career and life coach, I have observed that when a person is overwhelmed, it’s usually an indicator that they are trying to do more than they can manage. In the case of this person, that’s absolutely the situation. She was trying to grasp many foreign concepts about job search and the internet, at the same time juggling a very full plate of personal responsibilities. To make matters worse when in an overwhelmed job search mode, a person may also be in a financial crisis. In the simplest definition, you are overwhelmed when you are trying to “eat the elephant” all at once; and we all know that simply can’t happen.
4 strategies to help you get rid of that ‘overwhelmed’ sense in your job search. I’ll add a few life copying strategies as well.
- Pace your learning. If you’re not tech savvy or internet literate, don’t try to learn everything at once. Yes, you do need to use a computer and the internet, but you don’t need to become an expert overnight. In priority order, here is what you need to learn; but learn each item well before moving on to the next. Don’t try to learn the entire list at the same time; you’ll only confuse yourself.
- Word processing. You MUST be able to prepare and modify a resume.
- Email. You need to set up an email account, many of which are free. Learn to send, reply and attach your resume to an email.
- Find and learn how to use job boards. Don’t try using all of them. If you focus on Indeed.com and jobs in Linked In, you will find that the majority of posted jobs are in those applications.
- Draft a Plan. Once you have these basics figured out, then sit down and draft a plan for your job search. Don’t try to get involved in anything else until you’ve done this step. Your plan should include:
- Job or position titles. No more than 3 separate, unique jobs. I’m not talking about variations that mean the same thing.
- Criteria for companies most likely to have your position.
- A list of your targeted companies. Do your research to create this list.
- A resume to support the positions you defined.
- Names of people you will contact to get the ball rolling.
- Learn to use Linked In. If you’re doing ok with the items above, but the whole social media/networking is a mystery, at this point get familiar with Linked In. I don’t care what anyone else tells you about Twitter or Facebook, you will get more traction with Linked In. Once you have mastered Linked In and you have excellent momentum on the other parts of your job search; then go explore and learn those other two social networks. With Linked In, do these things in priority order:
- Set up your profile and work to make it 100% (it will tell you what you need).
- Search for long lost work mates, bosses, customers and people you know. Ask to connect with them and then be sociable – send notes and update each other.
- Become visible by joining groups. Preferred groups to join include those that are related to your profession, to former businesses, to targeted businesses and then affinity groups, like working mothers or something of interest.
- Participate weekly in discussions. Post discussions and share cool things. Link to people you are impressed with and then get to know them by corresponding.
- Set boundaries, rules and prioritize. More than likely, at a personal level you are also trying to take on too much.
- Set office hours for yourself and announce to your family that you are working and don’t disturb unless it’s critical.
- Learn to say no. You may need to de-commit yourself to things you previously agreed to do. You may feel uncomfortable doing that or even saying no, but you choose to be overwhelmed if you don’t. You can’t make everyone happy all the time nor can you be everyone’s hero.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, figure out how to prioritize what you are doing and do only the most important things first.
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