Writer's block can strike at any time, rendering you unable to write a clear and cohesive sentence. Add to that the high stress levels of a job search, and you have a recipe for disaster. Before you panic — or worse, send out subpar application materials — take a deep breath and follow time-honored strategies to clear your mind and get the words flowing.
Unless you have a cover letter that is due in the next hour, stop writing. Continuing to struggle usually does nothing to help writer's block, and it leaves you feeling frustrated. Instead, take an hour or two to do something that is completely unrelated to your job search. Step away from all of your electronic devices to go for a walk, play with your kids or work on a creative passion project. The time away helps your brain rest and process, allowing you to return to your applications with a clear head.
Keep it Simple
Writer's block can happen when you're trying too hard to write the best cover letter the employer has ever seen. Ironically, the pressure to be perfect often has the opposite effect. If you can't seem to string together a clever sentence, trying writing a simple letter that sticks to the facts. Give an overview of your qualifications, explain why you are uniquely suited to the position, and thank the reader for her time. When you're feeling more creative, you can tweak your letter to add in touches of wit and personality.
Stop the Struggle
Many writers have difficulty with specific parts of a letter or resume — the introduction is a common culprit. If you can't seem to capture your thoughts in words, stop struggling and move on to an easier section. When the words start to flow freely, you may find the confidence and clarity to overcome your writer's block.
Cut Out Distractions
If you're writing with your Facebook account open and email alerts on, it can be almost impossible to get past a case of writer's block. Vibrating phones and bright red indicators on your computer distract you from the task at hand, making it difficult to concentrate on your application materials. Turn your phone off completely, and shut down all open windows and applications on your computer. Move to a dedicated work area where the kids and the TV can't distract you. If necessary, switch the computer off and try writing with a pencil and paper. A calm, quiet environment can help you focus your thoughts.
Although it can feel like the end of the world, writer's block does not signal the death of your job search. By taking some time to relax and refocus, you can come back with a clear head and a strong message.
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