How to Stay Motivated during your Job Search

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, if you become unemployed after the age of 35, the minimum average length of time taken to find another job is 50 weeks. Of course this is only an average and some will find jobs more quickly than others. The question is how do you do better than the average in finding your next job?

A trained career counsellor can help here. I believe that the most significant thing a career counsellor can do to is to play  a coaching role helping unemployed people maintain their motivation and hence do better than the average in finding a new job despite what might seem to be an ever growing pile of  ‘you were not successful’ emails.

When meeting with an unemployed client for the first time, I usually ask what they have been doing to find another job. The usual answer is ‘applying for jobs on seek’. People are often surprised to learn that while applying for jobs is an important part of the job search it is by no means the most important part. These days a very large percentage of available jobs go to people who are already known to the organisation either directly or indirectly through mutual contacts. Accordingly career counsellors can provide information and coaching to unemployed people on how to best tap into this so called ‘hidden’ job market.

The resume is not old hat. Whether you are applying on line or contacting the friend of a friend who may have a job going, you will need to have a document that sets out your experience, qualifications, achievements and skills. The better presented it is the more likely the person on the receiving end is to read it and perhaps contact you for ether a formal or informal chat. Most experienced career counsellors have helped hundreds of job seekers with their resumes and for the unemployed person whose confidence has taken a hit, they can not only produce a solid document but also reaffirm the unemployed person’s confidence through careful exploration of the skills that the person has to offer.

Last but not least is the interview. There is a huge amount of information on the internet about what to do and what not to do at an interview and how to prepare. There are numerous websites that offer sample interview questions and answers and tips for dealing with those hard behavioural questions. However nothing builds motivation and confidence more than a practice run for the real thing.  Frequently I take clients who have a forthcoming interview through a ‘mock interview’ and give then feedback about the impression they are making. Almost without exception, I find this technique improves a client’s confidence (and reduces their nervousness) in going into an interview.

So, to conclude, career counsellors have a valuable role to play in helping those who are unemployed get back into work. They do this not only through their professional knowledge base but more significantly through being there as a coach to maintain motivation during these difficult times in a person's life.

Bernie Bishop
Career Change

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