June 18, 2018

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How to Change Your Job-Search Thinking

I just returned from a two-day trip to Toronto.

In the airports, in my hotel, and on the plane, I got a lot of work done.

It happens every time I get out of the office and expose my brain to new stimuli, such as landscapes, people, food, accents, radio stations, etc.

In fact, I find it impossible NOT to be productive when I'm on the road for a few days.

What does travel have to do with your job search?

This: If you're stuck in a rut, unable to solve your job-hunting problems, why not change your environment for a day or two?

Because new stimuli can produce new thinking -- and new solutions.

But you don't have to leave the country, or even leave your house.

Here are four ways to change your job-search results simply by changing your surroundings, wherever you may be ...

  1. Change Your Location

    If you work on your job search at home, check into a hotel for a day and see how much you can get done in 8 hours of focused effort.

    Don't have time or money for a hotel?

    Head for a coffee shop or public library that you've never been to and work there. Any place that forces you to get dressed and encounter new people can help lift you out of a rut. And it can make you more productive when it comes to writing your resume, making networking calls, or just getting clear on exactly what job you're looking for.

  2. Change Your View

    While outlining this article, I was looking out my 34th floor window at the city of Toronto, a view that included City Hall, The Canada Life Building and scores more, all lit up in fiery shades of orange by the setting winter sun.

    It's a lot more mentally stimulating than the view of suburban Minneapolis I see out of my office window every day. (I'm not knocking the suburbs or Minneapolis. It's the sameness I needed a break from -- even chocolate cake will bug you if you have it every meal.)

    Don't want to leave town?

    Try hanging one or two inspirational pictures on the wall in the room where you work. Or buy some fresh, cut flowers and put them on your desk.

    Any change in what you look at most of the day can inspire changes in your thinking.

  3. Change Your Soundtrack

    If you usually listen to rap, country or pop songs while you work on job-search projects -- or don't have on music at all -- try listening to classical music as an experiment. Especially something from the three Bs: Bach, Beethoven or Brahms. Listen for an hour or two and see if your creative juices don't start flowing faster.

    For extra stimulation, tune into a foreign radio station on your computer.

    I stream classical music from a French station in Montreal, CJPX 99.5 FM. I understand exactly zero French, but the new language patterns are mentally invigorating without being annoying.

  4. Change Your Schedule

    One final way to shake things up is to change the times you work on your job search.

    If you prefer to make networking calls in the afternoon, for example, why not do so before lunch? Not only might your delivery and tone of voice on the phone change for the better, but you might find more people are available to take your calls.

    If you usually write cover letters and revise your resume after dinner, try getting up at 5:30 one day and writing before breakfast.

By changing your environment and work patterns, you can change your thinking. Changed thinking can produce changed results. And if you're not happy with how your job search is going, aren't changed results what you're after?

- Kevin Donlin

Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free glimpse, visit Guerrilla Job Search System DVD.

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