8 Tips to Keep the Faith During a Long Job Search

If your job search is beginning to feel long, it can be depleting. Research shows that long job searches often directly impact mental health as anxiety and depression can both increase. And the feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy, and being unwanted can directly impact interview performance. It can quickly turn into a vicious cycle. 

The good news is that there are practical strategies you can employ to keep the faith during a long job search. You cannot control when you get a job offer or what that offer may be, but there are a lot of aspects of the job search you can control. So let’s focus on these.  

8 Tips to Keep the Faith During a Long Job Search 

  1. If you’re feeling discouraged, ask yourself why. What exactly are you feeling about job hunting? Do you feel a lack of confidence about your skills? Do you think you are a victim of age bias? Are you uninspired to get back to work full time? Do you want to try a different sector but feel anxious about it? Get clear on what your own concerns are and then look for ways to address them. 
  2. Take action to combat the problem that is discouraging you. Remember, you can only control what you can control. What you can control is your mindset, the way you market yourself, and the strategic choices you make on a daily basis.
  3. Put some in-person events on your calendar. As the world opens back up you have fresh opportunities to network in person. Build rapport by connecting with those in your industry through professional development, networking events, and local talks. 
  4. Job hunting is your job, so give yourself clear assignments on a daily basis. It can be tough to do this if you’re still employed, but whether you have more time than you desire or less, be sure to get clear on your goals and create a structured plan. Think: reach out to three loose ties each day, schedule a networking lunch, or connect with a recruiter this week.
  5. Give yourself the gift of a confidence boost by sharpening skills or learning new ones. Maximize the benefit of a long job search by investing time in upskilling. Use this time to make yourself more marketable and valuable to a future employer. 
  6. Schedule reevaluation markers every 45 days. About every six weeks take a look at what seems to be working and what doesn’t in your job search. Are there certain industries or job titles that have fewer positions available? Does it seem like you’re hitting dead ends because you need to refresh your skills? Evaluate your search on a regular basis and make changes accordingly. 
  7. Tend to your mental health. Take advantage of the freedom to make healthy choices like daily exercise and time outdoors. If you are unemployed make sure that on a weekly (if not daily) basis you are intentionally enjoying the perks of unemployment: explore nature trails in your area, work on your job applications from coffee shops, take a mid-morning spin class. Your time and location are your very own so take advantage of those perks. 
  8. Remember, even when things feel overwhelming, the likelihood of the “worst case scenario” is small. According to licensed professional therapist Fern Sutton, it’s easy to get eaten up with overwhelming thoughts, so it’s important to identify those thoughts and recognize that they are unlikely. When counseling job seekers who feel defeated, Sutton asks them “What’s the worst case scenario? How likely is that to happen? These kinds of negative thoughts and inaccurate cognitions can be fear based and you can get stuck in that and become unrealistic.” In all likelihood the worst case scenario is not that you will have to foreclose on your house. It’s that you may need to take a job that is not your first choice. It’s important to make sure your anxiety is not based in unlikely scenarios. 

Job hunting can be difficult, especially if it has been a long time since you last looked for a new position. But with structure, a healthy mindset, and a commitment to get out there and network and grow, you will find your next opportunity.

by McKinley Marketing Partners