How to keep your sanity in the job search game

“We have decided to go with another candidate,” comes the latest broken record rejection in the job search game. The job hunt quickly becomes a downward spiral when you’re dealing with constant rejection, but that doesn’t make you a reject.

You customize every letter and resume to every employer you apply to and enter every interview with a freshly pressed business suit and a positive attitude. They smile. You smile. They say, “It’ll take a while.”

Why is this process so much like dating?

Flip the script. You haven’t found the right fit yet, but don’t give up. Here are a few additional ways to keep your mind sane and your spirits up while between jobs.

1. Switch your routine

Searching for a job is a job in and of itself. Setting a schedule helps you block out time for particular tasks and errands related to your search. However, you can also get stuck in a routine that may affect your productivity and mindset.

Switching your routine around opens up a new perspective or energy level for you to tackle the job search. Work at the kitchen table instead of the desk. Work on your resume after breakfast instead of after dinner. Move your paperwork and laptop to the coffee shop. The change will keep your mind fresh and your mood elevated.

How do you define “job search?” For many, the process entails scanning wanted ads, filling out applications and submitting a cover letter and resume. You hit refresh on your inbox, rinse and repeat.

Job searching means more than pushing buttons and proofing resumes. It means getting out in the world and meeting other professionals, attending networking events and developing your skills. Subscribe to a new journal in your industry and stay updated while getting your morning coffee. Attend a conference in a nearby state. Shake up your job search definition to make progress and stop feeling stuck.

3. Take a mental health day

Are you a computer zombie kicking back endless espresso? Stop forcing yourself to function on coffee-infused autopilot. Take a mental health day.

Concentrating on computer glare for hours gives you a migraine and affects your sleep in addition to the stress of the search — among the unemployed, 12.4% feel depressed, which doubles the depression statistic for those employed. Step away so that you come back to the table ready to find a job that satisfies you. Job satisfaction leads to greater life happiness.

Don’t feel guilty about taking a day away to reconnect with yourself. Refresh your energy and perspective. Lie down and watch a movie. Have coffee with friends. Sign up for a pottery class. Find something that makes you happy and energizes you.

4. Open up

The job search isolates. Find a search buddy, or connect with someone who’s been in your shoes. Meet up for coffee to discuss your struggles, celebrate your wins and strategize.

Connect with someone who is where you want to be in your career. Chances are, they’ve experienced your
struggles and will help you develop an action plan to find the perfect next step position.

5. Brag yourself up

What’s the best way to lift yourself up? Brag.

You’ve done more than you think while on your career path. Take a step back to take a step forward.

Create a list of brags and pin it somewhere you can see it when you feel down. What compliments have you received about your work? When did you win out in a tough situation? This list works according to the progress principle, which states that when you sustain good feelings about the small wins, you function more productively by finding the meaning in what you do.

6. Research the giants

Okay, so you haven’t found the sweet spot in your career yet. One negative perspective says that what you decided to do with your time hasn't paid off. Stop the negative self-talk. While aspects of those statements may hold truth, the struggles are universal — even among experts and all stars in the business world.

When you feel stuck, research the giants. Read articles and autobiographies. Listen to TED talks. You’ll feel better about where you are and find inspiration to keep going.

When you feel stuck and rejected, it’s hard to keep your spirits up in the job search game. You may not feel like searching at all, especially if you’re not sure you want to step back into the same industry or role.

Take time away, redefine what job searching means and brag yourself back up. You’ve got this, and soon, you’ll find the best fit for you at the top of your preferred employer’s list.

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