It's easy to feel down and unmotivated when you've been out of work for a while. Here are a few ideas to recharge your search, help you bust out of that unemployment rut and get back into the workforce.
Make Job Hunting Your Job
This is not a new idea, but it's easy to underestimate just how much time and effort it takes to find a job. Set "office hours" for yourself. Make a list of job hunting activities to complete during the week such as perusing online job sites, composing cover letters and making follow-up calls. Schedule these tasks into your day and check them off as you complete them.
Don't forget to take a lunch and "punch out" at five. You will return to your search more refreshed the next day if you can turn off job-hunt brain at the end of the day. Relax, get some exercise and reconnect with friends and family, just as you would if you were employed. Bonus - keeping some structure to your time will make it easier to transition back to the workforce once you do find a job.
Schedule a Lunch
It's tempting to hole up at home when you are unemployed. You don't want to spend money, you may be embarrassed by your unemployed status and sweat pants are comfy. But a hermit career doesn't pay well.
Contact someone in a field or company of interest and buy them lunch (or coffee) in exchange for their insights. Catch up with a former coworker or boss. Keep in touch with those you would like to use as references when the opportunity arises.
It's a great way to keep up with your industry and contacts and uncover potential job leads, but it also helps just to get out of the house and have something to look forward to. Don't use this occasion to complain about your circumstances. Dress nicely, be positive and act employable.
Join a Group
Check the business section of your local newspaper (online if you are not a subscriber) for groups hosting seminars or meetings where you can network with fellow professionals. Join local or industry-focused groups on LinkedIn and participate in online conversations or initiate your own. Attend any local events they sponsor.
Search for Meetup groups in your area. Professional or career networking focused events may be best, but just getting out and being social can help, too. Expand your contact network by meeting new people or just keep your spirits up with a little social time.
Try a Temporary Job
Apply with a staffing firm. You can try a job you're curious about or make connections in the business world. Some temporary positions can become permanent once you've gotten a chance to shine on the job.