As a professional job hunter, I know the struggle is real when it comes to landing a job…even an interview! There are many times where we feel like we have put in millions of applications with little to no return. I have had moments where I even scored the interview only to get an email days later stating that I “was a strong applicant, but they decided to go with another candidate.” As a college graduate, it can be an even bigger frustration since hearing all of your life that going to college will “open doors.”
Job hunting can be so stressful and time consuming that things may sometimes seem hopeless and I have in the past found myself wanting to give up at times, but I am here to tell you that there actually are ways for you to job hunt and be happy at the same time.
1.Know Your Worth
Knowing who you are and what you bring to the table is so crucial to your mental and emotional health and your health and well-being should always be your first priority no matter what career path you are on. And when these equally important aspects of your health are in order, you do not stay in a rut when you get rejected from a job, you get inspired and realize that better things are ahead.
2. Get Your Hands Dirty
From experience, I know that some of the frustration we have during job hunting is feeling like we are not doing enough. Do not leave any stone unturned! (But do not over do it!) Hop onto LinkedIn and research the companies you are interested in working for; while you are at it, look at the profiles of a few employees that have the job you want, check out their resume and reach out because they may be able to get you in touch with the hiring manager. Email those contacts you have already made and see if they have contacts at the company(s) you are applying too. If possible, pop-up at the company with a copy of your resume. When you feel like you are putting in as much effort as you can, you never have to ask that question as to whether or not you are doing enough; the question becomes, what great opportunities are going to come my way?
3. Stay Organized
Coming from someone who has not been the most organized, I can tell you from experience that once I started creating a system that works for me, I felt such a weight lifted off of my shoulders. When you break the job search into smaller pieces, things do not seem as daunting. Pick out 2-5 positions once a week that you want to focus on and have had applied to by the end of the week. I like to print out the job descriptions for each one so that I can highlight key points that I want to mention in my resume and cover letter. I then make a chart and for each key point, I right next to it a time in my job experience where I exemplified those attributes. (Tip: I have experiences and bullets on standby that I can switch out to easily customize my resume and cover letter for each job!) From there, I begin drafting my cover letter and editing my resume, I even do some research online to see if I can find the name of the hiring manager and I try to reach out to other employees at the company as well. Once my resume and cover letter are updated, I begin the application process. In addition to these things, you may want to create a schedule that you can stick to maximize your productivity.
4. It is OK to Take A Break
This may sound crazy, especially if you are in a job you hate or unemployed, but yes, it is ok to take a break from it all! Just like college, we were not in class all day, every day, we also had breaks! Some breaks were shorter than others, but they were necessary ways to recharge so that we could be mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally prepared to do the work it took to get our degrees. The same logic should go into your job search. When you are feeling overwhelmed or even depressed about not getting the position you wanted, the answer to your problems is not to continue in the same direction that you are going because your body is telling you that you need to step away and recharge. You can reward yourself for your hard work by having a relaxing bath, meditating, binge watching your favorite show, getting dressed up and going out, working on a side project you are passionate about and maybe just doing nothing. If you are employed at a job you may not care for, try to put away some money to take a trip somewhere; after a few stressful weeks of job hunting, I took a trip to New Orleans and it was just what I needed to come back and go harder.
5. Do Not Compare Your Journey to Others
I know this may be an especially difficult one to do, especially in the age of social media, but please do not compare your journey with that of your seemingly successful peers. I am guilty of this myself…you know, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook looking at pictures of my former classmates living a “seemingly” glamourous life while I have yet to crack open the door to my dream job. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that this is motivating us to work harder, but in reality, it makes us feel even more hopeless, maybe even anxious like we are not enough and will never make it into our desired careers. But I am here to tell you that you cannot be more wrong. If we all truly knew how rare, but not impossible, it is to get our dream job right out of college, we would take those Instagram photo ops with a grain of salt. We forget to think about the struggle this person may have went through or maybe they had a lucky break that happens to only one in one million people. Pictures are just a snapshot of a moment and people are particular in what moments they want us to see. But more importantly than that, every one of us has our own journey; some journeys are bumpy before they get smooth and that is OK because no matter what road we take, with hard work, we will be heading toward that dream job we have always wanted.