I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from clients and people attending my workshops. It’s frustrating to do all that work and not get a single reply. I can’t understand why companies don’t send polite rejection notices. Nor can I explain why anyone’s resume doesn’t attract an employer’s attention. I can state explicitly, however, that action leads to motivation. It is persistence that will pay off. Let’s look at some ideas that can help you keep moving ahead.
We all respond to positive reinforcement. In fact, it is difficult to sustain motivation without it. Unfortunately, in today’s job market, people often encounter long stretches without a positive response from employers. As a result, our motivation gets eroded and negative emotions like frustration, anger and despair set in. In order to keep plugging away at meaningful job search activities, you have to focus on your emotional state and provide your own positive reinforcement.
In a sense, when unemployed, you are your own boss. Set a daily schedule that works to your benefit. Follow the “Premack Principle.” Take on the difficult or unpleasant tasks first, followed by those you find more pleasant. David Premack,a psychologist, has shown that applying this principle raises the probability that you will complete the tough (but important) tasks you tend to avoid.
Next, do not rely on external forces for reinforcement, create your own. Make a list of easy-to-do “reinforcers,” things you really enjoy, like hitting some golf balls, watching a funny movie or cooking something fun. Use these reinforcers after you complete a couple of daily tasks. It’s like giving yourself a reward. Finally, keep reminding yourself it’s persistence that pays off.
Dr. John Manni and Doug Barton, of Psych Up for Job Search, want to help you become a more competitive job candidate. Psych Up for Job Search presents strategies on how to beat back the negative emotions associated with job loss that get you down and keep you from moving forward. Dr. Manni also blogs at Jobless, Not Joyless for Psychology Today.