Searching for a job is stressful and exhausting. It took me three months to find my first “real job” after leaving the Navy. I was stressed and anxious the entire time, but was nonetheless able to stay healthy and happy by following several rules that will help everyone searching for work.
Along the way, I was able to find a number of tools and coping strategies that helped me deal with my job search.
- Use your network. Contact all of your connections. Your family, friends, former employers and coworkers, teachers, coaches, plumber, and mail carrier are all part of your network. Tell everyone that you’re searching for work. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Reconnect with people and discover what they’re doing. I called everybody. I then met with my former baseball coaches, as well as college friends, high school teammates, and relatives. I went to networking events, job fairs, and “meet and greets.” Join a networking group. The power of networking is the genesis of the adage: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Everyone in your network has their own network. Leverage their connections. You’re also more likely to be hired by someone in your network than by an anonymous stranger, even if you’re not the ideal candidate for a position.
- Stay positive. A successful job search will definitely test your tolerance for rejection. You’ll be rejected more often than you ever thought possible for someone with your qualifications and recommendations. You’ll receive no response to countless phone calls and applications. You’ll receive generic emails saying: “We’re sorry, but we’ve decided to go another direction.” You’ll get tired of writing cover letters, and constantly tailoring your resume for each position. You’ll want to quit. But perseverance is not only critical, it’s mandatory.
Top 3 Sources of Recruiter Stress . . . and How to Find Relief
Understatement of the Year Alert: There was a lot of stress in the recruiting profession during the Great Recession. Of course, there was a lot of stress everywhere during the Great Recession. The recruiting profession certainly didn’t have a monopoly on financially induced angst. Just ask any banker you know. Or stock broker.
Every job seeker experiences rejection. The key is to handle each rejection as an opportunity to learn from and rectify any miscues or mistakes. That includes accentuating and highlighting your progress, whether it’s making a new connection, or just meeting an old contact for coffee or lunch. This will allow you to better control your emotions, and limit the negativity that will otherwise encourage you to quit.
- Learn from others. Many mentors, coaches, and recruiters are looking for people they can help. They’re eager and willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you! Find and connect with them, as well as people who have endured a difficult job search.
Learn and adopt the strategies that helped other job seekers succeed, especially if they’re in your industry. You’re not alone. Many people have been and still are in your situation, and would love to share their story with and help you. Find these people!
- Reinvent yourself. Being unemployed opens many new possible career choices and paths. Online learning means it’s now easier than ever to learn new skills and change careers. Career counselors at your local state workforce agency can also help you identify possible new careers and retraining programs.
Leave your comfort zone. Change is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. Attend every job interview with knowledge of and passion for the position. Even if you don’t get the job, you may at least make a new connection.
- Don’t settle. Many unemployed job seekers must understandably take a “survival job” while searching for a permanent position. Everyone has bills to pay. But your permanent job should be one that excites and motivates you on a daily, or at least regular, basis.
Passion for a position is a prerequisite for success in every industry. It makes you eager to get to work, even on cold winter mornings when some part of you would rather stay in bed. Passion for a position also includes enjoying your coworkers, as well as the workplace culture of your new employer. Focus on employers who treat everyone with respect, regardless of their job title.
- Relax. Make sure to relax and collect your thoughts every day, if only for a few minutes. Turn off or leave your computer, and go for a walk. Brief breaks may initially seem inconsequential, but are in fact critical for alleviating stress, and improving productivity.
The stress of your job search is only as awful or debilitating as you believe. Remember that you’re not alone. Many people are available and eager to help you.
Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor
Contributed by Nick Mershon, a Navy submarine veteran. His passion for writing and drive to be the best he can be stems from his father who is a published author and former professional baseball player. Please connect with Nick on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickmershon/ to chat about his work and your career. Edited by Mr. Andrew J. Friedman, author of “What if” and a freelance editor and writer. You can connect with Andrew on LinkedIn as well at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajohnfriedman/