How Emotions Affect Your Job Search

How Emotions Affect Your Job Search

How Emotions Affect Your Job Search

A job hunt can be an emotional rollercoaster ride. One day you're elated about your possibilities, and the next day you're tugged at by panic about being unemployed. This can even happen from one hour to the next. It’s important to keep your emotions in balance, however, because if you don’t, they'll impair your ability to find a job.

The Impact of Emotions

Worrying about your emotional state might be the last thing on your mind when you’re unemployed and looking for work, but emotions can hamper your ability to get the right job.

According to a study published in the Journal of Career Development, simply being emotional could lead to poorer job search results.

Negative Emotions Led to Bad Choices and Bad Jobs. Job seekers who showed more negative emotions in their interview responses were more likely to be less motivated and focused and to panic if they didn’t get a job right away. That panic caused them to take a scattershot, unthinking approach. This led them to settle for jobs that weren’t right for them, including jobs they said they didn’t want.

Staying Neutral Led To Success. Seekers who were emotion-neutral, on the other hand, responded to repeated rejections with a more focused approach. They came up with new strategies and redoubled their efforts. These seekers were more systematic in their approach and focused on finding the job that was right for them, ignoring jobs that weren't.

The researchers concluded that job searchers who managed and regulated their emotions learned not to decrease their search efforts and more often had successful outcomes.

How To Become an Analytic Job Searcher: Five Tips

Are you ready to take a more focused, analytic approach to your search for a job? You’ll still feel strong emotions, but they won’t overpower your ability to make good decisions.

1. Be Prepared

Knowing what to expect can help you prepare mentally for the trials of a job hunt. Finding a job can take from 2 to 6 months. Like any long-term goal, success will sometimes feel elusive. Prepare yourself for the tough times by telling yourself, “Bad days are just part of the process, and you have to get through those to get to the good ones.”

2. Keep a Journal

You may already keep a journal for your work or your personal life. Start one that’s specifically focused on your search for work. Use it to take notes on appointments and interviews. Explore your feelings about the process. Write down your daily and weekly goals.

A journal will help you maintain your focus and help prevent pressure and frustration from distracting you. And as an added bonus, it will help you stay organized.

3. Learn To Handle Rejection

You'll face a lot of rejection during your search. When you get turned down for a job or an interview, make a real effort to not take it personally. There could be a dozen reasons the company didn’t think you were the right fit.

Use your rejection to analyze what you might have done differently, but don’t obsess about it. Learn what you can from it, and then move on.

4. Focus on What You Can Control

Focus on the things you can control. You can control the quality of your resume, your skill at interviewing and your ability to network. You can’t control how other people respond to you, the economy, or bias against your age. And, with effort, you can control how you react emotionally to the ups and downs of your search.

5. Take Breaks and Keep Your Energy Up

You may have heard that searching for work is a full-time job. That’s true, and it should include breaks just like any job.

Rebecca Zucker, in the Harvard Business Review, recommends finding activities that engage you. Things such as exercise, music, or meditation are important ways to revitalizes and recover. When you're refreshed, you'll find that you'll leave a much better impression as you interact in your networking and interviewing. And your mental and emotional balance requires it.

Keep Your Balance

Like any life-changing project, your job search will take sustained focus and determination. You'll experience a range of emotions, but they don’t have to derail you.

Focus on what you can do, stop obsessing about what you can’t, and move confidently into your future. Doing so can help you make journey less stressful, and will almost certainly lead to a better result.

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