No matter how positive and optimistic you may feel at the beginning of your job search, a long string of fruitless resume submissions and awkward interviews can take a toll on even the most resilient applicant. These days, the average job search lasts for about eight months, but it’s not uncommon for perfectly qualified candidates to stay on the market for a year and often far longer. So when you round the next bend and realize you still have miles and miles left to go, what steps can you take to stay motivated and keep your head in the game?
1. Take breaks.
There’s a difference between persistence and relentlessness. It’s okay to treat your search like a full time job, but full time jobs come with weekends, lunch breaks, and mental health days. Don’t assume that coming up for air will ruin your future or cause you to lose focus. It will actually do the opposite.
2. Stay in touch with your social circle.
You have a social circle, your have a support network, and you have a professional contacts list. You need the first just as much as you need the second two. Your entire social world should not revolve around your job search. Go out for coffee or drink with your friends now and then and immerse yourself in someone else’s life. It will help you gain a little distance from your own.
3. Remember why you’re doing this.
If you’re committed to “searching for a job” and you’re ready to exclude all other alternatives, like freelancing, consulting, starting a business, partnering with a friend, returning to school, choosing a new career, etc, etc, than make you sure you understand why you’re doing this. Don’t develop tunnel vision and continue down this road simply because you’ve come too far to turn back. If this is the path for you, stay on it. But if a better option appears, think carefully before you say no. It’s never too late to change course.
4. Take care of yourself.
Sometimes long-term job seekers slide into a state of self-neglect, losing sleep, foregoing exercise, and eating in an unhealthy way. Don’t give in to frustration or a damaged sense of self-worth. Your needs come first, job or no job.
For more information on how to stay positive, balanced and socially connected during your search, reach out to the employment experts at PSU.