If you’re having a difficult time finding a job, and it seems like it’s taking forever, you’re not alone. Many job seekers find job hunting frustrating and draining. Submitting dozens of applications, trying to connect with potential employers and going through the interview process with no offers in sight can sometimes leave you feeling ready to give up. But according to writer Lily Herman (7 Secrets to Keeping Your Spirits Up During Your Job Search), there are a variety of ways to keep yourself pumped up no matter what your job search is throwing your way.
Appreciate what you have. Take time to think about what you’re grateful for, and you’ll find that it can often lift your spirits. If you can learn to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you’re more likely to improve your mood, boost your energy and promote physical well-being.
Take time away. If you’re feeling discouraged, take time to step back from your job search. Choose activities that allow you to stop thinking or talking about the job hunt. Get some exercise, read a book, spend time with friends or engage in any activity that helps you relax and rejuvenate so you can return to your job search with renewed energy.
Network with others. Researching companies and applying online are important elements in your job search, but it’s equally important to step away from your computer and spend time networking with others. Connect with friends, colleagues and former co-workers to let them know you are looking for work, and ask for their support, ideas and referrals to connections who might help move your job search forward. Attend career fairs, mixers and other events in your industry to gather helpful information and ideas. Taking time away from your computer to connect with others will bring balance and perspective to your life.
Talk about your challenges. Share your frustrations or issues with someone going through a similar experience or a friend who can be a sympathetic ear. Also, be willing to ask others for feedback or constructive criticism. If you don’t know someone you feel comfortable asking for advice or support, look for a job club (see the Tri-Valley Job Club), join a meetup to get to know others in your industry or engage in an online community.
Acknowledge the small wins. Rather than dwelling on the downside of not nailing the job after the final round of interviews, think of the incremental successes that got you there – a cover letter and resume that were on the right track and getting through the initial interviews. The successes at each stage of the job search are moving you closer to your ultimate goal of landing a new job.
Try to keep your perspective. There are a variety of reasons why a potential job may not have worked out. The position may have been filled by an internal candidate, or your interviewer may have had an off-day, which influenced his or her perception of you during the interview. As writer Joshua Trudell says (10 ways to keep your spirits up during a job search), “No” isn’t necessarily a judgment against you – it’s just something that happens to every job seeker.
Focus on managing stress. An extended job search can by stressful, and stress becomes a problem when it begins to affect your lifestyle and health. Insomnia, loss of appetite, frequent headaches or stomach problems are all signs of stress that may be out of control. Interview coach Carole Martin (How to keep your spirits up during those tough times) suggests learning and practicing relaxation techniques to help manage stress. Classes that promote relaxation, such as yoga, biofeedback or stress control techniques, are widely available and can help relieve stress.
Avoid negative self-talk. A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you dwell on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity.
Do your best work to find work. Knowing you’re taking steps each day to find a job will help boost your spirits, according to consultant Pat Mayfield (How to Keep Your Spirits Up During a Job Search). Concentrate on those activities proven to work better than others. Applying online blindly is the least effective means of securing an interview. Focus instead on networking and employee referrals. Set up a regular routine of researching companies, finding job openings, and networking with friends, former co-workers and others in your industry.
Don’t let your skill set and knowledge slide. Read trade journals, business magazines and newspapers. Stay current on industry news. If you have the time, look for job training to improve your career skill set. There are many free training options at your local library or the Tri-Valley Career Center. Feeling confident and positive about yourself and what you have to offer will help you keep your spirits up until you’re back at work.
Don’t give up. There are many examples of famous people who achieved success only after many failures. Thomas Edison patented 1,093 inventions in his lifetime, but it took him 10,000 attempts to make an electric light bulb work. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse series failed to become an instant hit, and only later when he added sound did it become an iconic success. Milton Hershey had several failed business ventures and filed for bankruptcy before he became the “Chocolate King” and built his candy empire. The only chance you have for success in your job search is picking yourself up after setbacks and moving forward until you achieve your goals.