Unemployment is daunting. Not having a job can leave you life in a state of unpredictability and instability. And, the long term effects of searching for a job can lead to other side effects such as depression, feelings of hopelessness, and fear.
A job seeker can feel as though they’re doing everything right, sending out resumes, making LinkedIn connections, following up with recruiters and hiring managers, and still nothing is coming their way. There comes a point when a job seeker is asking everyone, “What else can I do? I’ve done everything!”
There are three things you can do right now to aid your job search, if you’re ready to refocus and pull yourself out from behind your wall of despair.
As a job seeker, you have one main focus: to secure a job. Sometimes though, you can get hyper-focused on that one goal and continue to go through the same motions day in and day out, even at full intensity, and still not achieve the results you want.
STOP what you’re doing. If you’re familiar with Einstein’s definition of insanity (The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result) , you already know why you need to hit pause on your job search.
Take a break, clear your head, and step away from everything you’ve been doing. If you’re in the middle of a problem, it can be hard to see a solution when you’re buried in it. When you take a step away, outside of the problem, you can approach everything you’re doing with a new perspective.
Perhaps you’re pursuing the wrong jobs, your resume needs work, your follow-up attempts have become desperate, whatever your personal issues in the job search, you’ll see them better and be able to correct them when you take a breather and then re-approach your search.
Change Your Language, Change Your Mindset
The brain is a powerful organ. More so than we probably give it credit for on a daily basis. And, the power of what we say can have a direct impact on our actions, the way we feel, and the outcomes we achieve.
If you are constantly struggling with your job search and repeating phrases like, ‘I don’t know what to do’, ‘I can’t find a job’, or ‘there are no opportunities for me to pursue,’ it’s time to start re-evaluating what you’re saying.
Anytime you feel a negative phrase about to part from your lips, address it in your head and re-frame it from a positive perspective.
‘I can’t find a job’ might become ‘I’m going to find a great job. ‘I don’t know what to do’ translates to ‘I’m searching for the best path forward.’ And, ‘there are no opportunities for me to pursue’ becomes ‘there are so many possibilities, I will find the right path.’
It might sound a little silly, but when you re-frame the statements that are coming out of your mouth, you’re not only changing negatives to positives, but, if you notice, every positive statement has now become actionable and achievable, whereas the negative statements provided a state of stagnation which can feed the state of your job search.
These positive, actionable statements can subconsciously change your state of mind. Things that weren’t attainable now are and you will find you have the ability to be more productive and engaged in your own success.
Many job seekers get stuck in a rut behind a computer forwarding resumes and cover letters, engaging on social media, and scouring job boards. Time to get out of your desk chair and out the door.
Phone a friend and set a coffee meeting. Find a meetup group and network. Join a volunteer organization. There are many reasons to get up and get out and about real-life people.
First, re-engaging with friends and acquaintances can remind them you’re looking for a job and remind you that you have a support system when you’re feeling alone in your job hunt.
Additionally, when the average person sees a note in passing or online, it can often slip their minds, but when you meet someone face to face, the other person’s needs become tangible. The human side of us kicks in more readily and we actively start finding ways to connect and help.
Second, the saying may get old, but it still rings very true–it’s not what you know, but who you know. Getting out and meeting people forges stronger connections and may lead to finding out about more opportunities that you’d never be privy to scouring job boards and company websites. And, a personal connection can often get you further than an impersonal online introduction (although don’t dismiss their power either.)
Finally, staying active and connected with other people keeps you fresh. When you live and act in a vacuum for too long, it can become a black hole.
Re-connecting with people through social activities, volunteer work, or other endeavors can remind you what you like about working and having a job, which can aid your search perspective and your attitude in interviews. It can also keep you in the know of what’s changing in the world and help you make associate that change with new opportunities and ideas for finding a position.
When you find yourself at your wit’s end of what to do in the job search, you still have options, there are still things you can do to aid your job search. And, the beauty of the three ideas above is that they can be implemented at any point in your search to achieve new outcomes. There is always a path forward when you’re willing to consider another direction and a fresh perspective.