Sustaining Your Job Search During A Pandemic

Photo by Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

This is a difficult time. Most of us don’t like uncertainty and uncertainty is now a big part of our lives. We expect uncertainty when we are looking for a job, but now it has spread across multiple areas of our day to day life. We have so many questions:

When can I travel again?

What will happen to the economy?

When can I go back to my favorite restaurant for dinner?

Can I find another job in this economy?

Will my child be able to have a birthday party with friends?

Will my son or daughter be able to go back to college?

We have a lot of questions and there are so few answers. It’s hard for everyone.

In today’s circumstances we need to accept what we cannot change and embrace the unknown with grace. With so much unpredictability, setting plans can feel like stumbling around in the dark and merely hoping you find your way. That’s okay. Having a plan remains important. Plans and goals keep us moving forward. They keep us grounded and are critical to the job search. Consequently, one of the most important things for a successful job hunt is to create a job search plan.

A job search plan lists the tasks you need to accomplish to find the job you want. It is a “to do list” with deadlines. It’s a contract with yourself to maintain momentum in your search. What do you need to do to find the job you want? Finish your resume? Create a better LinkedIn profile? Reach out to contacts who can help you? Submit job applications? Spend a certain number of hours each week looking for a job?

Once you have created your plan, how do we make sure that you actually accomplish the goals you have set for yourself? There are a couple of tricks:

#1 Don’t make your goal list so big that just looking at it makes you tired. It’s been proven that setting smaller goals will get you to your ultimate goal faster.

#2 Start small and grow. For example, rather than saying I’m going to reach out to 10 contacts every day, simply start with three per day. Build your momentum.

#3 Make sure you still have fun. Exercise and talk with friends. Exercise is scientifically proven to be a terrific stress reliever and sunshine is a proven mood booster. Staying socially connected (even via phone and video) is important and helpful.

#4 Try not to worry. The current economic conditions are stressful. However, being stressed won’t solve anything. Consider meditating (just three minutes every day can help). Headspace has a great three minute breathing meditation and there are many available free apps on the market.

#5 Looking for a job can feel isolating, especially if you are under a shelter-in-place order. Consider joining a remote job search group, having weekly check-ins with a friend who is also looking for a job, or hiring a career coach. Be sure to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Not sharing our emotions about difficult situations is rarely helpful.

#6 Be accountable to the plan you set for yourself. Again, it can be helpful to work with a job support group, a friend, or a career coach.

#7 Always look at the good side. It’s easy to be negative. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get us very far. Find that bright side and try to stay there. ☺

#8 Accept what you cannot change.

Despite the difficulties of a pandemic, life continues on. Stay confident and keep moving forward.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

Barbara Gough CCTC Career Coach & Consultant

Phase2Careers is a private, nonprofit 501(c)3 agency that does not receive government funding.

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