Tips for Staying Positive During the Job Search
There’s no getting around it, the job search is exhausting. When you’re a job seeker, you’re completely at the mercy of the company that’s hiring. You have no idea whether they’re anxious to fill a position, or if it’s just something the hiring manager will get around to after clearing out his/her inbox. From an organizational perspective, if all the work is getting done and deadlines are being met, where’s the urgency to start reading resumes and scheduling interviews?
Meanwhile, as a job seeker, you can’t help but worry that there’s something wrong with you. Should you have proofread your resume one more time before hitting send? Did you clear your social media profiles of any incriminating pictures? Are you overqualified? Underqualified? These questions will haunt you unless you take actions to make yourself a better person and stay positive throughout your job search.
“Generally, you can expect the job search process to take between 4-6 months,” according to Ashford University Career Services Specialist Greg Lewis.
On top of that time, in which you’re busy scanning job websites and emailing resumes, the average company is taking nearly 23 days to interview and hire candidates (Chamberlain, 2015). That timeline includes posting a job, developing a pool of qualified applicants, and having one or more rounds of interviews before making a decision. Even by that point, you could still be waiting.
“There are references to contact and background checks to be conducted,” Lewis said. Finally, an offer has to be made and a compensation package must be finalized. It is a lengthy process, so patience and a proper mindset is necessary.”
That mindset should not only include daily evaluation of your search process, but also some positive reinforcement exercises to keep you from dropping into a funk.
Identify problem areas
If you’re not getting any responses or interviews, reexamine how you’re marketing yourself in the job search. What are you doing to make the highlights of your resume stand out? Make sure your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile are targeted toward the job you want.
Practice makes perfect
“If you are getting interviews but no offers, then it is time to practice your interviewing skills,” said Lewis. Ashford students and alumni can reach out to the Career Services team for assistance with interview preparation and practice. You might also want to ask a friend or family member to practice interviewing with you, or do it yourself in front of a mirror so you can identify and fix flaws in your body language.
Keep meeting people
This can be difficult for introverts, but networking is an essential skill that can help you land the job you want in the field you want. Try connecting with people in your industry on LinkedIn, attend networking events, or just ask someone if they can meet for five minutes so you can conduct an informational interview. The worst they can say is no. The best thing that can happen is you’ll meet a great contact that can help you when the position you want becomes available.
Look for learning opportunities
Just because you’ve earned your degree doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. Do an online search for free courses in your industry, and follow the blogs of the companies you’re interested in so you can learn more about their products and workflow.
Keep track of your successes
This can be incredibly helpful and keep your spirits up, especially if the search is taking longer than you thought it would. Every day you can write down your accomplishments, from the new cover letter you wrote to the contact you made. Even completing a household project can make you feel like you’ve achieved something while you wait to hear back from a potential employer. When you land your next job, you’ll be able to look back and smile when you see how much you accomplished during your search.
As with everything, planning, persistence, and positivity are essential when looking for a job. You may feel as if you have to dedicate every minute to your search, but remember that you can still get a lot done while you’re looking.
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.
Chamberlain, A. (2015). Why is Hiring Taking Longer? New Insights from Glassdoor Data. Glassdoor. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/research/studies/time-to-hire-study/