Everyone feels down sometimes, but persistent feelings of discouragement can cripple your job search. If your resume wasn’t working you’d rewrite it. Your state of mind is even more important, so do something about it.
Here are some actions you can take to get into a more peaceful, resourceful state of mind.
- Exercise. As a mood lifter it’s been shown to be as effective as antidepressants. It’s a great way to build up your energy, your appearance and your confidence in yourself. Start with something easy and enjoyable.
- Get support by joining a job search group like EDD’s Experience Unlimited, or by meeting regularly with a buddy who has a similar goal. Having a regular opportunity to report on your accomplishments and share resources can be motivating.
- Reread any recommendations and kudos you’ve received during your career, and/or gather more: request LinkedIn recommendations from past bosses, direct reports, business partners and other business contacts, or from professors or instructors if you’re a recent graduate. (If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, take a half hour right now and set it up, minimally. Then add more information later.) Receiving a recommendation feels great, not to mention that it impresses employers.
- Get around to a job search task you’ve been putting off (maybe a “baby step,” not necessarily the whole thing at once), then reward yourself by doing something you enjoy. Don’t skip that part.
- Start free-lancing, either in your own field or something else that will teach you some relevant skills. You’ll feel more confident because you’re working. Plus, you’ll make money, make connections, gain some experience to fill the gap in your resume, and it may well help you get a new job. Or volunteer, which will give you many of the same benefits plus flexibility, appreciation from others, and the satisfaction of contributing.
- Work on your emotional issues through self-help or therapy. One of the most effective and affordable therapies is brief therapy, also known as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. You may not even need to hire a therapist; save money by working with this excellent book: Rapid Relief from Emotional Distress: A New, Clinically Proven Method for Getting Over Depression & Other Emotional Problems Without Prolonged or Expensive Therapy. This book is a self-help classic that I’ve found extremely helpful in navigating the ups and downs of my own life.
Job search, especially if you’re unemployed, can be very stressful. Take care of yourself!