Men and women sitting and laughingFinding a job can feel like a full-time job itself. And often it can take some time before you start hearing back from employers, land an interview or receive a job offer. Staying motivated and focused are skills that you can practice as you continue your job hunt, and you can use our tips to help you learn how.

Read more ...

Managing a Long Job Search

Aug 27, 2019

Men and women sitting and laughingWhether you're looking for your first job or planning to go back to work, one of the smartest things you can do is recognize that finding your place in the workforce can take time. In previous blogs, we've written about how to prepare for the search. Today, we want to focus on how to make the most of the time before you land that job.

Stay motivated

Unless you're among the most fortunate of job seekers, it's likely that your search for the right job will take weeks or even months. That's typical and it's not personal. Staying motivated in the face of silence or even rejection is a skill worth mastering. There are many factors that go into a hiring decision. There may be internal candidates who have priority; there could be a lot of qualified candidates; or the job may be eliminated before it's filled. The point is: it doesn't always have something to do with you.

One way to remain positive is to set some milestones for yourself. Decide what success looks like on a daily or weekly basis. For example, how many applications do you want to send out? How many networking contacts do you want to make? When you pick and achieve milestones that will help you make progress toward your end goal of getting a job, you also gain a sense of accomplishment that can keep you motivated. Focus on the present time, and what you're doing today to create the experience you want.

Keep a daily rhythm

When you're looking for work, it's tempting to spend every waking hour searching job boards, filling out applications and writing cover letters. After all, everyone says looking for a job is a full-time job. Yes, it's important to set yourself a schedule to conduct your search. Having that discipline will pay off.

However, it's just as important to block out time for the other things in your life that you would ordinarily do. Remember the dog still needs to be fed, the beds still need to be made and the kids still have homework. But it's not just chores. Save time for social activities and your hobbies as well. Finally, make sure you continue to spend time with family and friends. Now is not the time to go it alone. The energy and support of those closest to you can boost your spirits when the job search seems to be taking too long.

Give yourself time to think

Along with all the activities involved in just living your life, see if you can schedule 30 minutes of quiet time a couple days a week just to think about how you can make the future you're seeking actually happen. For example, if there's a specific job you want, have you done everything you can to achieve it? Many people spend hours tweaking and rewriting their resumes and cover letters when they would benefit much more from sitting down to think deeply about who might be able to help or provide valuable information.

Or, you might want to ask yourself if there's something more you could do to be prepared for that job. Are there on-line courses you could take? Volunteer organizations in that particular field that could use your help? Temporary agencies that service that industry? These are just examples. The idea is to challenge yourself to reflect on what you really want and what you can do about getting it. 

The Tortoise and the Hare

Remember that fable whose moral was "slow and steady wins the race?" For most of us, finding the right job requires both persistence and patience. You might get discouraged along the way, but if you know what you want and take every step you can to achieve it, chances are very good you can make it happen.

Ticket to Work and the job search

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Through the Ticket program, you can connect with service providers who can help you stay focused on a long job search. When you work with a Ticket to Work service provider, they will help you develop a work plan that serves as a roadmap to your success. Learn more about work plans, such as what work plans include and what your responsibilities are in Planning Your Employment Goals with Ticket to Work. Setting goals can help break down a longer job search into small, achievable steps.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.

Receive Blog Updates