Job search is a bit like sex. You think other people are better at it.

With an increasing amount of advice and do’s and don’ts now available online, there comes a vast amount of pressure on job seekers.

You are supposed to flawlessly maintain amicable, intimate yet professional relations with a whole bunch of strangers on LinkedIn, write cover letters that would make people cry, and resumes that would become a plot for a Hollywood blockbuster. Apparently, your interview performances should enthral stadium-size crowds.

Now, let’s get real. We don’t have time, aptitude and (I can’t stress it enough) mental energy to do all this wishy-washy nonsense.

But you need to do something. There are a few important things that can help you to get that darned job and forget these stressful times for a while, and here they are:

Organisation. Persistence. Optimism. 

Let’s talk about the first one, cos you will find information about the rest in buckets in any other article hash-tagged #jobsearchadvice or something.

Almost every day I speak to people who will start looking for a new job after the holidays. New Year. School Holidays. Annual bonus. Wife’s birthday. Husband’s funeral. As soon as I finish knitting this sweater. We need to sell the house. Buy a house. Burn a house. Etc etc etc

So, an observant reader would notice a tendency, which is called yes, Procrastination.

Now I am talking about the people who dreamingly browse seek a few times a month, shudder when they think of how much work their CV needs and then get back to their mundane job that they absolutely hate. Some life eh.

What are the reasons people procrastinate and what are the ways we can tame this wild horse, or shall I say, a sad donkey of procrastination?

Here are the reasons

  • No plan
  • No priorities
  • Lack of resources (time) or skills (how I do it)
  • Not sure if that’s the right thing to do
  • Fear of uncertainty, change, failure or success. Yes, even success, cos it comes with new responsibilities
  • Perfectionists
  • Too much on their plate
  • Stress, tiredness, lack of mental energy

Here are the ways to deal with this stuff. Well, there are a lot of them, starting with mindfulness, meditation or looking at your electricity bill. I will tell about those that work for me.

Delegate. Ask for help.

It can be family member, friend or even better a professional, who will help to get your bits together and finally start job search. Paying for services usually stimulates a lot of people, so there is that.

Prioritising.

  • Important and urgent – speaks for itself
  • Important but not urgent – need to do that but it can wait. Now, does your job search fall into this category? Does it? Really?
  • Unimportant but urgent – Now, let’s have a look at this list. If they are not important, how would they be urgent?
  • Unimportant and not urgent – these are the things that you do instead of writing your CV. Come on now, flowers watered, dog brushed – start working on your CV!

Decomposing your tasks – If you are working on the first draft of your CV, start with big blocks – education, summary of skills, job experience. Once you start doing smaller tasks you will achieve smaller milestones. You would agree that a bunch of smaller-scale results is better than one big fat LACK of any results!

Planning and assigning tasks.

According to Parkinson law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, however planning your tasks for the day and then striking them out really helps. Trello application is great for that.

Fill your breaks with some good stuff.

Let’s take a break from social media. Go for a walk, do a few push-ups, take a nap, pluck your nose hair. All helps.

Celebrate small wins and praise yourself.

Cup of coffee after finishing a section in your CV, Thai massage for setting a LinkedIn profile – the list goes on.

Lower the pressure.

Yes, I get it, there is a lot at stake. You expose yourself to strangers who will be assessing you, however it doesn’t help to stress out about it too much. I am sure you did a lot in your life that required all the guts you had – marriage vows, singing solo in karaoke, telling a stranger to pick up after their dog and many more.

Think of an interview as an opportunity to go and talk about yourself for an hour with some nice intelligent people that are genuinely interested in your life – and they intend to listen to you. Rare opportunity!

Eliminate your Chronophagious acquaintances (time-eaters).

All them people asking ‘how are you’ in texts and IMs, and you spring into action as if their house is on fire. Mute all the ‘time-eaters’ – they all can wait, it’s a real ‘you-time’.

Okay, job search is a stressful and hard time. Procrastination is natural. I speak from knowledge, no one knows about procrastination as much as someone managing their own business, time and cashflow. But then again, no one is responsible for your life but yourself, and let’s be honest – job search is not the hardest thing you ever done in your life. So, come on now! If you were looking for a sign – here it is! ✅

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