Keeping Up The Good Fight

There’s no question that job search is a tough job!  This is particularly so in a slow economy like the one we’re experiencing now.  Regardless of where you are in your career or how much experience you have, with competition for every opening being so rough, it is imperative that job seekers do everything they can to keep up their strength, their focus and their priorities!
No matter how good a worker you are, no matter how strong your skills, even if you have a solid work-seeking strategy and a strong network, it is most likely that you will experience more “no” in your job search than “yes”.  The frustration of non-responsive employers combined with actual rejection from your resume submissions can slowly eat away at the way one feels about one’s self.
What can you do to combat the rejection and frustration?

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend with negative people.  Things are tough enough without letting others suck the life and spirit away from your job search efforts and other aspects of your life.  We all know people like this.  Even family members and close friends with good intentions can bring you down.  They mean well, but their own pessimism, cynicism and negativity are pervasive.  So find excuses to be around positive, productive people who have a better outlook.
  • Take care of yourself and your health.  Get plenty of rest.  When you’re not working, and a bit bummed from not getting the responses you’re hoping for, it’s easy to become distracted from your goals and develop bad habits like staying up late, watching too much television, overeating, or doing drugs or alcohol to ease your frustration.  Try to keep a regular schedule, getting up and going to bed around the same time every day. Get plenty of physical exercise, even if it’s only a brisk walk, to clear your mind and take in some fresh air.  Maintain a healthy diet; keep the junk food at a distance.
  • Don’t bottle up your frustrations!  Talk to someone regularly about how you really feel, about your disappointments and anxieties.  You don’t necessarily need to see a professional therapist, but a close friend or confidant who lends an ear can be quite valuable in maintaining your perspective and sanity.   Keeping your emotions inside can lead to high blood pressure and other health risks, add to your stress, and suck your concentration.   Find a constructive way to vent!  The last thing you want is for your frustrations to come out in the tone of your interviewing, networking and correspondence.
  • Focus your attention on the achieving your primary goal: a particular career- oriented job within your chosen industry.  Nothing sabotages job search efforts faster than a scattershot approach to finding work.  Applying for everything in and outside of your chosen career path will not net the results you seek.  Yes, you may get interviews and even a job offer, but if you’re going to be miserable on the job, and it’s not what you really want to do, you’re wasting your time and that of the employer.  There’s no point to taking “just a job”, leaving the position, and starting your job search all over again!  Going after only the jobs that most interest you (and that you are actually qualified for), may take a bit of extra time, but the end reward will have been worth the extra effort.   Of course, if you really need to work, any job is better than no job, but make sure you continue your focused efforts to find the position you really, really want.
  • Don’t spend your entire life focused on your job search.  Find other activities that interest you and keep you feeling good about yourself.  Maybe do some volunteer work, or explore starting your own business, dig in the garden, practice a musical instrument, take hikes in locations you don’t see frequently, or study a new language.  Its easy to find activities that are free or low cost that will provide the appropriate amount of distraction from your job search to revitalize your mind and spirit.  And if you find yourself learning something new, or contributing to your community, the benefits are more than yours alone.

Accept the reality that job search can be a real roller coaster ride of emotions and anticipation.  Searching for appropriate job leads, customizing your resumes and cover letters, networking and waiting for responses from prospective employers are mandatory job search activities, and all tax your emotions and sense of self.  But finding the balance and distraction from them can be their own reward.  So, go out and smell the roses, and keep up the good fight.
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