The job search can easily become all-consuming, wreaking havoc on your self-esteem. It’s natural to be disappointed when you don’t get an offer for a job you had your heart set on. When you find yourself in a trend of rejection that lasts for months, it’s all too easy to start wondering whether something is wrong with you. Here are the four things you need to know to make it out of your painfully long job search in one piece:
1. Taking a Break Is Okay
When your job search isn’t going well, you may feel the urge to keep at it until you achieve results. However, taking a break is a very necessary part of achieving those results. A well-timed break helps you recharge and gain perspective. Your break can last for a weekend, a week, a month, or longer. Just find a time frame that works for you and step away from all job search activities for a little while.
2. Your Worth Is Not Defined by Your Job
We all know this intellectually, but after a few months of rejections, you may not be your most rational self. We have a natural inclination to interlace our self-worth with what we do for work. Being desired by employers boosts your self-confidence. When you experience a wave of rejections — or worse, hear nothing at all from employers — it is easy to take it all personally. Remind yourself of all you’ve accomplished. Your value isn’t in question — you just haven’t found the right fit yet.
3. It’s Okay to Say No to a Job You Don’t Want
When you’re not happy in your current situation, the desire for change — any kind of change — can be very strong. Don’t let that desire cloud your judgment! You may be tempted to accept a job you don’t want simply to get the search over with, but you’ll only end up miserable again in a few short months. Trust that the right role will come along eventually.
4. Stick to a Schedule
You may be in relentless pursuit of a new opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you should stay glued to your computer researching jobs and organizations 24/7. It is best to set a schedule for yourself so you don’t get overwhelmed or consumed by the process. Sometimes less is more, especially if you’re currently working while searching for a job. Get organized and set job search goals such as applying to five quality jobs a week or networking with two new contacts a week. This way, you remain focused but still leave yourself time for other activities.
While your job search may be longer than you’d like, remember it is temporary. Do what you can to stay positive and surround yourself with a good support system. Change is inevitable. It just takes time.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.
Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.