If you’ve been laid off your new fulltime job is looking for employment. At first this seems like a no-brainer. You’re optimistic that you’ll find something fairly soon if you just chain yourself to your to your computer and surf the web all day looking for fresh and exciting places to send your killer resume. I mean, it shouldn’t take too long for some smart employer to snap up a career catch like you, right?

Well, that might have been the case before there were 14.5 million Americans looking for work right along beside you. With today’s unemployment rate still hovering solidly above 9% finding a job will probably not happen as quickly as you’d hoped. Eventually, your daily regime of web surfing and resume sending will get old. But you can’t let the disappointment of virtual doors being slammed in your face get you down. So how do you maintain a positive attitude in an economic firestorm?

A great way is to start your own job search support group, as opposed to a networking group. How is this going to get you a job? By keeping you and your job-seeking cohorts accountable. Because as your days of unemployment increase, your enthusiasm for looking for a job will decrease, thus lessening your chances of finding work.

Using the same concepts as Weight Watchers or Alcoholics Anonymous many of the unemployed are independently joining forces both online and in their own communities in order to stay focused on finding a job. They meet regularly (usually once a week) to set job-seeking goals for themselves and then to report back in the following weeks on the results. This gives jobseekers the motivation to be accountable when looking for a job.

And if the results come back dismal (meaning jobs were not forthcoming this week) then it’s up to the rest of the group to share experiences (showing that everyone is in the same boat) and provide the necessary pep talks to keep everyone encouraged so no one falls into the trap of giving up.

True, there are existing job support groups, most of which you can find on a state-by-state basis on the website job-hunt.org. However, these groups typically place an emphasis on networking (which is also important) and many times don’t offer the one-on-one support jobseekers need to keep their spirits up while looking for work.

For example, the website No Shortage of Work is not so much a job website as it is a place to get support in the areas you need while you look for work. NSOW truly believes there is NEVER a shortage of work—just sometimes not enough money to go around. Their motto? “Even when you’re not doing something for pay, do something anyway.” Only then do you stay active, focused, and motivated while looking for work. In other words, you have to be doing something productive in order to find a job.

NSOW offers an abundance of advice and inspiration, including putting you in contact with mentors, interns, and experts who can help you build a business or research your market. They even encourage you to submit articles and blogs. No, contributors don’t get paid (even the people who run the website don’t get paid) but if you’re in a career holding pattern anyway, why not share your thoughts on your personal job-seeking journey with others who want to hear what you have to say? Or if you’re not a writer, you can read what others have to say about how they’re coping.

Regardless how you do it, the ONLY way you’ll find a job in this market is to keep looking, even if your prospects look doubtful. I know it’s hard to stay enthusiastic when your bank account is dwindling, but it beats the alternative, which is to give up. That’s not an option. Because no one ever found a job by sticking their head in the sand.

Do you know of other websites that offer job-seeking support similar to that of No Shortage of Work? If so, post a comment. We’d love to hear about it!

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