You’ve found yourself out of work for one reason or another, now what? The key is not to panic! Worry and panic only curtail productivity, encourage self-doubt, and impede the job search process. Here are some simple steps to get your from panic mode to job search “beast” mode.

1. Breathe!

No seriously, stop and take a long 5-count breath in through your nose, and a long 5-count exhale through your mouth. I even dare you to :sigh: out loud. Feel more composed and centered?

2. The next step is to get your job search portfolio in order. Make sure you have:

  • An updated resume
  • A cover letter template (which you’ll tailor to each job you apply for)
  • A list of 3-5 references (with current contact information)
  • Some writing samples (if relevant)
  • Business cards. Yep, they are a great networking tool and there are many places to get them for free (or cheap) online.

3. You’ve got your paperwork in order, now you need a plan.

Without it, a job search can quickly becoming an overwhelming and draining. Define your job goal, research companies to develop a target list and strategize ideas for how you’re going to make it all happen. Then, set up goals on a regular basis so you can keep track of your progress and celebrate the milestones, no matter how small.

4. A common misconception is that if you’re job searching, you have to be looking for work 24/7. Stop punishing yourself!

YOU still need some TLC, even in the job search process. Make sure you schedule time each day/week to job search when you can be the most productive and then use the rest of the time for other things; work out, see your friends and family, keep up with your hobbies. This will help ensure you’re putting your best foot forward in each task you do, rather than mindlessly clicking through to cross it off your list, 6 hours in. You’ll be more motivated overall, too.

5. It’s hard to do this alone– so get support!

Sitting in front of a computer all day looking through craigslist (which I don’t suggest, by the way) can be terribly isolating. Instead, look for resources in your community to give you support and assistance. There are lots of nonprofit organizations, state agencies, or for profit companies that can provide you with job search guidance and support. Even better, find other job seekers to team up with. You can help keep each other accountable, strategize opportunities together, and utilize one another to grow your networks.

6. Network, network, network.

I know you’ve heard this by now, but the absolute BEST way to find a job is through networking. Many jobs never get posted online so this is how you’re going to access them. Get on LinkedIn, show your expertise on Twitter, sign up for local chamber events, go to a meet up group, just make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity that might help you meet that one person who will be your in. It only takes one!
There’s no doubt that the job search process is tough. Find ways to make it manageable for you and welcome supportive networks, like the amazing and well-connected women of the Levo League, to help make the process feel more collaborative, fun, and ultimately more successful.