A job search during the best of times is daunting. (That’s why people will tell you not to quit a job until you have another one lined up.) You fill out application after application, puzzle over the best words for your cover letters, and work every last connection in your network. You put forth this incredible only to hear crickets in return.
So if it’s tough during regular times, what’s a job seeker supposed to do right now? As the economy dries up and jobs become ever more scarce, panic is becoming very real for nearly everyone in the workforce. Those with jobs worry that they’re about to be laid off. Those without jobs have to hustle like they never have before.
Talkspace is a telehealth community where everyone can find and connect with qualified professionals to help them get through life’s hardest moments. Whether you’re feeling anger, frustration, or just sheer hopelessness, there are ways to handle the crush of feelings. We’ll look at what you can do during this time to get you back on track.
Don’t Forget About You
This is going to be a difficult one for many job seekers. If you’re feeling constantly rejected every day — even if it’s just by the virtue of silence — it’s easy to let this affect your own perception of who you are. But fighting against this urge isn’t just a practical tip, it’s necessary to your very survival. You have to start treating yourself like you matter, no matter how hard it is.
In other words, if you put your mental health on the back burner, it’s not going to help your job search.
Form a Routine
Just because you don’t technically have to be at work, doesn’t mean that you have to fall back on the couch day after day. Giving yourself permission to do nothing might seem like a self-care victory, but it’s far more likely to serve as a stepping stone toward depression.
The good news is that routines don’t have to be complicated to be effective. Maybe it’s as easy as going for a walk around the block as soon as your alarm goes off. This simple resolution begins your day with positive action, making it easier to add healthier habits bit by bit as you get into the swing of things.
You can also consider doing some sort of volunteer work with a regular schedule — if only because it gives you a time and place to be. Even if it’s a virtual volunteer activity, consistency is key.
Lean on Your Loved Ones
When everyone is going through a crisis, it’s easy to stop ourselves from talking about our deepest fears. But this is the time to open up and to let others open up to you. Even if your friends and family are going through a difficult time too, there’s strength in accepting help (or reaching out and lending a hand).
Let people support you during your job search, even if it’s just by adding a little humor to the situation. You can also consider talking to an online therapist who might be able to help you put the hunt into perspective. After all, it only takes one employer to turn everything around.
Find Your Fun
Your routine doesn’t have to be all job filters and cold calls. In fact, it should be about so much more than that. There are plenty of free activities that are available to you right now, even if it’s just taking your lunch to a park and enjoying it under a shady tree.
You might also be able to find your fun in setting a new goal for yourself. Whether it’s finding a second-hand instrument and learning how to play it on YouTube videos or mastering the basics of woodwork, the possibilities are endless.
Redirect Your Energy
All of the above tips have something to do with redirecting your energy. It’s so easy to long for what you don’t have, but this will do nothing to better the situation that you’re in. While picturing where you want to be can help you get there, pining for the impossible will only set you back.
Instead of wishing for a vaccine or a total turnaround to the economy, you should be focusing on what you do have control over. Doing this will help you come back to a state of acceptance, which is where you need to be to make any headway whatsoever.
After you’ve mastered the art of self-care, it’s time to list out what you’ve done so far for your job search. Monitor what’s working and what isn’t. If you’ve already tried every angle you can think of, including social media, headhunting services, and job listings, maybe it’s time to start at the beginning again.
The more vocal you are, the more you can broadcast your dedication to finding a position. Keep in mind that there’s nothing to be ashamed of here. While you might be distressed over the volume of competition for jobs today, the upside is that you’re in good company. Reach out to colleagues from old jobs, get back in touch with your former managers, and don’t be afraid to be direct about what you want.
There’s a good chance that you won’t get a job directly from any single interaction, but reestablishing these connections can be crucial to your overall career trajectory. Just reminding people of your character and skills can be enough to shoot you to the top of the list the next time an employer asks for a recommendation.
When you’re in the middle of a job search, you are the single most important asset in the endeavor. The more you treat yourself like the professional you are at heart, the more others will see it in you too. One silver lining to come out of COVID is that there are more remote jobs than ever before, so make sure to branch out whenever you can.