I have recently found a job after about 3 months of intense job hunting. I had little experience in my chosen field. I had no education background for the job. But I had enthusiasm and was eager to learn. However, it was a gruelling experience that, to be honest I don’t want to re-live anytime soon. Nonetheless, from my experiences I have learned the a few things about staying positive during this transitional period. Here are my tips 🙂
It’s so easy to give up. Even easier to let the tears fall from your face as you read yet another rejection letter in your inbox from that job you thought was absolutely perfect. It’s even more typical of one to fall into nostalgia about their good ol’ university days with a large box of Tesco Everyday Value ice cream on that comfy couch of yours. ‘I wonder if the newest episode of Game of Thrones is out yet…” Stop! Don’t let yourself sulk. Instead try these small tips to help keep your mind fresh and your head in the game.
1) Exercise: It’s so easy after university to stop exercising. Gone are the mandatory practices for the sports team(s) you have joined and getting involved for a local team is frequently ‘unavailable’. Not to mention, your gym buddy is somewhere halfway across the country, where he got offered a job. Anyway, you feel guilty about leaving your laptop for a second, because it’s not time spent searching for jobs! But, one cannot overestimate the necessity of staying fit. Not only because it triggers those crucial endorphins during a low point in your life, but it also allows you to set goals that are within your control! Setting even the smallest target can help boost your confidence. So get off that seat and start moving!
2) Start A New Hobby: Remember that time when you wanted to start knitting? Or that time when you wanted to learn how to cook that delicious beef recipe your friend recommended? Now is that time! You have an abundance of something that your fully employed friends only wish they had; time. Invest it into something that you have wanted to do but never had the proper time for in the past. Who knows where new knowledge can lead you. Maybe it will be something that can make you stand out in your next interview.
3) Catching Up with Friends: Once you start working a 9-5pm+ job finding time for your old mates might be a struggle. Sometimes those full-timers disappear off the face of the planet and re-appear briefly only at Christmas. Since your schedule is fairly flexible you can meet them for lunch somewhere during their break, or simply be able to find a more favorable time to accommodate their schedule. I cannot stress enough how difficult it may be to do this once your time is largely eaten up by work. Not to mention, this type of networking can produce new job opportunities through word of mouth.
4) Stay in a Routine: When Monday to Sunday waking up at 11am becomes “early” for you, things are looking pretty egregious. It’s so easy to remain sluggish, lazy and quite frankly, depressed if you have absolutely nothing to do all day, for more than a few days straight. Your motivation continues to take a dive and you simply lose your mojo. Try any of the top 3 tips mentioned to help add structure to your day. Not to mention, if your potential employer asks what you have been doing the past 3 months and you give him the deer in headlights look since you’ve slept most of them away, that doesn’t leave a positive impression.
5) Volunteer: It’s a great way to meet people, add experience to your CV and to helps you get out there into your community. Most volunteer stints don’t take up 40 hours a week, so you have plenty of time to still look for jobs, go to interviews and reschedule if there is a conflict one week. Who knows the contacts you can attain at the organization and what opportunities such an experience can provide!
6) Small Getaway: Sometimes the stress of it all can just be too much to take for the time being. Constantly being bombarded with negative responses can lead anyone to be left in a disappointed, pessimistic and lugubrious state. Planning a small weekend getaway, to even the nearest national attraction (doesn’t have to be a luxurious week long spa holiday in the Bahamas) can help relax, distract and clear your mind so you are ready to take on the week and continue the search the following Monday.
And just remember, with over 280,000 new graduates entering the work force every year, you are not alone. The majority experience some form of rejection during their job hunt, whether or not they choose to disclose that information to you. It’s also smart to look back on the challenges you have already overcome. Remember how hard it was back then to study for A levels, get into university, make the college team? Job-hunting is definitely not first or the last challenge you will face in life, so cheer up buttercup and keep your head up high!