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How to Stay Mentally Engaged During an Extended Job Search

December 2009 (SmartPros) When you're in the midst of a lengthy job search, staying productive and mentally stimulated over the long haul is the name of the game.

But it’s also important to participate in activities beyond looking for a job. After all, having tunnel vision and submitting resumes every hour of the day will eventually lead to burnout. Consider the following suggestions:

Leave the house. Spending significant time looking for work can be isolating, so make an effort to get out and about. Schedule time each week to meet with friends to renew your spirits and keep your professional network active. At the very least, seek a change of scenery and scan job sites from a coffee shop or library.

Give back. Pro bono work provides people with more than just warm-fuzzy feelings. You can add experience to your resume and forge connections as you devote time to helping others. There are many groups that rely on volunteers — from nonprofit organizations to schools and sports leagues — so consider what you’ll find most rewarding.

Explore local culture — and your creativity. Ideas and inspiration can come from unexpected places. Consider visiting art galleries, museums, book readings and lectures in your community. Better yet, participate in a creative endeavor such as writing or painting.

Shape up. Exercise is good for both mind and body. And you don’t need a pricey gym membership to get fit. Getting fresh air by going for a daily walk or jog can boost your motivation and energy level.

Finally, if you’ve taken these steps and still feel stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Consider meeting with a career counselor to discuss ways to fine-tune your job-search tactics. Often, a different viewpoint provides new strategies that revitalize your excitement about your hunt. Your university may even provide free or low-cost employment services to alumni. Pursuing temporary accounting or finance work through a specialized staffing firm also can be advantageous. Recruiters can offer invaluable insight into the job market in your area and help you improve your resume and interview skills.

For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series at

Accountemps is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices nationwide and offers online job search services at

2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

Source: Accountemps

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