Handling the Ups and Downs of Job Search

Handling the Ups and Downs of Job Search

Some people purposely read the end of a book first. They find that removing the suspense and knowing how it’s going to turn out makes the book more enjoyable. With job search, you don’t have the option of knowing from the start how it will turn out. While job search tends to follow a certain course, you don’t know what any given day will bring – perhaps a new lead, or perhaps a rejection. It’s helpful and appropriate for job seekers to be optimistic that their job search will have a happy ending. But between now and the start of your new job, there are sure to be highs and lows.  Here are six ways to deal with the ups and downs of job search.

1. Understand the Typical Stages of Job Search

While every job search is different, there are certain key activities and phases common to most. Understanding the journey from here to your next job will make it easier to deal with challenges along the way.  Take time to orient yourself to a typical job search. As you understand the cycles of job search, you’ll be able to manage expectations and know what will come next.

2. Keep Your Options Open

During job search, it’s dangerous and sometimes damaging to become overly focused on a single job and believe it is the “right” one. A better path is to continually pursue multiple options. Of course it’s normal to get excited about any given opportunity and to feel it would be a great match. But as you work towards a job offer, continue to network, generate other job leads and pursue them in parallel and with enthusiasm. If you don’t get one job, you will have others in your pipeline already. Pursuing multiple leads is an important tactic for dealing with the ups and downs of job search.

3. Exercise Resourcefulness and Flexibility

Successful job seekers must be willing to change tactics based on what is working and what is not. Take time regularly to evaluate your activities and the results they bring, then modify based on where you’re getting success. For example, one job seeker noted that sending resumes to advertised positions was getting little response. However, having a connection submit a resume for her generated a phone interview. This led her to focus more deeply on jobs where she has a connection to the company or the hiring manager.

4. Celebrate Success

Don’t view job search as a series of setbacks, focusing on calls not returned or jobs not offered. Instead, view it as a series of successes, focusing on each new network connection, job possibility, and improvement to self-marketing.  Learn from setbacks and move on,  but also track and celebrate successes.  By focusing on what is working, you will increase your sense of optimism and present yourself as more upbeat and positive.

5. Practice Self Care

Job search is more than networking, generating job leads and interviewing. Taking care of yourself should be an equally important part of your job search. Build in time for self-care just as you do for all other aspects of job search. Having strong emotional well-being will serve you well throughout your job search.

6. Share the Journey

As with most things in life, the ups and downs of job search are much easier when you share them with others. Join a job search support group, ask a friend to be your job search buddy or ask family and friends to let you vent from time to time. Going it alone leads to isolation and makes disappointments harder. Sharing leads to a feeling of connectedness and helps buoy you when times are tough.

A friend who was starting a new job after several months of job search commented, “If I had known at the beginning that I would land this job and be back to work on this date, job search would have been so much more enjoyable.” Unfortunately, you can’t pinpoint the date you’ll start a new job. But there is much you can do to make the uncertainty, ups and downs more manageable.

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