Ctrl + Alt + Del…How to Reboot Your Stalled Job Search

By: Randi Bussin-Career Coach, Personal Branding Specialist

Every month I hear the same comments from clients, “I have been looking for X job for Y months and I’m ready to tear my hair out. Can you help me?” They’ve gotten to the point where their job search has pretty much stalled out. And by “stalled” I mean that the person is applying for jobs online but not getting anywhere, or interviewing and not getting past the first interview, or just feeling total frustration with the process.

So here are 7 ways to break out of a rut and improve your job search outcomes:

1) STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER
You’re less likely to find a job strictly by sitting at your computer and applying online. That’s just playing right into the "black hole" of the job search game. Make an “in-person impression.” It's almost always stronger and more effective than what you do online. You need to meet new people, open new doors, build connections, and get in front of hiring managers and influencers.

How do you do this? Identify the right professional associations to start getting active in. Join a committee or SIG, volunteer your talents, meet new people, and expand your network.

That is not to say you should forsake the Internet completely. Not at all. You should continue to expand your online networking. Join new LinkedIn groups and connect with new people. 

2) START A NETWORKING GROUP
This is something I have done successfully with clients. A few years back, I had 12 male clients all going through some sort of career change. We started a bi-monthly career support group at my office. The men came, got to know one another, talked about where they needed help, made new connections, and practiced their pitch. They all helped each other, and when they were down and frustrated, they had a group of peers to cheer them on. The group went on for some time and even today people have stayed in touch.

3) BRAND AND POSITION YOURSELF, ESPECIALLY ONLINE
Today most people are checking you out online (Google, LinkedIn), BEFORE they ever ask for your resume or call you in. How are you positioning yourself online? Do you have a compelling story to tell? Is it clear why someone should hire you over everyone else who may be interested in that role?
LinkedIn is more than here to stay and should be the first place you focus your online presence efforts. Have a compelling bio, show some passion, showcase your stuff (white papers, videos), elevate your profile with targeted keywords, be active, share content, and act like a knowledgeable expert in your industry.

4) TAKE A BREATH
Give yourself permission to take some time off from your job search and do what you LOVE. Be it a few hours, a day, or a week, getting away from this tedious job will inspire you and help you come back to it with a fresh perspective, new ideas, and a boosted morale.

5) BUILD YOUR OWN PERSONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Find people who can help you. Find a mentor, coach, or sponsor who can offer guidance, constructive feedback, connections, and access to opportunities. Gather your cheering squad and totally ignore the naysayers.

When it comes to building your own Board of Advisors, don’t just stick with people just like you. Branch out and expand the diversity of your board. Include people who can help you meet your medium term career/branding goals, those who provide social and life support, rode models, and people you can learn new skills from.

6) ACT QUICKLY, SWIFTLY
When opportunities arise, act on them immediately. It can be very easy to hear of a possible connection or opportunity and add it to the ever-growing to-do list. Tackle it right away. Opportunities dissipate quickly and hopefully making new connections and seeking new opportunities will keep you energized and motivated.

7) CHECK YOUR MAP (OK, it’s 2015…YOUR GPS)
It’s so easy to lose your way during a job search. So take a step back and jump up to 20,000 feet.  Make sure you maintain your focus, and if not, make course corrections immediately.

BONUS TIP: ELIMINATE THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
As I discussed in a recent blog post about staying positive in your job search, it can be easy to let negative thoughts creep in and drain your energy, thus making it even tougher to get back on track. So when you feel yourself focusing on negative things, turn them around and choose to take a positive perspective on them. For example, if you find yourself saying something like:

“I won’t get hired because of my age.”

Turn around these negative thoughts into something positive:

“I have a lot of skills and experience and can leverage that.” Or “I exercise regularly and don’t look my age.”

So if you’re feeling that your search has stalled, try these tips to help jump-start it again. And by all means, please do so before you tear any hair out!