When your job search has been spinning its figurative wheels and all your efforts are ineffective, you have hit the plateau. The “plateau effect” is named after the geologic formation called a plateau: a level stretch of land that extends for many miles. You see the plateau effect in exercising, in medicine, and in a lot of other areas — the thing that worked previously is no longer working and something new has to happen in order to see change.
Make a list of what you have been doing in your job search. This is your assessment tool, so be thorough and honest with yourself. If you have only been looking at the newspaper or online job boards, say so. You want to have a visible list of what your plateau looks like. In physical therapy, the therapist will get very specific about how many steps the patient took, for instance, or exact range of motion in the shoulder they are rehabilitating. That specific list allows them to see where there has or has not been change so they know what to work on. For your job search list, keep track of how many jobs you actually applied for and when you worked on your resume, etc.
Set goals a little outside your comfort zone. That physical therapist will push the patient past what feels good but not as far as injury. This is how the body gets off the plateau safely and the shoulder gains the next degree of motion. Are you on LinkedIn? Maybe now is the time to consider that. The plateau happens because we get comfortable and stabilize. That isn’t always a bad thing, but in your job search it is! If you are ready to get off that plateau, it is going to involve some discomfort as you do unfamiliar things and explore new territory in job search resources.
The results of getting off that job search plateau are new skills, deeper understanding, and more job opportunities.