Advice to Unemployed in Tough Job Market – Use the Buddy System

By Heather O’Neill from

Whether you are a recent graduate, between jobs because of a layoff, or reentering the workforce after taking time off to be a stay-at-home mom, these are tough times to be looking for work.

While the busywork of unemployment–like rewriting resumes, learning to use social networking sites, and finding productive uses of your time–can be strenuous, the emotional toll a period of unemployment takes is sometimes even harder.

In Part One of this article, you can find practical tips for cleaning house, from creating an unemployment budget to polishing your resume and online image.

In this second part of this article, experts share their advice for staying positive, upbeat and sharp during a job search.

Use the Buddy System

If you are lacking motivation or feeling shy, sometimes a buddy can lift you out of your funk.

Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor; The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World, highly recommends job seekers adopt a buddy system, both for moral support and results.

“Fitness programs have shown that making a plan to meet someone at the gym ensures you get to the gym,” she said. “Similarly, making a plan to meet someone at a networking event will ensure you make it out the door.”

To really get a fire under your job search, find a dedicated “action partner,” Joyce K. Reynolds advises. This person should be willing to encourage you when you feel stalled, prod you when you are out of gas and be a source of “relentless positive, just-take-the-next-step” energy, she said.

A buddy system is helping in creating what David Perry, principal of Perry-Martel International, calls “personal leverage.” So what is personal leverage?

“Personal leverage is a constraint that makes backing away [from your intent] much more difficult… like an engagement ring if you’re thinking about getting hitched,” Perry said. “It’s a public admission that you’re going to do something, knowing that if you fail you’ll be [held accountable]. Leverage may be the best way to overcome psychological barriers that prevent you from staying focused. There are many different ways you can create leverage. Start by defining your motivation for achieving your goals: if you can define the reason to achieve a goal, you will be much more committed to it. You need to know what’s driving you to make it happen.”

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