Take the stress out of the job search
3 tips to keep the momentum going
Big life shifts can be anything but easy, and finding a new job ranks high on the big shift list. Even when your search is voluntary, this process can press your stress buttons to a roaring peak.
Think about it, most of us don’t look for jobs often enough to be sure we’re doing it right. The job search can feel like stumbling through the dark without a flashlight. It’s hard to find advice to match your specific situation, and since much of the information out there seems conflicting, it’s that much more confusing.
Like spending hours of time and energy perfecting your resume and cover letter only to hear…crickets in response. This part of the process can feel demoralizing no matter how qualified you are.
And now for the good news; the fact that the job search is challenging doesn’t mean it has to be stressful too.
Much of the job-search stress is related to our expectations. We expect the process to go one way; faster, more responses, better feedback, and when it doesn’t, we take it personally.
To be clear, the practice of submitting your skills and accomplishments for review and assessment by someone you’ve never met can rock the confidence of even the most talented professionals. So it helps to keep in mind that the right job is out there somewhere among the mismatches, the trick is to keep going until you find it.
Check out 3 of the biggest job search stressors, and 3 tips to keep the momentum going, even when the going gets tough:
Lack of connection
An unfortunate reality in today’s job market is, you’re unlikely to receive a personal response on your resume from an online submission, no matter how great a fit you are for the role.
Remember that if you’re applying cold; online with no referral or connection within the company, it’s in large part a numbers game. This job search strategy has the lowest rate of success, so you’ll need to apply quickly and frequently to generate results.
Statistics show that 70-85% of jobs are found through networking, so your best bet is to focus on reaching out to your community both in person and on LinkedIn. Frequently we assume that people in our network know our job situation, so we don’t directly mention it. It can feel uncomfortable sharing our career goals. But this approach won’t help us to reach them.
You can choose to reframe your job search as a means of connection. One that treads through your network to a role where you can use your skillset to benefit an organization. When you’re clear about what you’re looking for and share your goals with those in your network, they’re often happy to help.
1. Connect with your network. Whether that’s your church group, professional Meetup or your LinkedIn network, give yourself that little extra push to reach out. It’s a great opportunity to catch up or to meet new people. Be as clear as you can about how they can help, follow up on any referral offers and remember to reciprocate where you can.
Loss of Confidence
Many of the clients I meet with are already so discouraged by the process that they need an extra boost to regain momentum.
A favorite approach for when you begin to feel your confidence wane is to take a step back and look at what you’ve already achieved.
2. Create an Achievement List. Take some time to think about your life so far and come up with 10 accomplishments you’re proud of.
On a professional level, maybe you were recognized for your contributions, played a key role in your team, produced the best sales figures in a period, did something that made a measurable difference, or managed a project that produced a positive outcome.
Or maybe you did none of those things but gave back to your community, raised awareness for a cause or completed a personal goal. Type out this list of professional and personal achievements. Make it big and bold so you can print it and post it where you can see it.
Now you have both a positive visual and some valuable accomplishments to make your resume more compelling.
Fear of Rejection
One of the biggest reasons we avoid our work is fear of rejection. We don’t know if we’re up to the challenge, and we’re not sure if we want to find out. Yet when we don’t ask, we’re rejecting ourselves by default.
3. De-prioritize the outcome and focus on simply doing your work every day. The results will come when they come. There’s no rush and no pressure. Your job is to work for however many minutes you’ve chosen. You can do that. No question about it. No need to stress out about it. If you reach a new milestone, great. If not, still great. The point is you’re moving closer to your goal with every action you take.
In my workshops I always share some of my favorite examples of people that pushed themselves way beyond what’s considered normal perseverance. J.K. Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert, and pretty much every known celebrity had to live through double digit rejection numbers before finally hitting a home run.
And I know you can get through it too. Yes, you may have some emotional down turns along the way, but when you recognize that this is a part of the process and plan your response in advance, you’re able to pick yourself up and keep moving forward.
The stress of a job search can feel overwhelming. So set realistic expectations. Connect with your network, recognize your accomplishments and keep moving forward without over-focusing on the outcome.
The process is as simple as it is hard; but with the right support and strategies, reaching your career goals makes every last drop of effort worthwhile!
Elizabeth Borelli is a certified career coach, life coach and motivational speaker. Frustrated by a lack of resources for candidates ready to return to work after a career break, she created Career Builder Bootcamps; a set of interactive, online courses to fast-track clients to job search success.
Her formula for success helps clients find their focus, increase their confidence and use a proven process to find the right new role, supporting them throughout the process.
Are you considering a career change but not sure you’re ready? Connect with Elizabeth on LinkedIn or at www.NextCareerCoaching.com today!