1. What does your digital messaging say about you?
Lets face it – what you say online is not just a inside joke between you and your five best friends. Whatever you put on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wordpress, or anything else you can update online is a direct reflection of who you are and what you do online. It can reflect your work ethic, what you're doing to continue your education, how you are stimulating conversation with your colleagues, as well as how you're spending your time (good and bad) in the job search. If you send it out, everyone can see it – including your future boss. Remember how your digital messaging is reflecting you, and make sure its a positive image.
2. Its okay to say “No.”
While you're looking for a job, it may be very tempting to say yes to every possibility that passes your way, from volunteering at the homeless shelter to showing underprivileged children how to weave baskets underwater. In all your volunteer activities, remember you're still looking for a paying job – not just a job in kind. Focus your job search on paid employment first and foremost, followed by volunteer activities that will either reinforce your skill set or activities that will get you closer to your next employer.
3. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.
Networking is a great way to meet people who can help you along the way, and build powerful connections that will help you down the road. But you don't have to go to every single networking event on the planet to get a job. Go to the events that are tailored to your skills and the audience you want to get in front of. For instance, if you are in sales, definitely go to professionals' club events and chamber of commerce mixers – but don't think twice about skipping out on the ballroom dance society event immediately after the trade show you were just at.
4. Live a balanced lifestyle.
Just because you are looking for a job doesn't mean you should eat, sleep, and breathe job search mode. Yes, keep your focus on getting employment at companies that can use you – but don't be afraid to expand your boundaries as well. Read blogs about your field. Find that book you always meant to read and start sitting down through it. Odds are, in your travels, you'll meet someone else who has read the same things, giving you immediate discussion fodder, allowing you to make another potential connection that can get you closer to your next boss.
5. Just breathe.
2009 was a really tough year, and you're not the only one in this situation. And as bad as it is for you, somewhere in the world, someone has it worse. Remember that if you're reading this, you're not doing too bad, and it could be worse. And don't forget to stop and breathe. Job search is a marathon, not a sprint. At the same time, keep focused, confident, and don't stop believing. Even though you may have been out of a job for a while, 2010 is a new year – and odds are you will be back on your feet by the end of it!
(Joe Cortez, a client of Worthington Career Services, is now the Web & Social Media Coordinator for CAPA – The Columbus Association of the Performing Arts, Columbus, Ohio)