It’s easy to get down in the dumps if your job search has stretched on and turned sour. These eight tips will refresh and recharge you before taking another stab at the job boards.
A job search often begins with unblemished optimism. The perfect job has to be out there waiting for you.
But as time passes, it’s easy to get upset over what feels like a hundred job applications submitted to countless companies, and endless hours spent updating your resume at least a dozen times. And you haven’t heard back from a single potential employer.
This frustration is common if you’re a job seeker. In fact, a Workopolis survey found it took about 16 weeks for the largest portion of the group (50 percent!) to get their most recent job.
During that time, most respondents sent out at least 10 applications. Thirty percent went on four or five interviews, and 44 percent didn’t even hear back from the employers they interviewed with.
It’s clear you need thick skin to survive today’s job market. Opportunities might not be as easy to obtain as you hope. But if you hang in there, you will find your perfect job.
In the meantime, here are some tips for building resiliency in your job search and hurdling those unemployment walls: (Click here to tweet these tips.)
1. Get to Know Yourself
Spend time getting to know your strengths, skills and motivations. Take a few personality tests online like DISC or Myers-Briggs to help identify what makes you tick. Make a list of what you liked most and least about previous jobs, for better judgment during your job search.
2. Sharpen Your Skills
Use this transitional time to build your knowledge on a subject or sharpen soft skills like communication, leadership and social graces. Pick up a book like Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, or Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Not only will this studying benefit your personal development, but you’ll also have a couple of impressive sources to mention during networking conversations and interviews.
3. Change the Stories You Tell Yourself
Consistently remind yourself of your achievements and strengths. Patrol your thoughts for negative self-talk — statements like, “They’re probably never going to call me,” and “I bombed that interview.” No matter what’s happening in the present, train yourself to think positively about your future. Keep a picture of your ideal career situation in the back of your mind.
4. Build a Support System
If you’re having trouble staying positive and believing in yourself, recruit friends, family, and even a career coach to act as a support system. Ask them to remind you of your best qualities and encourage you. Meet with them regularly to help keep you motivated in your job search.
5. Find Opportunity in Failure
Look at challenges as opportunities. A challenge could lead you to thinking about alternative job search strategies or new ways of networking.
When you experience rejection, channel those negative emotions into an energy that propels you to move forward. Take with you what you learned from the experience, and charge on.
6. Give Yourself Permission to Feel
Sometimes you just have a lousy day. Maybe you received a job rejection email or found out the company you want to work for filled the position before you had a chance to apply. It’s OK to feel disappointed or upset. Give yourself permission to experience those emotions, but don’t let them paralyze you in your search.
7. Step Away and Recharge
Take time out to recharge and regain perspective. Spend a few days visiting a friend in another city, attend a conference, or join an outdoor adventure group on a hike. When you step outside of your normal pattern, it allows you to look at your life from a more objective point of view, giving you the insight you might need to make your next career move.
8. Focus on the Next Step, Not the End Goal
Facing your big career goals may be overwhelming, as if you’re looking at the top of a wall, just wondering how you’re going to get there — or if you can. Instead of focusing strictly on your big goals, define and focus on the smaller, more manageable steps you can take to bring you closer to the top.
Career transitions are often filled with doubt, despair and existential crises. That’s why it’s so important to build resiliency through keeping the right mindset, supporting yourself, and allowing others to support you.
Don’t let your current state keep you from achieving your career goals. Remember, transitions are only temporary. Keep your head up, tear the walls down and you’ll be a much stronger person coming out of it.
What is the hardest part about being in between jobs? What strategies do you use to stay positive and persistent?
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers.