Staying Focused During The Job Search
Whether you're a first-time job seeker or someone who's been looking and looking, everyone can hit a wall of frustration, loss of focus, and even resignation during a prolonged job search.
If you've suffered a few setbacks (you were one of two final candidates, or at the end of the process they decided not to fill the position due to budget, etc.) it can be hard to keep at it with all of the energy, enthusiasm, and zest necessary to come across as a great candidate. If you're living this reality, I'd like to offer some ways to help you recharge, stay focused, and get that job.
Letting go of rejection
First of all, please stop beating yourself up. Sometimes there are obvious reasons why we don't get a job (wrong skill set, experience, culture fit), and other times we'll just never know why. Yes, it's frustrating. But when we continually focus on what didn't work and hit replay over and over, it literally sucks emotional and creative energy from us that we could be using to think about the next opportunity.
Did you make a misstep during the interview or feel like you didn't successfully convey the things you feel make you stand out? By all means, learn from the experience and keep practicing. But remember, focus on practicing for the next opportunity, not dwelling on the past one.
Routines and rituals
Set a time-frame for job search efforts each day. If possible, try sticking to the same time-frame every day. For example, you are actively working on your job search from 9:00 to 12:00 each day. When you have a start and a finish, you'd be amazed how efficient you are.
The ideal work/rest ratio is 90 to 120 minutes to power away on something and then take a short break. Why? When we restore ourselves with either a drink of water, healthy snack, a quick walk, or some deep breathing, we recharge and are able to improve our focus and clarity for our next time chunk.
I'm a big fan of time-chunks, because when we spend entire days on the same task, our productivity slowly diminishes over time, making us less efficient. We also become tired, unfocused and are often listless by the end of the day. Which brings me to...
The power of exercise, networking, and socializing
A job search can seem like a marathon, so let's take that analogy and extend it to the physical realm. If you're not taking care of yourself, you will burn out on all levels. Not just physically, but mentally as well. Exercise is great for getting and staying fit, but the effects of a workout also supercharge our brains and make us feel more energetic and happier. Endorphins are a good thing. If gyms are not high on your priority list, try other forms of movement like martial arts, yoga, or dance. Or just take a walk.
Often, we can isolate ourselves when looking for a job. We feel like we need to be searching constantly, which can sometimes mean being surgically attached to our computers and smart phones. Remember how each day you set a time frame on your job search efforts? That means that you have time to get out, network, and socialize. Maybe this means having a cup of coffee with someone in a field you're interested in, taking a class, or volunteering. Yes, you could potentially meet someone who might be able to help with your job efforts, but on a deeper level you will be recharging yourself, which ultimately means more energy for your mind, body--and job search.