Finding a new job can be grueling, so here are four ways to lighten the load.
BY SIMON BATT
Finding a new job is “meant” to be an exciting, enriching experience… but sometimes it’s anything but. Sometimes, when the job hunt crawls to a halt and the rejections begin piling in, you feel less like a person and more like a walking resumé.
However, it’s important to stay motivated during a job search to keep both your morale and your mental state at their best. As such, here are some tips on how to keep your chin up while looking for your next job.
1. Remember: You’re More Than a Resumé
Job-hunting can be dehumanizing. The recruiters don’t really care about who you are, how you’re feeling, or what you like doing on the weekends. To them, you’re a name, a series of qualifications, and some experience mixed in.
But the truth is, you’re always more than your job or your resumé. Your likes, hobbies, and favorite things are still valid, even if the employers don’t care about them as much. As such, be sure to take some time away from the job hunt and spend some time on yourself, too.
2. Keep Up Your Hobbies and Interests (As Your Budget Allows)
Speaking of which, a good way to help keep your mind away from the job hunt is to continue your hobbies and interests. You may feel guilty doing things that don’t help you find a job, such as playing a video game or taking a walk in the park. However, taking breaks in itself is beneficial for productivity overall.
Whatever you enjoy doing, keep doing it. Don’t allow guilt to tell you that you’re “not allowed” to enjoy yourself. As long as you meet your job-hunting goal for the day (and we’ll cover that next), you deserve some downtime.
Of course, given that you’re looking for a job, you may not have the income or savings you’d like to splurge on interests and hobbies. However, you do still need to pursue what you love, else you’ll end up burning out on your job hunt.
3. Set a Good, Productive Goal
Goals are a double-sided sword. When used correctly, they can be an excellent way to get out of bed in the morning and get stuff done. When abused, they can cause sadness and feelings of uselessness when you fail to meet them.
The key here is to make a goal that is both attainable and measurable by your own actions. That way, the goal aids your output instead of harming it.
How to Set an Attainable Goal
An attainable goal is one that’s set in realism. When setting a goal, you need to take your head out of the clouds and think about what you, as an individual, can achieve. “I want to get a job tomorrow” is a pretty lofty goal, because it takes a little longer for people to secure a position.
It’s also key to realize when you’re setting your goals too high. For example, if you tell yourself you want to get a high-end position in your job search, but the job adverts ask for a lot more than you can currently offer, it may be worth lowering the bar a bit.
How to Set a Measurable Goal
A goal that’s measurable by your own actions lets you have total control over if you meet the goal or not. The goal “I want to get a job” isn’t very good, as there is no progress to it. You either don’t have a job, or you do.
Even something like “I want to get an interview every week” is still a bit too far. That’s because you have very little control over if you get an interview or not. All you can do is make your job application look as good as possible; past that, landing an interview is out of your hands.
As such, it’s best that you set a goal where you have a lot of control over whether you can meet it or not. For instance, “I want to apply for five jobs every day” or “I want to spend six hours a day searching for and applying to job adverts” is good, because you have much more control over if you meet those goals or not.
Of course, it’s not foolproof; there may be days where no job adverts land on your desk and you can’t meet the goal. While an odd day or two is fine, a pattern of missed goals may imply that you need to spread your net wider in terms of job boards and niches.
However, setting a goal like this is fantastic for your mental health. Without a goal, it’s really easy to spend a whole day thinking about applying for jobs, and feeling guilty when you’re doing anything but. Once you’ve completed the day’s goal, that’s it; you now have permission from yourself to put your feet up and enjoy the rest of your day.
4. Celebrate the Smaller Victories
When looking for a job, it’s very easy to get tunnel vision and only focus on the one thing you want to achieve: getting a job. As far as you’re concerned, anything that doesn’t result in you landing a new career is worthless.
But that’s not necessarily true. If you get a near-miss, that’s a sign you’re doing something right. For example, if you’re invited to an interview but you don’t hear back from the recruiter, it means that you came really close to achieving your big goal. That’s not something to feel sad about; in fact, it’s worthy of celebration.
By identifying these small victories, you can do more than just feel good. You can also connect the dots between your successes and find patterns in your job hunting. For instance, you may notice that you’re invited for an interview when applying for one job niche over another, which is an excellent sign of which route you should pursue in the future.
Hunt Smart, Hunt Better
Job hunting can be exciting, but the longer it goes on, the more soul-draining it is. However, it’s important to keep you interests alive, set good goals, and reward yourself when you get close to landing that one elusive job.