Usually, the thought of a new career track or job title is exciting. After all, you'll certainly be faced with new opportunities for personal and professional development. However, making the decision to find a new job is far easier than the job hunting process itself.
What you may not hear so often is just how difficult a job search is. Most people spend an average of five months looking for a new job, and many find that the process takes even longer than that. If you have to add in an economic downturn or a highly specific job title, you'll most likely find the process stretching out for well over nine or ten months. Plus, it takes many people several attempts at new jobs before they find the right fit for them.
Don't let this knowledge cause you to give up before you've even begun. Instead, you can actually use it to boost your motivation.
A simple online search or even a discussion with your coworkers, family or friends will quickly reveal that there is plenty of good guidance on how to find the perfect job quickly. Reaching out to your business network, creating the ideal resume and cover letter, and acing the interview process are some of the most oft-cited tactics for finding a successful outcome. However, there's one reality that's often missing: those outcomes don't come right away, and they don't come without doubt, frustration, and anxiety.
One key factor for getting through the job search process successfully is to maintain a hopeful attitude. Initially, this may seem easy, but after your twentieth rejection email, your confidence may begin to wobble. When setbacks happen is when you need your motivation most, and yet that's when your motivation may be most at risk.
Before that happens, lay the foundation for a strong mindset that is both realistic and hopeful.
When you encounter setbacks and feel your motivation slipping, there are things you can keep in mind to help you push through to the other side.
Some people are optimistic by nature and most ready to see the upside of a situation; others are more inclined to look for what can go wrong. You actually need to balance both tendencies. Resilience comes from realistic hopefulness. To find that balance, you need to know what your true values are, what you are most willing to sacrifice for. Then when negative thoughts start to arise, your response can be, "No matter what, THIS is worth fighting for."
Your ideal vocational path may not turn out to be attainable, but the attainable path that you can believe in still exists. Again, know what drives you, and be creative about how you can put your values into action and get paid for it. Talk to as many people as you can whom you can learn from, and keep an open mind. One crucial benefit of these conversations is that you'll find people who honestly want to help, which is in and of itself a huge motivator.
This isn't easy when we're stressed; we can get reactive and try to control things that we actually have no control over. It takes an effort to step back and reset. Having regular processes in place for managing your job search can be extremely helpful here.
Establish the habit of responding to negative events with productive actions that you can take immediately and without thought. For example, if you get a rejection email, take the next hour or so submitting a new application, sending a request for an informational interview on LinkedIn, and setting your calendar for the your tasks the following week. Help another job searcher with their own informational review request, either by talking to them yourself, or by finding someone who an help them.
Insecurity and discomfort can be empowering, if you exercise your resilience "muscles."
Although these tips may not make your job search shorter or make rejection feel any less upsetting, they can help you build your strengths and sustain your faith in yourself and in the people around you. Even when the road to the next job seems unending, know that your persistence is what will ultimately bring you success.