Job searching is a lonely pursuit.
As much as you can listen to advice from family, friends and recruiters, success lies firmly in your hands, and for most of us that can seem like a daunting prospect.
The scope of a job search can also seem overwhelming. So many potential companies out there, so many variations on your “theme.” You need to focus on where the best fit is, but often that is far from clear.
Your inner dialogue nags away at you: “Come on, at the end of the day, how hard can it be? You just want a stable job, right? Is that asking too much?” Everyone is on your back, including yourself. You worry about being able to pay your bills and with every glance at your bank account you see your savings diminishing rapidly. The sand is rapidly running out of the “get a job now” hour-glass, and the less that remains, the more desperate and irrational you become.
The lowest point might be when you feel that you have done all that you can, you have exhausted every avenue and sent your CV out to the entire civilized world. “There isn’t anymore I can do but wait now,” you say to yourself, in a misguided attempt to give yourself a break. Waiting and doing nothing will just make it worse.
Is the picture that I have painted bleak enough? I would say so. It is a reality for so many people, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In my opinion, a positive job search experience is all about managing your expectations.
The very first step, before even thinking about expectations, is to be honest with yourself. Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Understand what sort of role and company is the right fit for you. Think about the cultural and behavioural fit – would you feel like you “belonged”? Are you aiming for roles at the right level? Well, you get the idea. These are all sorts of questions that you have to ask yourself before you even start. If you get some genuine answers, then you have a solid base for your search.
Then, come up with a plan. Understanding your financial situation, talk with your partner and scope out your job search project. Include milestones, timescales and targets. Break it down. Somehow, when you have got lots of little steps down on a piece of paper, it seems so much less daunting. So, you have to get in contact with 20 recruiters over the first week, do you? Well, get on with it then.
Be realistic about the probabilities. When you go to interviews, you may be a great candidate for the job, but there is always the possibility that there may be someone better. It is hard to understand that there is someone out there “better qualified” than you, but the sooner you accept this as a given, the easier it will be to move on. Sometimes a rejection is not always about you.
Remember, you are not alone. Even though the job search can be an incredibly complex and intense process, don’t act as if you are the only one that understands it. Yes, you will have to make most of the decisions yourself, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t share your worries with others. They may not be able to help hugely as they are not in your position, but the mere act of sharing often lightens the burden.
People lose jobs every day. People get new jobs every day. It is as natural as a tree losing its leaves in the winter only for them to grow again in the spring. It may not seem like that at the time, but if you treat it as a natural process, it will be all the easier to cope with.
View it as an “opportunity”, and you never know what may be in store….
Job searching is a lonely pursuit.