Whether you are fresh out of school, looking to change careers or you got laid off due to an unfortunate incident, looking for a job is something we all have to do at some point in our adult lives.
While the possibilities of finding an exciting new role could be promising, the process of looking for a new job can be quite tedious and time-consuming. Much like a traditional paid job, sending emails, networking, cold calling, and sifting through hundreds of job ads take time, consistency, and focus. This is why job hunting is popularly referred to as a full-time job.
If your job hunt drags on for longer than your optimism can handle, it could begin to affect your attitude towards the job search itself. So let’s talk about how to keep up with actively looking for a job while caring for your mental health, and how to make the most of the precious time you now have on your hands.
1. Maintain a Healthy Routine
Okay, we have established that looking for new job opportunities is a job in itself, so you have to approach it as such. Being out of a job, you may find yourself slacking into laziness because you suddenly don’t have to answer to a boss or Phil from HR.
I’ll tell you now: resist that temptation. It’s a slippery slope that would only dump you in a pit of lethargy and unproductiveness
To maintain a productive mentality, keep up with your regular morning routine (if you have one). I found that it was incredibly helpful for me to wake early as I normally would, down my trusted cup of coffee and dress in clean work clothes. Maintaining my routine put me in the work zone and helped to tackle the job hunt with a refreshed mind that was set on achieving goals, which brings us to the next point.
2. Set Goals
As you settle into your new ‘job’, you need to set daily or weekly goals for yourself. Of course, the main objective is to find a job, but it is helpful to break the process down into small, achievable tasks.
You could set a target for the number of ads you apply to daily or weekly, or the number of prospective companies you research, or the number of people that you contact in your network. Job hunting is a numbers game at its core, and meeting the goals you set for yourself will give you a sense of accomplishment that will fuel your drive for the hunt.
3. Track Your Progress
It’s a job, remember? At jobs, you get objectives, and with those comes KPIs. Your key performance indicators could be how many job positions you’ve applied to, and details of all of them. A spreadsheet would help with this; the last thing you want is a callback from a company that you don’t even remember applying to.
Also, you could record the number of callbacks that you get, and the progress that you’re making with each one. This would help to lift your spirits and keep you optimistic; and trust me, that helps.
4. Revamp Your Online Presence
Now’s a good time to brush up your LinkedIn profile with updates that more accurately describe your skills and experience. That could also be a great site for cold pitches and networking with contact persons at prospective companies.
Social media could also be very useful in getting the word out about your job search. It’s a numbers game, don’t forget.
Unemployment Is NOT Failure
Like I mentioned earlier, losing a job can rob you of a sense of pride and purpose.
No matter how long it takes to land a job that’s befitting of your skills and experience, you need to understand that being unemployed does not mean you’re a failure. In fact, this time can have many benefits for your personal and career growth.
Students or Young Professionals
For students and young professionals with minimal years of experience, being in between jobs could have a lot of upsides.
- You have a wide pool of options available to gain experience, in the form of internships and volunteer work.
- You can use this time to actively network and expand your circle. You can join a cause that you believe in and prove yourself a valuable individual. Meet with and talk to as many people as you can.
- Lack of experience sets you back and affects the quality of jobs that you have access to.
- Entry-level jobs tend to have low pay.
For seasoned professionals, job-hunting periods can be more specific because of many reasons.
- You have a background of specific experience, achievements, and a professional work ethic. That makes you an asset to prospective companies in your niche.
- Professionals earn more.
- You have a database of contacts to enhance your networking.
- Finding a well-paying job could take some time.
- It could be difficult to make a decision that is best for your career growth at the expense of a paycheck that could keep you afloat.
- You have to be strategic and thorough with your choices; a wrong decision could hinder your career trajectory.
During this downtime, you can sharpen your mind and your creativity by learning a new skill. Try something that you normally wouldn’t. You’re the boss here, so use this time to wisely.