Making a career change can often times bring up a lot of negative emotions. Most of us are not excited about looking for a new job, even when we know it’s often the best move for our career, and sometimes for our sanity. When I was acting, every audition was like an interview and I had to get used to a lot of rejection.
The job market can also be an unfriendly place, filled with rejection and waiting. I’ve had to learn to change how I think about the process and I try to help others do the same. First, I had to start thinking about it as an opportunity to learn about a new company and explore different areas of an industry. Networking was no longer about trying to meet the right people to help me get a new job, but about making genuine connections with others and learning what they liked and disliked about their industries. I also had to stop comparing myself to others and start seeing their career success as evidence that I too could advance in my industry.
Bringing negative thoughts into the job search only serves to make us miserable, impede our progress and drain our energy. We are less likely to spend our time on something that we have negative feelings toward. That’s when we are most likely to push back and procrastinate.
Having a clear strategy around what needs to get done can lessen some of the tension regarding the job search. I love strategies that are broken down into weekly and daily tasks. All good job search strategies should include research, networking, building your online brand (I love LinkedIn for this), and applying to companies directly. And, of course, every clear strategy or plan must start with a goal.
Creating a Plan
The first step is to think about what you are looking to accomplish, not just in the short term, but in the long term as well. Where do you see your career in the next five years? Ten years? These long-term goals will affect the kinds of companies and jobs you apply to.
I generally advise people to create a six-month job search plan. The length of your job search will depend on effort, time commitment, salary requirements, industry and the economy. AOL Jobs is now saying that it can take the unemployed over seven months to find a new position. Having a date in place will keep you focused and assist with setting smaller related goals and tasks.
Once you have a clear plan in place, the language around your job search has to change — not only what you tell others, but also what you tell yourself. If there is a ton of negative talk regarding the economy, lack of skills or competition, you will not feel motivated to execute your job search strategy. Pay attention to who you discuss your job search with. The person who is always complaining about his or her job search and the lack of opportunities is not the best person to go to for career advice. Find a network of like-minded individuals who can support you in your search and hold you accountable to your goals.
The next step is to set your intention and know that it is done. Work toward it with confidence, knowing that the right opportunities will flow into your life at the perfect time. As you work your plan, keep positive energy around the process.