For most of us, looking for a job can be a stressful.
It might be that you’ve been made redundant, you’re not happy in your current workplace or that you’ve had a change in circumstances.
Whatever your situation, it’s important to stay positive and remember that your situation is only temporary. For those of you spending your time filling out application forms, attending interviews and hoping for that life-changing job offer, we have some advice.
Make a cup of tea, sit back, take a deep breath and read on.
Set yourself goals – and stick to them
The law of averages says that it’s a numbers game, the more places you apply to, the more opportunities you’ll get to meet employers and sell your abilities. This is true to an extent. However, try to target your efforts and be smart about how you use your time. It’s better to submit just one outstanding application a day, rather than several which are poorly written. Set realistic goals and keep a record to help with follow up.
If you’re considering multiple roles, look at the deadlines for submissions, so you can prioritise which ones at to do first. How about making it your aim to connect with five new people on LinkedIn every week? Or looking at your CV with fresh eyes at least once a month? Achieving these things will help you to be proactive.
Create a daily job search routine
Start your morning as you mean to go on, scheduling in start times and breaks so that you can stay productive when you’re working from home. Look around you to make sure you have the right environment – a tidy desk will keep you organised – and try not to overwork. Take care of yourself by eating and exercising. If you’re presently in a job, your routine could be checking for new roles on your morning commute and carving out some time to reply to employers in the evening or at the weekend. When you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s tempting to postpone things altogether, but don’t fall into that trap. It’s easier to stay positive when you know you’ve achieved something with your day.
Take on board constructive criticism
After you’ve been job hunting for a while, knock-backs can become difficult. Whether you’ve been offered the role or not, try to learn something from the situation which will help you the next time round. The feedback employers give after interviews can vary enormously, make sure you’ve had this and that you understand it. Try to look objectively at the responses you’re given, so that you can determine what’s helpful and what’s not. You should do your best to take helpful tips on board, but equally, it’s important to brush off negative feedback if it dents your confidence. Focus on the things you can control rather than subjective comments. For example, if you hear that a presentation you gave could be improved, think about how you can brush up on your delivery techniques.
Seek inspiration to stay passionate
All of us have a reason for choosing to pursue the career we’re in. When you’re stressed, try to remember why you love the job you do. What is it that makes you excited about your industry? Look back at your successes so far, store up those memories and utilise them on days when you’re feeling less inspired to pitch yourself in a covering letter. Stay in touch with your role-models, seek encouragement from blogs, news articles and social media. Why not spend some time on the TEDx website? Or for inspirational talks, look up J.K Rowling’s Harvard University address or Steve Jobs’ ‘how to live before you die’ speech.
Ask a recruitment agency for support
These are free to job-seekers and they have a large network of clients who are looking for staff. In fact, some jobs will only be available through Recruiters. They have the expertise, and can offer valuable insights about companies, so it makes sense to use them as a resource. As well as putting you forward for vacancies, agencies offer support and give you useful guidance such as CV writing and interview tips. If you’re finding your search challenging, you might find it useful to talk to a professional who can point you in the right direction.
Re-energise and reassess
Don’t feel guilty about relaxing – it’s not possible to job hunt every second of the day. If you’re feeling frustrated, it’s best to step away from the computer and reassess. For those of you who don’t have a job at the moment, this is your time to do something you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. Have you thought about volunteering or creating a reading list to improve your wider knowledge? Time with friends and family is also important, as it helps you to get a different perspective and who better to ask to proof-read an application.
About the author
Kate Allen is the MD of Allen Associates, one of Oxfordshire’s leading independent recruitment agencies, that specialises in Marketing, Finance, PA/Admin and HR roles. In 2018, Allen Associates launched their first London office, specialising in Marketing, HR and PA/Admin roles.