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5 tips for handling a lengthy job search

Looking for a job these days is more difficult than it has been in decades. Job searches are taking longer than ever before. Losing a job and being out of work for an extended period of time can lead to anger, resentment, guilt, and certainly depression. These feelings, in turn, can sabotage your job search, extending it even longer. So, I'm suggesting that you take these five tips and apply them while you are looking:

1. Carpe Diem

Your days are valuable. You have to schedule your day in advance. Not having a plan for your day can lead to lots of idle time and discouragement caused by boredom. This can lead to idle and negative thoughts. And the spiral will continue. Plan your day from when you will get up, what you will accomplish, and when you'll go to bed. Make your job search your job until you land one. Make sure that you plan time for exercise, friends, family, and reading. You need to read books and articles that will help you in your field of work, as well as material that will encourage you.

2. Say No To Junk Food And Old Reruns

Not only does lack of exercise and a poor diet impact your waistline, they also impact the chemical balance in your body. This will cause mood swings and energy shifts. If you are an emotional eater, you need to be careful you aren't dealing with your frustrations by eating poorly. A poor diet will leave you feeling lethargic. This will impact your job search and even your ability to interview well. Journal your meals so you can effectively track your diet. Take time to exercise daily. Eating healthy and well-balanced meals along with regular exercise will help you feel better as well as sleep better at night. The exercise can be as simple as walking for 20-30 minutes a day. Whatever you do, get off the couch!

3. Don't Spend What You Don't Have

You don't need a financial crisis to add to the frustration of a lengthy job search. If you haven't been doing a zero-based monthly budget (and you should be), start now. Account for every dollar being spent. Your spending priorities need to be food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. Other expenses can, and should, be put on hold. Don't borrow money, and don't waste it. You are not the government!

4. Go Help Somebody! Too often, those who are discouraged by the length of their job search can become self-absorbed and start a pity party. It's time to crash that party and turn your focus outward. Who can you help? There really are people less fortunate than you. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other non-profits in your area are likely in need of your assistance. Serve a meal to someone less fortunate. Clean out your closet and give some of your unused clothing away. You will find an incredible burst of energy and encouragement by helping others and not wallowing in self-pity. You will make friends and connect with other people making a difference in their community. Don't forget, your volunteer work has a place on your resume, too.

5. Review Your Job Search Strategy And Adjust Accordingly

The key to having a successful outcome to your search is a sound strategy. Is your strategy working? Are you getting interviews and call backs? If not, it's time to review what's going on. Your resume needs to be the sales tool that sparks interest in an employer. Ensure that your net is wide enough. Are you focusing on only large employers? If so, it's time to change. Despite their impressive employee counts before the recession, companies of greater than 99 employees account for 2.6% of the total. 52.8% of companies employ fewer than 5 employees. It may be time for you to move to a different pond, or even start your own company. The mismanagement of many large corporations helped exacerbate this current crisis. They continue to out-source work, increase work hours for those still employed, and reduce pay and benefits. Why would you want to return to that? Economic downturns in our great country have always afforded the entrepreneur and small business owner the opportunity to solve a problem, resulting in new jobs and wealth creation. Are you ready to be one of them, or at least help one succeed? They are more flexible and more responsive than big companies, so your best opportunity may lie there. All in all, don't limit yourself to your comfort zone. Embrace the change that has come to your life, and make it count.

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