Before starting your job search, it’s important to prepare for the possibility that it may drag on longer than you expect. Keep in mind that there is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to hiring processes, so you need to exercise some patience and not feel beaten down when you don’t hear a response after a few days.
Try not to panic if your peers have received job offers while you’re still waiting for your first job interview. Keep your sanity by acknowledging that it’s perfectly fine for others to have vastly different job search experiences.
Attaining your ideal career can be stressful and everyone will have their different journeys. Don’t compare yourself to them and let it demotivate you. Shake off that pressure by making your job hunt a positive and productive experience instead!
Strategising your job hunt
Planning your job search journey can make the process less painful and more enjoyable.
1. Make it bite-sized
How many resumes and cover letters do you think you should send out in a day? In a week? Give yourself achievable daily targets and small deadlines to feel more accomplished and driven throughout the process.
2. Keep tabs on your progress
Keep a journal detailing your job search. Alternatively, if you prefer lists, start a file documenting the companies and positions you’ve applied for.
Creating and maintaining your journal or list will not only keep your job hunt organised, it will also drop some hints on which resumes and cover letters are working, and which ones may need a tweak or two.
3. Reward yourself
With your daily goals keeping you on track, and your journal or list recording your journey, there is little else to do but reward yourself when you hit your targets!
It doesn’t have to be anything big or grand; you can indulge in your favourite game for a few more hours or simply set a date with some friends. This will keep you feeling more motivated and ready to meet your next objective.
Pause and play
“Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs.” – Russell Eric Dobda
1. Leave the house
Doing the same thing over and over again with no respite and little results is enough to drive even the most patient person up the wall.
So leave your home for a bit, go for a short walk, and take deep breaths of some much-needed fresh air – it will help you regain some perspective. You can also take the time to run some errands, catch up with friends over a cup of coffee, and just take your mind off your job search for some time.
Stepping out of the house is not a waste of your time, so do not guilt-trip yourself over it. Taking breaks is rather different from slacking – slacking is about avoiding work while planned breaks actually raise productivity!
2. Get moving, get sweaty
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which can trigger an overall positive feeling. Moving and exercising is thus a good way to limber up your body after sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, all while relieving the pressure building up in your body and between your temples.
Tailor your exercise to your level of capability – if you cannot run, take a brisk walk through the park. If the very idea of rock climbing gives you chills, settle for an easy game of badminton with friends. If you are looking to rid yourself of some frustration, consider martial arts such as Muay Thai or Taekwondo. You can even explore the different versions of yoga available to you – which, contrary to popular belief, is not just about stretching.
3. Do some good
Consider volunteering at organisations that align with your interests. Not only will it get you out of your house and moving, it will also give you the opportunity to think about the big picture beyond your job hunt.
Recruiters have also been known to keep an eye out for passionate candidates, so committing to a cause close to your heart can help you expand your talking points during job interviews.
Moreover, to make the experience count more, figure out how you can tie your volunteering stint with your intended area of work.
For instance, non-profit organisations usually have volunteer positions for communications and IT, so aspiring media and tech professionals can gain some experience there before moving on to the corporate world.
4. Pick up some classes
While you may not see the need to dive back into classes so soon after graduation, these classes can help you pick up new skills that may add value to your resume – such as those in languages and coding.
On the other hand, there is absolutely no harm in taking up leisurely classes in art and craft, or even music.
These classes not only serve as a good distraction, engaging your mind in an otherwise challenging time, but are also a good opportunity to pick up skills you may have always wanted to master – but never found the time to – before you are bound to a job.
Even if you are cautious about your finances, learning about these activities can be typically found for free online, so there’s no excuse!
5. Switch off
Everything. All your electronic devices. This may be the toughest thing to do, but take the time out to recharge and ignore all those Facebook and Instagram updates.
There is also the added benefit of disregarding any negative feedback passed on through messages or emails that may put a damper on your spirits as you continue on your journey to finding a job that suits you.