Job seeking, while certainly dependent on skills and experience, can often tend to be a game of luck as well – sometimes it can come down to a chance encounter with the right person at the right time. However, there are also times when it feels like you’ve been searching for great new job opportunities for the longest period and not even making any headway. When this happens, even the most positive people can find themselves beginning to doubt their abilities and wondering what’s wrong with them.
If you’ve been searching for a new job for a while, you’ll be all too familiar with the need to compete against potentially hundreds of other applicants, the sitting around waiting for results of interviews, and the hopes dashed at the last minute. All in all, it can be a pretty soul-sucking time to go through. Here are some tips to help keep yourself motivated and confident as you hunt for your new job.
Take one step at a time
To ensure you don’t find yourself overwhelmed by the often large task of finding a great new job, break things into smaller, manageable steps. Rather than feeling like you need to do everything at once, set priorities for each day and week. This helps to maintain focus and reduce stress levels.
Keep a regular routine
If you don’t have a job to report to every day, it’s important that you stop your motivation from ebbing by keeping up a regular, daily routine. Do this by treating your hunt for a job like you would a normal work day – have a start and finish time, set yourself a lunch break, and have daily lists of things you want to accomplish (for example, updating your resume and cover letter; setting up a comprehensive LinkedIn profile; practicing interview questions; researching potential employers; and networking online). By following a set schedule each day you’re sure to find yourself staying efficient and productive, and not being so prone to succumbing to the “job hunt blues”.
Find some other ways to bring in income
If money’s tight while you search for the right job, you will probably find that the stress and discord in your life can increase substantially and start to affect your mindset and confidence level. To help keep you going while you hunt for a long-term role, it can be a good idea to look for other opportunities where you can bring in some extra cash. Even a small influx of funds can help you to feel a little more settled during a long job search, so consider things like doing some casual freelance work, having a garage sale, downsizing your car, or performing some short-term casual work that isn’t necessarily in your industry.
Concentrate on areas you can control
Since you have no real control over whether or not companies call you back for an interview or hire you, at the end of the day it’s better to focus on all the things you CAN control. Rather than spending lots of time and energy stressing about things that you can’t affect, turn your attention to what is inside your locus of control. Put your focus towards updating your resume and cover letter and ensuring they’re tailored properly to the company you want to work for; or take a contact from your network out to lunch to see who they might be able to put you in touch with. These types of activities will help you to feel more in control of both your situation and your mood, which will in turn make you more likely to secure a position.
Have some rest and relaxation
While you do need to show persistence and dedication to land a new job, you also need to make sure you take care of yourself during the search process. Avoid burn-out by taking some time off from the hunt – chill out and relax occasionally instead. Things like catching up with friends, watching a movie or enjoying some exercise is a great way to switch your focus and help you keep your resolve and self-esteem intact. These kinds of coping strategies also mean that you can return to the job hunt with a clear mind and fresh ideas to help you succeed. Volunteering is also another great way to boost your mood. You might not feel very valued or useful while searching for a new job, but spending some time helping others is sure to give you an instant lift. Volunteering or interning at companies in your industry can also provide you with some great experience, social contact and potential networking opportunities.
Remember you’re not alone
While searching for a job can feel like a particularly lonely experience, it does help to remind yourself that you’re not alone – even the most successful people in the world have had knock-backs or periods of unemployment in the past. Try to shift the focus away from the negative elements of the job search and instead think about what you can get out of it. Taking the time to find a great job gives you the opportunity to really focus on what you want to achieve in life, where your skills are best utilised, and how you can plan for the future.
While searching for a job can take a toll on your self-esteem, looking at things with a negative attitude will always make things worse than staying positive. Although it can be a challenge to keep your motivation up and your confidence high over this period, try following some of the tips so that you can make it through and put your best foot forward in applications and interviews.
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