Monday, June 20, 2011

Job Search Tips: Staying Focused in a Digital World

Finding a nonprofit job is hard enough without being constantly bombarded with distractions.  The nature of today's job search, unfortunately, means that it is almost impossible to avoid them.  Think about it: The majority of job seeking takes place on the Internet.  The web has made it a lot simpler to find and apply for jobs, but with that simplicity comes countless distractions.  One minute you could be browing a job board and before you know it, you find yourself on YouTube looking at that latest cat video.

How are you supposed to get anything done with all of these online distractions?

There might be no way to just get rid of all of these distracting sites, but there are ways you can train yourself to avoid them.  One of the first ways to do this is to simply stay off any services were your friends or family can contact you (AOL Instant Messenger, etc).  It's hard to fully focus on filling out a job application when you are constantly being bombarded with messages.  It will also be that much easier to avoid sites that are unrelated your job search if you don't have your friends linking them to you via instant messages.

Digitally isolating yourself is just part of the solution.  The next step is the hardest: Training yourself to stay focused.  To be honest, there is really no good way to do this.  One thing I always found helpful was to use the distractions as a reward.  For example, I would allow myself to freely browse the Internet for a set time period (10-15 minutes) before continuing my search.  You can enforce this by setting setting an alarm clock to go off when that period has elapsed.  You could also listen to music while job searching.  I always found that was a good way to keep my mind focused.  Whichever method you choose, you will have to work hard to make sure you don't stray off course.

By far the biggest distraction on the Internet is also one that can help your job search the most: Social media.  Tomorrow, I will write about how you can use sites like Facebook and Twitter without being distracted from looking for work.  Stay tuned!

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