As anyone will tell you, looking for a job feels like a full-time job. It’s easy to get depressed after an unsuccessful day of job searching because it feels like all your effort has gone unnoticed. There may not be any tangible results for you to appreciate. You might start to question whether you’ve been wasting your time. Before you know it, your fruitless days of searching have turned into weeks, and the weeks have turned into months.
The situation seems hopeless. Fears about the future set in. All of the bad economic news doesn’t help. You’re trapped in a vicious circle of self-loathing and self-pity. What should you do? Here is a few things to think about:
You’re not alone: If you’re overwhelmed by unemployment anxiety, it’s easy to lose sight of any positive outcome. Recognize the fact that millions of people just like you are still out of work. Temporary unemployment is not a reflection of personal merits or character, but rather a statement on the realities of our current job market. Previous generations could boast that they worked their entire lives at one company before retirement. That world no longer exists. We live now in an uncertain era of impermanent work. Periods of temporary job loss should be expected.
Don’t fret about the little things: You may find yourself doubting your legitimacy as a valid candidate. Why else would you still be unemployed? This thought process is a slippery slope – it’s only natural to invent excuses for things we do not understand, but it’s best to put an end to this kind of destructive thinking before it consumes you. Focus on the little steps and positive gains you’ve made and keep moving forward
Strategize, strategize: As you navigate unemployment, you may be tempted to, “stick to your guns” by ceaselessly repeating the same steps each day in your job search. By going through the motions, you’re limiting your potential and cutting yourself off from countless opportunities. Step outside your comfort zone and re-evaluate your job search process. Is there something you haven’t tried yet? Someone you’ve been afraid to talk to? Ditch the major job boards for a few days, reach out to friends and family, network through Linkedin, and consider using a good recruitment agency.
Relax: Lastly, remember to relax. Although you’re down and out now, it’s not the end of the world (although sometimes it might feel like it is). Simply feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence and make you much more attractive to employers. If searching for a job is a full time job, then you’re allowed a vacation. Take a few days off from your hunt to clear your head and reflect on your goals. You’ll return to the job hunt reinvigorated ready to take on anything.
Using a smart, well thought out strategy for finding a job is only half the battle. Staying positive, upbeat, and optimistic is the most important thing you can do. In job search, depression tends to be self-propagating and worsen your chances. So before you think of anything else, remember the power and necessity of your own positive frame of mind. Good luck out there and stay positive!