The average duration of unemployment is 23 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Six months is a long time and can feel even longer. When embarking on a job search, it’s important to enter with your eyes wide open and take the long view. You can’t be successful if you don’t know where you’re going. Here are three ways to prepare for the long haul, no matter how long it takes.
Establish routines. If you are without work, the open-ended nature of your days can feel like a vacation at first; however, the lack of structure can quickly lead to lethargy or panic. Be intentional about your job search. Make a list of the practices that should be a part of your job search—including taking care of yourself mentally and physically by exercising—and put them into a schedule. The idea is not to be rigid, but to establish a structure that can help you pace your days and be productive in your search. Consider location as well as activity. Perhaps you’ll want to go to a coworking space each morning to research and apply to positions.
Get involved. Being without a normal position opens your time up to do things you aren’t able to do normally. Take on a project for a nonprofit you support. Attend networking events and seminars. Don’t consider your time out of work to be passive—make it active.
Set goals. In addition to setting incremental goals for applications and networking, look at the big picture. Place your job search into the context of your overall career. Take advantage of this juncture in your life to take a step back and evaluate your career. What have you accomplished so far? What is your overall trajectory? How can this job search help you achieve your overarching goals? A job search can be an inflection point that allows you to grow and excel in your career.