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Executive job search isn’t easy, especially at the c-level and senior executive level.
For every job seeker, at any professional level, there’s so much to do … so much to know … so much to worry about.
If you’ve been at it for a while, you may find yourself getting discouraged, and wondering how you’ll persevere until you land a good-fit job.
20 Ways to Keep Yourself Moving Forward in Executive Job Search
1. Bolster your confidence.
Revisit your job search marketing materials – your resume, other documents, LinkedIn profile, etc. They’ll help remind you of your great past achievements and the value you offer your target employers.
2. Reach out to other unemployed friends and colleagues.
See how they’re doing. Share a great job search tip, resource, book or lead to help them. Do this with no expectation of reciprocity.
3. Co-mentor with another job seeker.
Find someone you can connect with frequently to share successes and strategies. Support each other through failures.
4. Join a job search support group.
You’ll be among people going through the same ups and downs, who will share techniques that work and those that don’t. They understand what you’re feeling in a way that your family and friends may not be able to. Libraries often host these groups.
5. Avoid negative people.
You know who they are . . . the Debbie Downers we all come across. “Half-empty” types and chronic complainers can drain the energy out of you.
6. Stay connected and reconnect with fun people.
Refrain from dumping your negativity about your job search on them. Stay upbeat and re-energize yourself through their positivity.
7. Research job search strategies.
Google things like “executive job search”, “job search networking”, “job interviewing. Try a new technique. My ebook covers the job search basics and will be helpful.
8. Build your network.
Try to reach out to several new people each week. Go into it with a “give to get” attitude. Don’t ask them for help. Determine how you can help them.
9. Volunteer your time.
If you have a favorite local charity or group, find out how you can help them. Approach this with a purely philanthropic intent. But know that people who volunteer sometimes fall into good leads . . . and volunteering counts as employment, if you’re concerned about an employment gap.
10. Nip negativity in the bud.
Do something to distract yourself and shift your thoughts. When you feel it creeping up on you, make yourself think of something nice, before negativity takes hold and pulls you down that dark path. Think of all the things you’re grateful for.
11. Plan for the worst case scenario.
What will you do if the worst happens, whatever that may be for you? Having a plan can soften the blow if the worst actually happens, and can help you switch off the fear if you find yourself worrying too much that it will happen.
12. Forget about job search for a day.
Take a week day off from job search every now and then, and do something for yourself. Go on a day trip with your spouse and/or family or alone. Spend the day reading a light novel, playing your favorite sport, binge-watching comedies, tooling around with a hobby, or learning something new. Make yourself NOT think about job search at all.
13. Keep moving.
It’s just too easy to spend all your time at the computer or on the phone. Refresh yourself by getting up and out. Take several renewal breaks every day.
14. Eat right.
Especially eat a good breakfast every day. If you have an unhealthy diet, learn how to improve it. Learn how to cook and save money over going out to eat. Cooking itself is also a satisfying and positive diversion from negative thinking.
15. Sleep well.
Even though you may not have to get up in the morning to go to work, try to keep “working hours”. Keep your body in the rhythm of going to bed and getting up at the same time.
If worries are keeping you from sleeping, try meditation and deep breathing before you go to bed to empty your head of negative thoughts. Try keeping a pad by your bed to write down those thoughts or problems making you toss and turn.
16. Set realistic, but aggressive, daily job search goals.
Keep at it until you complete your goals, then reward yourself by taking the rest of the day off.
17. Pat yourself on the back for your job search efforts.
On the days or weeks that you exceed your job search goals, give yourself a gold star. And add it to a list where you keep track of all such accomplishments, so you can refer to it for a boost.
18. Don’t get bogged down in what you can’t control.
With so much going on in your job search, there are bound to be many things occurring which you can’t control, like people not returning your messages or calls, or recruiters and hiring professionals not letting you know that they’ve filled the job you applied for and coveted.
Do your best not to take such things personally. Often when people neglect getting back to you it’s because they’re overwhelmed.
Focus on what you CAN control, like running an effective job search campaign.
19. Celebrate all your wins . . . even the small ones.
Even in a difficult job search, good things happen. Even though you don’t land a job you want, if you made it into a second or third round of interviews, take that as a big win. It means you were very serious considered, so you have the goods.
Likewise, take pleasure in things like locating a hiring decision maker at a target company or landing an informational interview with someone at a target company. These are small, but very important, steps towards your ultimate goal.
20. Research your career role models.
The Muse offered this excellent advice:
“When you’re job searching, reading description after description requiring “five to seven years of experience” in a certain field, it’s hard to remember the truth about career paths: They’re rarely linear. In fact, most successful people made loops, jumps, and a few skids to get to where they are today.
So, step away from the job boards, hop over to LinkedIn, and search for people who have your dream jobs or who work at companies you are interested in. Looking at the various ways people have gotten to where they are now will likely remind you that there is no straight path to success.
Better yet, reach out to a few of these people. Asking people to share a bit about how they got to where they are and some advice for your own search can be incredibly helpful and motivating.”
More About Executive Job Search
Commonsense Executive Job Search: What You DON’T Do Can Hurt You
Worksheets for Today’s Executive Job Search
The One Skill Every Executive Job Seeker Should Have
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Rich Marsh says
Let me add one comment. Job Search is an Emotional Roller Coaster ride. At BJM (Between Jobs Ministry), we’ve helped more than 13,000 people land new jobs since 1999. We’ve learned to teach that you should only spend 30 hours per week in job search. Give the remaining 10 hours to doing many of the things on this list to rebuild your emotional strength. If you don’t, you will find networking hard and you won’t interview well.
Meg Guiseppi says
You make some good points, Rich. Thanks for commenting.
Rita Carey says
Meg, these are great recommendations. I think that numbers 1 – 4 can result in what I call an energy surge. Just reviewing materials, looking for dropped contacts, and something I have not seen mentioned before – #3 – sharing ideas and resources with another – can be a great energy boosters
Meg Guiseppi says
Thanks for commenting, Rita.
I’m hoping that, along with laying out some steps to get energized in a protracted job search, this post will affirm that indeed today’s job search can be trying and daunting, and that job seekers are not alone in experiencing disappointments and setbacks.