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How To Conquer Job-Hunting Apathy

   By: Pierre G. Daunic, Ph.D.

Jack, downsized from his last job, was frozen in a place called Apathy. Had been for months now. Knew he had to get moving, had to find a job, but … just couldn’t seem to get his act together. Oh, he’d tried … a little. But his lack of immediate success just made him that much more apathetic.

Listless, almost indifferent, he dithered, wasting time on unrelated tasks. Found excuses not to move forward. Procrastinated … and hated himself for it. His family and friends tried to be supportive, but that only seemed to deepen his gloomy outlook. He was stuck.

Getting Back in the Game

Sound familiar? If so, read on … there are things you can do to quickly get unstuck!

Irrational fear, not the lack of ability or opportunity, is the usual cause of apathy during a job search. Sometimes we fear we are too old, too inexperienced, too long out of work, too … something. At other times, fearing rejection, we assume that no one will ever want us again. Or that if they do, we won’t be able to hold the job. We fear it’s a bad job market, the wrong career track, the wrong time of year, our health, – oh, lots and lots of things lead us to apathy!

What to do:

Put your fears aside Worrying about the past or future never helped anyone, but thoughtful, persistent action will. Others, many in worse straits than you and tired of “sawing sawdust,” have found their way forward. So can you.

Plan and, if need be, plan again “Those who fail to plan,” it’s been said, “plan to fail.” But not every plan will work, so be prepared to rethink your plan.

Check your tools Ask yourself such things as: Do my résumé and cover letters impress rather than bore? Do I know how to find job opportunities? Are my interviewing and negotiating skills as polished as they should be? Is my personal appearance acceptable? Correct or improve what you can.

Gain exposure If no one knows you exist, nothing happens. So identify and use all marketing channels appropriate to your goals: job ads, recruiters, networking, information interviewing, and many others. Once you have correctly gained exposure to the right hiring personnel, favorable things should start to happen.

Start small Just getting started is often the hardest part of a job campaign. Therefore, begin with something easy—answering ads or contacting your references again. Then move on to those job campaign actions like networking that typically take more time and effort.

Study the Process. Most job hunters today have only a vague idea about how to go about marketing themselves. If you take the time to learn and apply effective job-hunting techniques, however, you will surely shorten the time it takes you to find a satisfying position.

Seek Professional Help If despite your best efforts you are still struggling, then consider seeking professional help from qualified and experienced career coaches or consultants. Such knowledgeable personnel can help pinpoint your problem areas as well as suggest paths of action that you may not have thought of.

Yes, job-hunting apathy is a real challenge. But if you have read this far, then you know how to lick it. (Jack did!) So! No more worrying, no more procrastinating, no more self-recriminations—just get that ball rolling! (And start right now!)

About the Author

Pierre G. Daunic, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant for R.L. Stevens & Associates Inc. For over 24 years R.L. Stevens & Associates has been the Nation’s most successful privately-held firm, specializing in executive career searches generating quality interviews through both advertised and unadvertised channels.

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