There is a good chance that, at one point or another in our working lives, we’ll be faced with a task that many of us consider unenviable, stressful, and even frustrating: the job search.
And while our motivations may vary greatly – bouncing back from a layoff, looking for a culture change, wanting more money, or even envisioning a different career altogether – job searches can take time, can be the cause of much stress and disappointment, and can definitely affect our mental well-being.
The good news is that your job search doesn’t have to take such a toll – with a little bit of planning and mindfulness, you can preserve your mental well-being. By prioritizing it with these tips and strategies, you’ll be able to concentrate on what matters most during your search: finding that perfect job.
Make a Plan (and stick to it)
No matter how good our intentions might be while job searching, the simple fact is that, sometimes, life gets in the way. That’s why it’s so important to make a plan when it comes to organizing your time and thinking about the factors that will assist in your search. Make a list of your skills, interests, and values; this will help give you a sense of direction.
Your plan can also involve creating a schedule for your job searching – try dedicating a set amount of time every day, like first thing in the morning when you get up. This actually relates directly to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy technique called ‘behavioural action,’ whereby the act of scheduling something means that you’re more likely to follow through with it – regardless of your mood.
A Little Affirmation Goes a Long Way
Once you begin to grasp the realities of job searching (lots of other people are looking too, it’s not always easy finding the right job for me, etc.), it’s important that you maintain a sense of self-worth. After all, it’s easy to let all of these hurdles get in the way of what really matters: your success.
And so that’s where your daily affirmations come in; by reminding yourself of your best qualities (think “I’m well-qualified, bright, and ready to succeed”), you’ll be focusing on positive aspects of the job search, rather than on the negative ones that can get you feeling down.
Take Breaks. Often.
Time sure can fly when you’re in front of your computer searching job listings, drafting up cover letters, scrolling through LinkedIn, emailing resumes, reaching out to old contacts and trying to make new ones – all important elements when it comes to the job search.
But when you’re doing these things for hours on end, you can run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and being less mindful of what you actually need to be doing.
By taking regular breaks and focusing your attention elsewhere for a time, you can give yourself a chance to reset, take stock of what you’ve already accomplished, and think clearly about your next steps.
Build a Career (and Support) Network
The thing about job searching is that it can often feel like a lonely, isolating experience – like you’re on your own, competing against countless other anonymous, invisible job-seekers. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Building a network can actually serve two key purposes: it can open up new opportunities, but just as importantly, it can provide you with a crucial support network of people in similar situations. Job searches can be emotionally taxing, after all, so by creating a sense of community, you’ll feel less alone and more emotionally supported.
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For many people, job searches can be time-consuming and challenging work (it’s no surprise that you often hear the saying ‘searching for a job is a full-time job’). But between all of the research, applications, emails, interviews, and cold calls, many of us simply forget to include the importance of self-care.
At the end of the day, it certainly pays to be in a positive, healthy frame of mind when undertaking such an important task – why not ensure that you’re mentally prepared for success?