No one is alone, and no one ever was. This is one of the most powerful tenets of wisdom we garnered from past years, as mental health awareness progresses across the world. Even if COVID-19 created walls between communities, everyone still found ways to be connected. People did whatever it took to take care of each other and ultimately themselves.
One of the biggest issues the global community faced was the loss of jobs, as many organizations closed due to the pandemic. As people are more open with their mental health struggles, there is still some difficulty preserving one’s peace of mind, particularly during the job search. While your dream career may not yet be within reach, here are some tips on staying positive when looking for a job.
Acknowledge This First: Job Search Anxiety and Depression Are Real
If you are feeling something akin to worry or fear over not landing a job, you can link these apprehensions to job losses during the pandemic. In October 2021, the US unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent, compared to 3.5 percent last February 2020. Numbers like these imprint on people’s minds — that looking for a job is an enormous challenge, thus feelings of anxiety surface.
About half of U.S. adults have a negative disposition when it comes to looking for work. Among those surveyed individuals, 53 percent shared that they felt like they lost a piece of themselves, while 56 percent admitted to having feelings of anxiety or depression during this period of unemployment. One can only imagine the agony caused by repetitive rejections and lengthy wait times.
With this being said, a good start to handling job search anxiety and depression is to get hold of your feelings. Identify them, even linger in them, and try to work with these feelings instead of shunning them away. You’ll find that “cooperating” with the motions of your mind and body works better in clearing your disposition towards the job search.
Treat Looking for a Job as if It’s Your Actual Job
A way to stay sane while job hunting is to put structure in the process. Picture this: you start browsing for job openings in the morning, use a definite period in the day to polish your resume, send applications, or check on pending ones, and at the end, focus on resting for tomorrow’s job search.
A better way to put these steps into perspective is to approach your job search as if this is what you do for a living. Just as there are identified times for work and meal breaks in an office setting, why not use the same structure in your job search? Think of it: by placing your job search tasks within a specific period of the day, you are practicing the following:
- Maintaining focus and concentration. A regular 9 to 5 work schedule requires employees to focus on work-related tasks within office hours. When you finally land that job, you’ve mastered that kind of required focus from you.
- Adhering to routine work. It’s tempting to do whatever you please while you’re not yet in a professional setting. But keeping at your routine tasks will help you acquire discipline right away, instead of having to build this discipline when you’re actually employed.
- Actually giving the job search enough time. Passing that resume “when there’s a chance for it” or when you are finally online are passive efforts to get hired. The problem with people who procrastinate is they end up having less or no time for their responsibilities. By putting in active efforts to schedule your job searching, you’ll find out you have all the time you need.
Factor in how much time you spend on your morning routine (waking up, breakfast, exercise, etc.) and start your dedicated job search hours later. Commit to yourself that within these hours, your focus is to look for job placements, send in resumes, check on existing applications, and so on.
This does not have to be for an entire day. Especially for those looking for a new job while employed, they might only have time at night. And after your allotted hours, commit as well to not thinking about your job search until the next day.
Manage Your Headspace in This Period of Job Search Anxiety
By assigning a specific time in the day to attend to your applications, you are indirectly reminding yourself to not think about your unemployment status all the time. However, sometimes you can’t help it. Your apprehensions will still get the best of you and worsen your job search frustrations. Distract yourself from such thoughts, and put effort into taking care of yourself. Why not do both at the same time?
Exercise, a balanced diet, and a good night’s sleep are already non-negotiable aspects when it comes to taking care of yourself. Additionally, individuals with poor mental health are at risk for chronic physical conditions, and vice versa. A sound body will not be strong enough to contain a troubled mind, so strive for balance by taking steps toward better mental health during your job search.
Here are small but powerful actions to stay positive when unemployed:
- Move on right away from jobs you didn’t get. The feeling of failure does linger, but you don’t have to linger with it. If there are points for improvement from the recent job application, take them right away and apply them to the next one.
- Reward yourself for small victories. Did you get all the way to the second interview? Way to go! A nice pint of ice cream will make you feel good about moving on to another job application. Celebrating mini-milestones helps you recognize your progress.
Another way to find yourself celebrating small wins is by setting up short goals. By the end of the week, you should have reached out to at least 10 organizations. Or you should have created three versions of your resume depending on the organization you will pass it to. While landing a job is the ultimate goal, you are still a winner with your small victories.
- Focus on what you can control. No amount of follow-up emails can make a non-responsive hiring manager tell you about the progress of your application. That is why you should just pour down your efforts on tasks that you have control over. You can’t predict what the interview questions will be, but you can choose your interview outfit or what time you will arrive at the interview venue. This is also a wonderful way to remind yourself that you still have control over the outcomes of your applications, even if just the slightest.
Stay Connected with Your Immediate Circle
Family and friends will always want the best for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them during these trying times. You’ll be elated to know how much they appreciate you approaching them for help, or even just to let off steam during your job search.
It also won’t hurt to go to your connections to ask for leads about job openings within their own circles. Chances are, they’ll even recommend you. One advantage of going through your own contacts to apply for jobs is they know you well enough if you’re a fit to their own organizations. After all, networking has always been used to move ahead in the professional world.
But beyond helping you get employed, your loved ones’ genuine concern for you will help you get by, especially when doubts and fears are starting to set in. A cup of coffee with a close friend or a nice dinner with some former colleagues will help you let things out and spend some quality time with people who will support you. Once you are filled with their words of kindness and support, you’ll feel revitalized to finally get that job offer.
LET ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING BE YOUR GUIDE IN YOUR JOB SEARCH.
Knowing how to stay calm during the job search already does wonders for your mood and disposition. But with the help of a dedicated staffing firm that wants you to succeed as you do, the job search will seem like a breeze. Let ACS Professional Staffing give you that confidence. We are a full-service direct hire staffing firm rooted in the core values of quality, service, and integrity. We want you to do well in the job hunt, and we have the right tools to help you.
With our years of experience and the relationships we built with employers and job seekers, we will honor your efforts in the daunting task of looking for a job. With ACS Professional Staffing, your newfound job is only the beginning. We believe that we are not the end, but rather a continuation of your professional journey, and we will be there every step of the way.
Contact us now and see for yourself what ACS Professional Staffing can do for you.