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4 Tips for Surviving a Long-Term Job Hunt

shutterstock_865762While job searching is hardly anyone’s idea of a good time, surviving the weeks and months it takes to find the right position for you doesn’t have to be an excruciating experience. Let these four tips help spare you the usual agony on the way to your new job.

1. Ease the Squeeze
Job searching is all well and good when you have money in the bank, but when bills come due and your savings run thin, serious stress can set in. You can ease the financial pressure in a number of ways. First and foremost, file for unemployment insurance. Benefits vary by state, but thanks to January 2009’s economic stimulus bill, extended benefits–up to 33 weeks–remain available throughout 2009. In addition to unemployment, consider freelance or project-based work. Part-time work and temping, while not necessarily ideal, can also help ease financial pressures while you continue your search for a permanent position.

2. Stay Connected
When you’re job searching your network is more important than ever. Statistics for the percentage of job hunters who find employment through public job listings vary, but they’re always low–somewhere around 10 percent. That means the other 90 percent of jobs are found through word-of-mouth. Sure, you should still check online job boards, but you should also set up lunch, coffee, dinner, walks, talks–whatever you can–with friends, former colleagues, and professional connections. Getting out of the house and spending time with friends is good for your spirit, plus, if interesting positions open up, you’ll be the first to know.

3.Think Broader
During the current economic downturn, some sectors have been harder hit than others. As of July 2009, Close to 2 million jobs have been lost in the manufacturing sector, and close to 1.3 million have been lost in the construction sector. On the other hand, in the past two years, employment has actually grown in the health and education sectors. You may have always worked in the same type of company or the same field, but what these statistics mean for you is that casting your net a little wider may yield better results. Which of your skills might transfer to another field? Is this time away from work an opportunity to pursue additional education? Brainstorm with all those friends you’re having lunch with or consider setting up an appointment with a professional career coach to talk through ideas.

4. Prioritize Your Health
The National Sleep Foundation recently reported that one third of Americans–100 million people–are losing sleep due to stress about the current economic environment. By all reports, cases of anxiety and depression are also rising dramatically. If you’re job searching, you’re undoubtedly feeling some of the stress that leads to these conditions. Take advantage of the time you have to work out, eat right, and get the sleep you need. Set up an appointment with your doctor. See a nutritionist. Lace up your walking shoes. You’ll feel better, and you’ll project energy and vigor–always a plus for interviews.

Use these tips. Stay positive. Be patient. While it all sounds pretty easy, it’s going to take some real effort to keep unemployment from dragging you down. Keep that chin up, and start spreading your resume across town!

Publish date: August 5, 2009