Job searching is like a roller coaster with extreme highs and lows.
There will be days when you have it all together and other days when it is hard to stay motivated in your job search. This is all normal. Think of it as a time of self-discovery! One day you will want to look back at this time and remember what you learned and acknowledge both the highs and the lows. The best way to do that is to keep a journal. But not like a diary, more of a daily record. Now it is time, to be honest.
When I was young, I was an avid diary keeper. I would write daily about things like what I ate, what I wore, who I hung out with, the best part of my day, and what I was going to do to get closer to my life goals. As an adult, it took me a long time to get started. I felt more like a journal collector than a journal enthusiast. But I found one that worked for me. It can take time to find what will work for you. Here are some suggestions on what to keep in your 'Job Search Journal':
Job Search Log
You will apply for several jobs during your job search. It is hard to keep track of them without a list. Have an area in your journal where you keep a list of:
Jobs you have applied to with dates, company name, the job title you applied to, and any contact information.
If you have more than one resume, note which version you have sent to where.
List of applications you have not completed.
Interview timelines with contact names and titles and the next steps.
There is a saying – "You either win or you learn." This goes for your job search as well. You will either get the job or you will learn something. Maybe you learn that a company’s culture is less than ideal. Or after interviewing you decide that you said too little or too much. You may decide that blue is your power color. Whatever you learn, and you will learn something from each interaction, keep a note of it so that you do not make the same mistake in the future.
Pity Party of One
Everyone needs a space where they feel comfortable venting about this experience. It is hard for friends and family to be everything you need at the time that you need them. Only you will have complete insight into your job search and what you are feeling. Keeping it to yourself as to not have people worrying about you will only make you sick. For those thoughts and emotions that you are keeping for yourself, write them down. And if you need to, after you write them you can crumple it up and throw it across the room or add it to your bar-b-que. Just do not keep it inside. You will feel better.
Daily Job Search Goals
There are days that you will not be motivated to look for a job. If you do not have regular goals, you risk staying in that space! So, write daily job search goals. Maybe tomorrow you will apply for 4 jobs, reach out to 4 contacts, and read and watch a webinar from the CEO at a company you want to work for. Maybe you need to send follow up emails or iron your interview clothes. Whatever you need to do to keep your job search moving forward write it down and stick to it! Even when you don’t feel like it.
Keep a list of what you are grateful for every day. This doesn't have to be anything extraordinary; just life's little blessings. In preparation for this article, I went back and looked at my gratitude and had a laughing fit. One day it was a very philosophical entry about my parents and the amazing life I was given. It read like a Hallmark movie. Two days later I wrote ‘Bean and Cheese burritos.” That was it. Yes, there will be days that will be better than others but every day, try to find something.
Wins and Accomplishments
I suggest reserving some pages in the back of your journal just for you to keep a list of the nice things that have happened to you during your job search as well as accomplishments. Did your hair turn out great? Maybe someone gave you a compliment! Did you get up and you didn’t feel like it? Did you go for a walk? Did you use your influence to help someone else today? Keep a list of the things you did that made YOU proud of YOU today as well as things that made you smile. Just like gratitude, there is no win or accomplishment too small. But keep a list. And on those not so great days, go back and read it. There could be days that you need to read it twice.
There are several different kinds of journals and planners; dotted, lined, blank, college ruled; the list can go on and on. The one that has worked best for me is called "The High Performance Planner." As defined on Amazon:
'The High Performance Planner is a 2-in-1 day planner and journal based on the world's largest study of how high performers increase productivity, set goals, prioritize projects, outperform their peers, and create the positive mindset and habits needed to win the day.
Through morning mindset journal prompts, daily goal boxes, evening scorecards, weekly habit assessments, monthly project planning, and proprietary whole life balance sheets, the Planner helps you think more strategically, prioritize like a pro, achieve your goals faster, and become more focused, happy, and productive.''
I chose it because I could get it in the color orange. That is all it took to be the best one for me. And you will find the one that works for you. Just like this is your personal journey, it is also your personal journal. But it is a must-have for a successful job search. So, pick one that speaks to you. But pick something and do it today.
Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: How to Structure Your Job Search
Individualize employee pay based on unique job requirements and personal qualifications.
Get the latest market pricing for benchmark jobs and jobs in your industry.
Analyze the market and your qualifications to negotiate your salary with confidence.
Search thousands of open positions to find your next opportunity.