Chapter 6: Job Search and Networking
The job search process can certainly feel like you are riding an emotional rollercoaster. While there may be times when you receive a positive response and feel excited, it is more common and normal that you will experience frustration, anxiety, or general disappointment. These feelings can result from a lack of responses, failing to meet the expectations you had for yourself or the expectations that you feel others had for you, or the weight of being continually rejected. When you experience negative feelings associated with your job search, not only do you tend to become less productive, but your negativity can seep into your interactions with employers. Fortunately, there are some useful strategies you can employ to maintain your motivation and better manage your stress throughout your search.
Job Search Tips
- Set goals. It can be difficult to maintain momentum in your job search. To ensure that you stay motivated, consider setting daily and weekly goals. Set goals for different job searching efforts, for example, “I will aim to submit two online job applications per day” or “I will make two to four new connections on LinkedIn each week.” Setting and meeting daily goals will help you to believe that you are capable of finding a job and breaking down tasks will help you feel less overwhelmed.
- Create structure. Additionally, it can also be helpful to create a job search routine by scheduling specific times during your day or week that are dedicated specifically to searching for work. You should focus on hours of the day that you have the most energy and the least distractions. While you do want to commit yourself to a reasonable block of time, avoid staring at the computer for too long or you may notice your productivity declining.
- Stay organized. Document your job search efforts as you go. Write down the jobs you’ve applied to, the dates in which you applied, and save a print or electronic copy of the job postings in case you need to refer to them in the future. Similarly, when attending job fairs or networking events, gather the names and contact information of those you spoke with. It is often helpful to use a spreadsheet to track the details of all of the information so that you can follow up. Not only is it good for a point of reference, but it creates a level of accountability. By tracking your efforts, you will notice that you’ve done a lot of work and this will make you feel proud and fuel your motivation. On the other hand, it might also give you an indication that you haven’t been doing as much as you should and make you more responsible in getting back on track.
Here is an example of a job search tracking tool that you could use to track your online applications:
- Figure out what’s not working and seek help. People often spend months job searching and wonder why they aren’t receiving a response. If you’re not generating responses, there is probably something about your current strategy that isn’t working. Evaluating your strategy and trying something different might be the answer you are looking for. Ask those around you for constructive criticism, identify where you are struggling, and improve it. Take advantage of your resources; book an appointment with the Employment Support Centre to discuss and evaluate your current approach.
- Take care of yourself. Looking for a job can be draining. Make sure you maintain a healthy diet and get enough rest to maintain your drive. You will reduce your stress and increase your positivity by making time for things you like to do, whether this is playing sports, reading a book, watching a movie, or anything else that keeps you motivated.
- Reach out to your support network. When you’re feeling really defeated, don’t bottle up your job search stress. Instead, share your experiences with a close friend or family member. Chances are they have been in a position where they can relate to your experience. Sometimes a trusted friend can help you challenge your negative beliefs by offering encouragement and support, which can boost your confidence in yourself and the job search process.