When you’re unemployed or completely burned out in your current position, hunkering down to find a job can be emotionally exhausting and overwhelming. It's no fun to send out resume after resume every day and not get any traction. Even with the perfect resume, you’ll still get radio silence more often than a call for an interview, since so many jobs are filled internally or by referral before you’ve even seen the posting. And yet, you know you’re supposed to send your resume out anyway -- so how can you make the whole process less disheartening?
One trick is to mentally reframe how you approach your job search. Often, candidates feel like they don’t know how to apply for jobs, since it’s not something they do every day. Especially if you’ve been at your last position for a while, or you’ve primarily landed jobs through referrals, the job search might feel really daunting. But what if you were to approach the job search in a less personal way and think of it as a task you might encounter at work? For example, if you work in representation, one of your main responsibilities is selling your clients’ projects, and you've probably developed a methodical process for getting your work done that allows you to succeed. You could easily translate that mentality to the job search. Instead of freaking out about your seemingly impossible task, think, “The next client I’m going to focus on pitching is me.” Then, hustle to get yourself a job the same way you would for your clients. Imagine yourself as the project or product you’re selling (not a desperate job seeker), and the job search will come more naturally. Even if pitching and selling aren't your strong suits, pick a skill you're comfortable with and figure out a way to make use of it -- maybe you're great at building relationships, so you can focus on utilizing your network, or you're an Excel whiz and can quickly compile detailed spreadsheets to track your job search progress. You can ease your mind a bit by building up your confidence with familiar tasks.
Another approach -- and these are not mutually exclusive -- is to break up your job search-related tasks so your days don't feel repetitive. Maybe on Mondays and Wednesdays you focus on meeting with your contacts. You can spend the morning grabbing coffee and the afternoon reaching out to set next week’s meetings. Then, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can respond to job postings. And consider doing this outside your home -- it will help curb some of the monotony. On Fridays, take a break. Most people aren’t going to want to meet then anyway, and the majority of listings are posted earlier in the week. This is a good time for you to focus on professional development -- skim the trades to stay current with the industry, read a script or two so you’ll be armed with fodder for meetings and interviews, take a Coursera class to learn a new skill like coding or business development, or become YouTube Certified. And then take your weekends to relax.
Remember: Looking for a new job is tough for everyone, and you’re not alone. You won’t be unemployed or stuck in a crummy position forever. By reframing how you view the job search and creating a weekly routine, you can reduce stress and hopefully land a new job quickly.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan