Idealist Careers – Searching for a job can be a formidable task, and whether you’ve been looking for a job for a few weeks or a few years, it’s easy to feel discouraged. However, there are ways to counter self-doubt and make effective strides in your job hunt. Try these four tips for staying positive while looking for your next opportunity.
Create a daily routine.
For many people, losing the daily routine that comes with a job can be one of the most unsettling aspects of unemployment. If you find yourself struggling to stay organized or motivated, or becoming easily discouraged or anxious, implement new routines using your job search as a base. Setting up even a basic routine—perhaps a daily cocktail of one part surfing the want ads, one part networking, and one part researching your field, with a sprinkling of fresh fruit breaks and walks around the block—can really help keep you grounded.
Also, consider devoting a little time each day to journaling about your job search activities. In particular, write about what you do well and how you feel engaging in all aspects of the search. Look for patterns that help you predict when you might feel particularly stressed or down. Note the activities that give you positive energy and incorporate more of them into your routine.
Connect with others.
Think of a few people you know who have recently taken a new job and set up time to chat with them about their experiences. Even if they looked like they navigated the process with casual ease and confidence, you will probably hear a different story. If you ask your friends if they ever felt unsure of themselves, you’ll likely hear some tales of insecurity, worry, and self-doubt. Talking about these experiences can help you remember that a job search is hard on everyone, but that if you maintain a focus on self-care, you’ll be able to get through it. Also consider a job search support group to share your experiences, or even volunteering to develop and maintain new relationships while helping others.
Keep an eye on your health and stress.
It can be tempting to forge blindly ahead despite physical and emotional symptoms of stress, and transition is a time when stress can sneak up and deplete your reserves before you’re aware it’s happening. There are obvious reasons for experiencing stress during a job transition: dwindling finances, pressure from family to get a job, and mounting self-doubt about the chances of future employment. So be proactive: monitor the quality of your sleep, diet, and exercise and talk about the issues that are worrying you. Also, be kind to yourself: it’s not easy trying to put your best self out there, day after day, in difficult circumstances.
Remember that your life is more than your job search.
Your job search should be on the front burner when you’re in transition, but your life is not your job search. Support, discovery, adventure, and connection should be key elements in keeping your life balanced. Remember to stop, take deep breaths, and invigorate your mind along the way. Think of your career transition as one big exercise in self-improvement.