Three Ways to Keep Yourself Motivated on a Job Hunt
Have you ever experienced an extended period of job searching and had a pretty bad time of it? You were tired all the time, you felt down and unengaged around others, and you didn’t hang out with friends as often. Well, I have. And looking back on it, I may have been a little depressed. Now that I’ve been in the working world for a couple of years, I know that my experience was normal. A lot of early-career job seekers experience a similar malaise. Recruiters aren’t getting back to them regarding their job application and they aren’t completely sure what they want to do anyways, which just compounds the problem. The upshot is that the young college grad slowly begins to feel worse about themselves and their sense of self-esteem can go down the drain. When the job search stretches on and on, it can start to take a massive toll on a person that can compound exponentially. It’s really important during times like these to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Here are 3 things that I did that helped me navigate through a long and painful job search process.
1. Acknowledge that while the experience is awful, it’s really only temporary.
Admitting that the experience does suck, and isn’t supposed to be a great time in your life can actually help you normalize things a little bit for yourself and give you a different perspective. Realizing that it’s normal and okay to feel upset or unhappy during the job search can help you give yourself some breathing space and help you with more realistic, and therefore achievable, goal setting. At the end of the day, it’s just a temporary state for yourself in the grander scheme of things. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Realize that thousands of recent grads out there are going through something very similar.
If you’ve got any friends who are going through the same thing or have in the past, make sure to reach out to them. It’s perfectly OK to criticize the society that’s made entry level jobs nearly impossible to get and has also saddled you with student debt. In fact, I encourage it. That sense of camaraderie and a shared experience can go a long way in making you feel normal and can even add the extra boost you need to continue your job search efforts.
3. Keep structure and routine to your life. At the end of the day, it does get harder and harder to just keep chugging on and make incremental daily gains for what appears at the time to be a pretty low return. What helps is to set a few small and achievable daily goals and to keep to a basic schedule. Having a basic strategy for what you’re doing and connecting that to clear results and goals that you want to achieve for yourself can bring some structure to an amorphous and chaotic process. An example of minimum daily goals could be something like hitting the gym in the morning and sending out 3 job applications per day.
Lastly, remember to keep sending out those applications, and keep working on tailoring your cover letter to each company you apply to. Make sure that your resume is optimized for ATS systems that will scan it for relevancy and the keywords that the company is looking for with their hires. You’re having a hard time now, but just remember that the more you look, the more chances you’ll have to land a job that’s great for you. Good luck, and just remember that you’ll get through this!
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.