How do I say this lightly? Job hunting… is the worst. It’s really and truly the worst, whether or not you have a job. Consider all the time and effort invested into the process. Crafting new cover letters and resumes, looking up open job listings, providing additional materials, submitting your applications and repeating it all over again as you wait to hear back from employers for interviews. Applicants have to have a thick skin for rejections — especially with applications that felt like a sure thing but were met with radio silence.
There are plenty of self-care practices you can engage in as you job hunt. But what do you do when the yoga poses aren’t cutting it? It’s time for a life hack (or three) that will help you get your head back in the game and hit reset on your focus.
1. Don’t apply to every job you see.
This is a difficult life hack to put into practice, but I can tell you from personal experience that it works. I went through a period of my life when I didn’t have a full-time job and was applying to just about every job listing I saw open. It was my finest hour of desperation. It didn’t matter if the job wasn’t a fit or remotely close to being a fit for me. My mentality was I would make it fit.
Hard wiring your brain to make a job that isn’t right for you fit is like trying to put on Cinderella’s glass slipper. You know the shoe is not the right fit, but you still try to put it on anyway. If you do get it on, how do you feel? Was it worth it? Are you happy or does your foot really, really hurt?
Don’t apply to every job you see, and definitely don’t apply to roles that aren’t a fit for you. Some glass slippers simply aren’t yours to wear. Remember that aforementioned dream job listing. Keep looking for companies and roles that fit the attributes of your dream career. Invest your energy into applying for those roles and in time, you’ll find your glass slipper.
2. Spend time out and about enjoying your hobbies.
When you’re looking for a job, it can feel as though every second of the day must be spent applying for open positions and being as productive as possible. Job search coach Kelly Donovan knows that it may sound counterintuitive to engage with your favorite hobbies, like playing soccer or baking cupcakes, during this period of transition but your hobbies may play a major role in your job hunt.
As an example, Donovan says to think of two individuals named Jess and Julie. Jess spends a beautiful Saturday in front of her computer screen. She’s applying nonstop for jobs. Julie, meanwhile, decides to go play tennis with some friends. While she’s on the court, she bumps into an old pal from college. They talk for a bit about their lives and the college friend, after hearing about Julie’s period of transition, offers to put Julie in touch with a hiring manager at their company.
“Even if your hobby doesn’t help your job search directly, simply getting out, setting your friends and enjoying your favorite activity will help boost your spirits,” Donovan says. “It also helps you maintain a positive attitude, which is one of the biggest factors that will determine the success of your job search.”
3. Write out your dream job listing.
This is a practice blogger HannahAlex Moody put into action when she was looking for a new job. She wrote a job advertisement for the position she wanted — and it’s actually a brilliant job hunting life hack.
There are several movements that encourage speaking, and writing, the things you want from life into existence. Why can’t your dream job be one of those things? Writing out your dream job listing allows you to closely examine the fine print of what you truly hope to do in your career. You may find you’re writing about a field completely unrelated to where you’re at currently — like expressing an interest in coding if you work in public relations — and may need to take an internship or classes to make a proper pivot.
Your dream job listing may also allow you to visualize other aspects of the role that matter to you. Would you like to work in a collaborative atmosphere? Should the company have a mission statement that aligns with your values? Is there opportunity for growth? Answering these questions will allow you to become a bit more selective when job hunting. You’ll want to seek out jobs that share the same core values you do and place yourself in a field that allows you to succeed.
This article first appeared on FairyGodBoss.