For many professionals, changing jobs or careers is a daunting task. It takes time. There’s risk involved. There’s definitely some common rejection. And there’s a lot of unknowns that drive you crazy (Did they get my resume? Why didn’t I get the job? Will the see me as too old? Over-qualified? Asking for too much?)

However, the name of the game in job search is progress. Moving just an inch forward in your job search gives you the momentum to move a foot forward. Feeling you’ve moved a foot forward gives you the momentum to move a mile.

But what if you feel stuck? What if, despite all your efforts, you still feel as if you are running in place and not progressing at all?

Psychologists who work with folks looking for life change analyze the things that are holding individuals back from maximum achievement of their goals.

Sometimes an individual’s expectations are unrealistic if they want something to happen too quickly or without recognizing the hard work that is required to do something. For example, if you wanted to run a marathon, you couldn’t do so by simply thinking about it or by putting on your tennis shoes and running out the door. To run 26 miles, it requires months-long training routines that creates strength, endurance and muscle memory. In much the same way, job seeking requires positive routines that create positive results.

Positive routines are repetitive exercises that help you build endurance, strength and progress. Negative routines that don’t produce results are a trap and produce false hope (like spending all of your job seeking energy responding to jobs on a job board). But positive routines (like making connections over the phone or in person) give you more hope, energy, motivation and forward momentum.

First and foremost, is your resume. Like finding a pair of running shoes that are most comfortable to your feet, you need to build a resume that is the best representation of your skills, background and successful accomplishments. This is your main job seeking tool on your job seeking journey.

Once you have your resume ready to go, then establish daily routines that will help you recognize progress in your job search.

For example if your routine is mindlessly sending out resume after resume to jobs on job boards, change your routine and instead, hone in on specific careers/industries/jobs and companies with a laser-type focus that is connected to your skills, experiences, background, education and accomplishments. Establish a routine of sending out resumes only to job postings that match your focused criteria and would most likely result in call backs, interview and job offers.

Other routines include setting a time aside each day for networking. Whether it is checking in with your friends/colleagues/mentors or others you consider helpful in your job search or branching out and making cold calls to companies and individuals. Have a script. Be prepared to talk about why you are calling and be prepared to talk about yourself. What’s your ask? “Can I drop by and meet?” “Do you have minute for coffee?” “Can I email you my resume?” “Can you give me a contact in your HR Department to talk with?”

Your last routine of the day is to think about and write down a list of job-seeking activities you will do the following day. This way, when you wake up each morning, you’ll be ready to jump head first into your job search with a list of things to accomplish. It’s an easy way to make sure that each day, you are organized and prepared for to tackle your new daily goals.

Job seeking is a marathon. There’s no EASY way to find a job. It requires self introspection. It requires risk taking. It also involves rejection and yes, failure. Waking up each day with new goals, commitment, motivation, a laser focus about your goals and a red hot confidence in yourself and your abilities is the most successful job seeking strategy that will get you the interview and job offers you want and deserve.

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