Snap Out of the Job Search Doldrums

by Vault Careers | October 20, 2011

Whether you’re unemployed and on the job hunt or eagerly seeking to jump ship from your current position, searching for a job can be a difficult, discouraging process. After dedicating countless hours to searching for jobs, writing personalized cover letters, perfecting your resume, and sending out application after application, it can be incredibly disheartening when none of those employers get back to you. While it may seem impossible not to feel sorry for yourself, being stuck in the job search doldrums isn’t going to help you land your next gig. Below are some tips to help you get into a more positive mindset as you scope out your next employment move.

1.  Make It Shiny.

You’ve looked over your resume a billion times and proofread your cover letter until your eyes turned red. But nothing is perfect. While you’re waiting for responses or preparing for the next round of applications, review your materials again. Look for ways to tighten your language, make the writing more interesting, and better highlight your accomplishments. Also, be on the lookout for any grammar errors and typos. Create the most polished, compelling materials that you can, and give yourself some peace of mind on the application front.

 2.  Step Away from Your Computer.

While perfecting your application materials may help reduce stress levels when it comes to the actual application process, you need to take a break sometimes from your job hunt. Close the job boards, take a day off from informational interviews, and don’t even peek at that resume—dedicate your day to anything but your job search. Don’t even allow yourself one second to think about your job search troubles. Take a day trip, try out a new recipe, watch a funny movie, go for a run—give yourself a break and return fresh another day.

3.  Volunteer.

If you’re out of work or not getting the experience you need to further your career goals in your current position, be proactive. Offer your time and expertise in a volunteer capacity. Volunteering can help you fill in gaps in your resume and build your network. If you’re trying to break into a new industry, volunteering can be a perfect way to establish a foundation. You obviously can’t offer your services for free (exclusively) forever, but volunteering can be a great way to build your knowledge for now.

4.  Keep Connecting.

Networking is hard work, and having to mingle at events and build relationships with strangers may just add to your stress. But the more people you get to know—and who know you’re on the job hunt—the more opportunities may come your way. Whether it is getting to know a company insider who can pass your resume directly to HR, learning about jobs that haven’t been widely-publicized, or just meeting people who can give you advice about breaking into an industry, networking can end up relieving some of your stress in the long run.

5.  Get Friendly.

There is nothing like gathering with friends and blowing off steam to make you feel better. Sure, you may prefer to hide under your covers and wallow over your job situation. In fact, you may feel so terrible that you don’t want to rub off on your friends. But friends are there to pick you up—so let them. Go ahead and vent to them but then move on and have a good time.

--Mary Kate Sheridan, Vault.com

Filed Under: Job Search | Networking | Resumes & Cover Letters


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