After moving from the East coast back to the Midwest, I’m in the midst of looking for a new job. Anyone in this position knows what a grueling and thankless task it is. You stare at a computer, fill out online forms that don’t allow for your personal touch, and read countless job descriptions that end with a please do not call message. And after a week or two–or seven–you want to hit your head up against the wall.
Staying sane during the job search is tough! Here are some tips for making it through the process:
Treat the job search like a full-time job. Jobhunting isn’t something you can take lightly and you can’t accomplish it with just a couple hours each week. You’ll need to make the time and find the right place to work. Is a quiet library soothing? Does the buzz of a coffee shop energize you? Know yourself and what type of environment you are most effective in. Then show up every day and be prepared to search.
Dress to impress. Sure it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas or yoga pants as you apply online, send emails and navigate the virtual network. But when you take the time to get dressed and be your best self every day, you are more likely to do your best work and stay determined.
Keep a schedule. Each morning, I create a schedule for my day. I set time for reading and sending emails, making phone calls, applying for jobs, eating lunch, working out, jumping on Facebook, etc. Compartmentalizing your time and scheduling in breaks will protect you from the temptation to hang out on social networks all day. Speaking of social networks…
Turn off Facebook and other social media outlets! You know how it goes… you log onto Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter and suddenly, the next time you look at the clock, three hours have passed. You panic at time lost reading updates and creeping on acquaintances. Turn them off while you focus on job applications.
Get out. You can’t spend all day every day staring at a screen. You need to get out and network. Find a local group that interests you and join it. Attend an event. Schmooze. Even if it doesn’t bring a job opportunity, it will physically put you in touch with other people–and their networks!
Maintain a balanced life. It’s easy for the job search to consume you. You may even find yourself worrying about applying at all hours of the day and night. Instead, use the flexibility of your schedule to workout, write a book, practice an instrument, learn to cook, etc. From applications that go unanswered to near leads that come to nothing, spending time on other hobbies will help relieve your frustrations. Remember that a flexible schedule allows you to do things you’ve always wanted to do!
Even when you’ve applied for 4 jobs and it’s only 8:47 a.m., you can still get anxious that no one has called you back. After weeks at the application process, it’s easy to become moody, discouraged and distressed. Only we can choose our moods. Smile, stay positive and keep your hopes up. Choose happiness and the right opportunities will find you.