I’ve coached hundreds of clients in job search and don’t think I’ve ever heard any of them exclaim that they were excited to be looking for a job. It’s an oxymoron – the term excitement and ‘job search’ just don’t go hand-in-hand. But, what is more important is what job search frequently connects us to and that is ‘procrastination’. It’s true, just thinking about getting into the fray of job search can induce procrastination even in the most motivated individuals.
So, what are some ways to tackle job search procrastination?
1. Job search fear – don’t worry about getting rid of fear because you won’t, it’s as simple as that. Fear is always with us and always will be because it’s built in; trying to get rid of fear completely would be like trying to get rid of your bones… not a good look. What tends to work better (at least for me) is to accept fear and simply move through the fear (in this case, the fear of job search and what may come with it; rejection, humility, anger, negativity, frustration, etc.) Waiting for all fear to be gone before you jump into your search will only feed your procrastination (like a yummy cheeseburger) so that it keeps you stuck. So, don’t let fear stand between you and beginning your job search to land a new job. Acknowledge it as a normal part of the process (like needing to write a resume… ugh, but of course you have to, or asking for references and testimonials, etc.) and then move through it – one foot in front of the other and you will be able to move through job search fear and stop feeding your procrastination those yummy meals.
2. First impressions – many people procrastinate in job search because they are not sure how to begin when it comes to first impressions and personal branding. It is important for you to take some time to organize yourself with your job search and create your personal brand through your overall approach to the marketplace, your documents (i.e., resume, cover letter, references) as well as your online visibility (i.e., LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Taking some time to get a good head start on first impressions will increase your visibility, improve your personal branding efforts and reduce your procrastination level.
3. Have a plan – if you get out of bed and decide you’ll just dive straight into job search with no plan of attack you will more than likely find yourself in procrastination pain right from the start. You’ll sit down at your computer, and in what seems like an instant, the entire day will go by and you will still be mindlessly searching the job boards, reading duplicate job descriptions and forgetting what comes first. You’ll end up frustrated and unsuccessful, again this is a ‘delicious meal’ for procrastination, but you will probably end up with indigestion! So, make a plan. How will you tackle your job search project? What types of jobs are you interested in? What industries do you want to explore? Who are the companies within that industry sector that you are interested in? My point here is that there are a lot of elements to successful job search and laying out a plan will ensure that you stay on track and move forward daily. Remember…
No plan = Procrastination
4. Allocate time – just as you allocate time to go to work 5-days a week you need to allocate time for job search when you’re looking for a position. Telling yourself you ‘just don’t have time’ is procrastination’s best friend! I admit myself that letting every little thing get in the way of something you dread doing is easy… “I’ll just get one more cup of coffee”, or “I need to check my email”, or “I told Fred I would check on his dog”, or “My cat ate the keys!” You get what I mean – we tend to let everything take priority to what needs to get done. This can especially apply to job search. So, plan a time each day for your job search activities and stick to the plan. Think of job search as your full time job. And don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done!