Eight easy ways to keep positive on the job hunt
Staying positive whilst looking for a new job isn’t easy. In fact, anyone who says it is, obviously hasn’t been out of work for more than a few weeks, nor received 10 rejection letters in a day. I know from personal experience how gutting it can be spending hour after hour fine tuning your CV for each application, only to receive a week or so later, some variant of the following reply:
“We have reviewed your application and are sorry to advise you that we will not be taking your application further on this occasion. Your range of skills and experience, although impressive, did not match our requirements for this position as closely as others.”
I was sorely tempted to reply asking on which occasion they would take my application further.
Sometimes, they are not even as appreciative of your incredible talent as that. Sometimes it is just a polite thanks, but no thanks.
Whatever the template, not taking it personally can be difficult, but as tempting as it is to dive under the duvet and never come out again, DON’T. I can personally guarantee that one day you won’t even remember the company’s name and that you might even consider it a lucky escape. Till then, here are a few of my tried and trusted tips for picking yourself, up, dusting yourself off and starting all over again.
1. Exercise your sense of humour
Laughing releases endorphins, which make you feel good and are without a doubt, the safest form of self-medication available in the market today. The only side effect being sore muscles from laughing so hard and a deepening of the laughter lines next to your smile.
Within an hour of receiving the news that your application has been declined, take a dose of laughter. Whether it be a short clip of an animal chasing its tail; an hour long episode of your favourite comedy; or doing your rendition of Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walk’s skit in the company of a friend. Take time to exercise your funny bone, that’s an order!
2. Flip the script
Are you unemployed or are you just taking some time to find a job that works for you? Have you in fact, become self-employed and exploring your options. Just because you are not getting paid doesn’t mean you are not working; you are working to get a job. You are the CEO of your own life. Changing how you view your current situation will make a difference to your attitude, and your mental health. Next time someone asks you if you are unemployed, say no, my skills are being used by me at the moment.
Even if you can only spare an hour a week, there will be a not for profit organisation near you that will be grateful for your help and it really is true, volunteering is good for your soul and your mood. I once spent a morning sorting sheets for a blanket bank. By the time I had finished, not only had I given my arms a good workout, I had forgotten all about the latest rejection email and made a connection that lead to some paid work.
4. Get up in the morning, get dressed and act like you are working
It is really tempting to stay in bed and watch movies all day when you are in between jobs but don’t, just don’t. Keep to a work day routine, so that when you do start work again it won’t be such a shock to the system. It is also really hard to get a job if you do not put the effort in to finding one.
5. Keep your skills honed and your mind open to new opportunities
It may sound like an advertising slogan for a gym, but use it or lose it, is a truism. Keep up to date with what is happening in your specialty – or if you don’t have one, learn a new skill that enhances your CV and gives you that edge over another applicant.
6. Know the market
If you are applying for the same type of job over and over, but getting nowhere, check in with the job market to see how many others are applying for the same position. It may be that you need to do something else for a while until demand outstrips supply again. For example, a good friend of mine received so many rejections letters when she first left law school that she joked about using them as wallpaper. It wasn’t because she wasn’t qualified to do the job, it was just that there was an over-supply of graduates that year and very few roles to go around. So she took a break and side stepped into IT for a while instead. Ten years later she opened her own business as a web designer and is now considered an expert in the field. Many skills are transferable, so be open to taking yours in another direction.
7. Let it go
When I think about some of the roles I have applied for, I am actually glad I didn’t get them because with the benefit of hindsight, I would have been miserable. Take another look at the job description for the role you didn’t get and try and look at it from the recruiter’s point of view. Was there a core KPI missing from your CV? If there wasn’t, then get some help with your CV so that your skills stand out and resubmit to the employer as a ‘cold call’. You never know their first choice of applicant might have fallen through. If you were missing those KPI’s, then there is your reason why. Let it go and apply for something else that is a better fit.
8. You are not alone
Unless their parents own the business, everyone of working age will at some point have been in the same position as you and looking for work. They found work and you will too. Some like me, even took matters into their own hands and created their own job.
The number one key, I think, to staying positive while finding your dream job is knowing that you are not alone. Others know exactly how you feel, and it is ok to ask for help when you need it. You just have to ask.
About Carolyn Brown
Carolyn enjoys writing stuff that engages readers, makes them feel like they are in a conversation with the screen, and doesn’t require a dictionary on standby to make sense of what she has written.
When she is not creating content, she likes to keep busy volunteering for various not for profits; throwing sticks to her step-dog as they walk along North Beach in Christchurch, and enjoying the company of friends. If you would like to know more, head on over to her website www.writecopynz.co.nz or email her at [email protected]