Searching for a job can be exhausting. You spend your time working hard on time-consuming applications, networking and interviewing, then the rejections and lack of feedback can chip away at your self-confidence and destroy your motivation.
It’s hard to stay upbeat and positive but it’s important to not allow bumps in the road affect your morale. Here we discuss tips on how to maintain focus and purpose.
1. Research before applying for jobs
We cannot stress this enough, ‘Easy Apply’ has hugely simplified the application process by allowing candidates to apply for jobs the minute they are posted. However, this ‘spray and pray’ approach is rarely successful – by applying to every single position whether you meet the criteria or not will only result in, at best, more unacknowledged applications and at worst rejections and the chance of being blacklisted by recruiters.
Instead, make a plan – Explore companies you’d like to work for in industries which are relevant to your experience. Research their existing employees, their current opportunities and see if your skill-set matches up. Look into their competitors, clients and suppliers and come up with a targeted approach, setting achievable goals along the way to help you stay on track.
2. Focus on what IS in your control
It can be overwhelming worrying about what a hiring manager will think, or tormenting yourself over a stage in the interview process – these are all out of your control. Be kind to yourself, pause and ask yourself ‘is this really that bad?’ or ‘am I overacting?’.
Focus on things that you can control; you can do your groundwork on potential employers, you can tailor your CV, you can add LinkedIn connections, you can reach out to industry professionals, and you can think positive thoughts. Concentrate your efforts on activities that will help to get your application noticed and allow you to perform your best during the interview process, rather than dwelling on worst-case scenarios.
3. Keep busy – set yourself realistic daily targets
Keep your daily targets realistic and worthwhile. Do not arbitrarily decide to apply for five jobs in one day as this is unproductive and demotivating – rather set yourself useful daily targets; Perfect your LinkedIn profile, ask for recommendations, follow your target companies and connect with relevant people.
Schedule time to switch-off and concentrate on your mental and physical health too. Use this time to work on your fitness, spend time outdoors, meeting up with old friends – whatever helps to improve your mood and take your mind off the job search.
4. Engage with people and listen to advice
Make time to learn and upskill yourself through reading or listening to relevant industry news. Keeping up to date with key trends and opinions will allow you to perform at a higher standard in interviews, it may also lead you to better and relevant connections.
Surround yourself with people you can learn from – connect with recruiters and listen to their advice. They may not be able to connect you to your ideal job immediately but if they give you advice on your CV and the roles that you should be applying for, listen and take action.
Try and spend time with people who motivate you and bring out the best in you. The positive energy of a strong support network will encourage you to do your best and find the right role for you.
5. Stay positive
Try to keep a positive outlook – A rejection letter is not a failure, it’s a bump in the road so try not to dwell on it. Do your best to not to take things personally. Remember, everyone, at some point gets rejected for a role, or loses out for a promotion or gets ghosted after what they thought was a great interview. Obstacles setbacks and hurdles are just that – Something that can be challenged and there is and will be a way through.
It’s incredibly uncommon for someone to continuously climb forward in their career without any significant setbacks. The key is to pick yourself up again, brush yourself off and keep going. Consider every ‘failure’ as a lesson to be learnt, and therefore each fall will help you climb higher in the future. For motivation, we suggest you read Richard Branson’s autobiography. The number of times he was knocked back, and got up again.. it’s incredible!