Mental Shift #1 – You are not alone
A job search can feel incredibly isolating and lonely.
It’s not like it’s a group activity where you can collaborate with team members, bounce ideas off one another, vent about what’s not working, and get the support and encouragement you need to help you deal with the ambiguity, uncertainly, and obstacles.
No…. It’s just you and your computer as you spend hours tweaking your résumé and cover letter and completing time-consuming online applications.
You hit “send”, pray to the interview gods, and then check your inbox incessantly for an invitation to an interview from an actual human.
Hours turn into days that turn into weeks that turn into months…
And you’re still at it – just you and your computer.
At this point, you’ve applied to dozens, hundreds, possibly THOUSANDS of jobs (yes, that actually happens!) and still waiting for “the one”.
Hope has been replaced by despair.
It feels like you’re the only person who’s getting nowhere with the job hunt. You feel like a total failure.
The reality is that you are not alone and you are not a failure.
While some people find a new opportunity very quickly with little effort, most jobseekers do NOT.
The reality is, it can take many months to a year or more to land something. And even then, it might not be your “dream job”.
It’s not uncommon for people to feel overwhelmed and stressed out by the sheer amount of effort that’s required to generate interviews only to be ghosted 99% of the time.
The longer the process drags on, the more demoralizing and depressing it can be until you’re trapped in a downward spiral into the job search abyss.
How do you maintain some semblance of hope?
How do you reverse the downturn?
How do you keep moving forward?
You need to realize that you are not alone. I know this isn’t a solution, but it will help put things in perspective.
Most jobseekers are in the same boat as you – they’re just not advertising it to the public. The thing is to not get down on yourself. You’re not the problem – the system is.
One way to not feel so alone is to make time to socialize. I would also advise that you get help from an actual human you trust and who ideally, is a career professional.
Mental Shift #2 – It’s ok to ask for help
If you’re a control freak like me who thinks they can do everything by themselves, you might balk at the idea of reaching out for help.
So, you launch a job search fairly easily with all the best intentions and do all the “right” things.
The problem is, while you have some control over the outcome, you don’t have all of the control because there are so many factors involved. Things can go from good to bad pretty quickly through no fault of your own.
If you’re starting to feel defeated and losing faith because you’re not getting interviews or the wrong kind of attention, my recommendation is to get help.
If you’re struggling with writing your résumé, cover letter and Linkedin profile, hire a professional to take that off your plate.
If you don’t know how to properly launch a job search, hire a professional to put a strategic plan together.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed about your search because you’ve been looking f-o-r-e-v-e-r and nothing’s on the horizon, you definitely need to talk to someone.
It could be a trusted friend or family member. Or you could join a jobseeker support group.
Another option is to hire a job search coach who can be your accountability partner. They would support and guide you through the process, push you where you need to be pushed, encourage you when you lose faith, and basically keep you on track.
The objective is to not get so discouraged that you lose momentum and start to make a rapid decline into the dark side.
Mental Shift #3: Don’t get too attached
A large part of the reason we feel negative thoughts is because we are attached to the outcome. This is completely normal and particularly true with a job search.
Not only do we want to get the job, we also need the job. It’s how we pay our bills. In addition, our identity and feeling of purpose is largely tied up in how we earn our living.
But the more you are attached to the outcome and the longer it takes to get the job, the more stressed out you are going to be when things aren’t working out the way you envisioned.
It’s the not knowing when you are going to get the job or what that job will be which is the hardest thing to deal with. Not having certainty and security is something that creates a great deal of fear in most people.
The trick is to not get attached to anything – good or bad. Be as neutral as you can be.
So, when you get some interviews, don’t get too excited about them. You can thank whatever higher power you observe for the opportunity, but then let it go. Get back to work and prepare for the interview.
When you get ghosted, release any feelings of negativity. Remember, this happens to everyone about 99% of the time. It’s not you – it’s the system.
When you are not selected for interviews, don’t get upset about it. Okay…. You can get upset for maybe an hour or two but then release that negativity to the universe because it ultimately won’t serve you.
I know this sounds really “woo-woo”, but if you can remain unattached to any of the outcomes, it will be easier to weather the ups and downs of a long job search.
In fact, the more neutral you can be, the faster you will attract interviews and job offers because you’re not wasting valuable time being knocked off your game.
Mental Shift #4 – You are more than your career
While it’s true that how you earn your living is important, it isn’t the only thing that defines you.
You are soooooo much more than your job.
If you base your entire self worth on your employment/income status and you are currently unemployed and/or not earning as much as you feel you deserve, you will create feelings of lack.
A job search is challenging enough without placing more pressure on yourself to live up to some arbitrary standard of what it means to be “successful.”
Instead, try to focus on what makes you unique and the kind of value you offer the world that has nothing to do with paid employment.
Where have you helped others in your personal life?
What kind of talents do you possess that are not on your résumé?
I’m sure you can come up with many success stories that will make you feel better about yourself and your situation.
Mental Shift #5 – This too shall pass
When things aren’t working out the way we’d like, it’s common to feel like it’s never going to end. Your mind goes into a negative thought loop that sounds something like this:
I’m never going to land a job.
I’m going to be unemployed forever.
No one wants to hire me.
I have nothing to offer.
I’m going to go bankrupt.
(Fill in the blank here….)
The good news is that these are just thoughts and not necessarily realities.
Now, if you give up or don’t get the help you need, they could become realities.
However, if you get help, take the right kind of action, and continue to plow through the search, you will attract a job.
It’s only a matter of time.
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