Becoming despondent during a job search is extremely common. Whether you’re out of a job because you just graduated, you’re looking for greener pastures, or you were let go – it’s difficult to feel you’re making headway.
With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, it’s important to keep yourself positive and productive during the transition phase. A study by Connie Wanberg, Associate Dean at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, highlighted the low felt immediately after ending a job1. Over 20 weeks, a job hunter’s well-being slowly rose, and when hitting the 20-week mark without finding a job, their feelings of rejection and depression came back.
What can you do?
It’s important to keep a reminder to yourself not to stagnate. Exercising or other forms of keeping active are an important part in keeping your happiness levels up, as it increases serotonin production and release2. Make exercise a part of your daily routine – it’s important to keep at it, even if you’re feeling demotivated.
While it could feel extremely tempting to stay inside, staring at your computer screen and refreshing your browser for new job postings, it’s necessary for you to feel the warmth of the sun. Bright light (preferably natural and not the light from your laptop) also helps increase your natural serotonin levels, keeping you happy and motivated.
Make sure to set aside at least 10 minutes of your day to go outside and get some fresh air.
Upgrade your CV
Not sure what to do with all the spare time you have now you’re unemployed? Do some work on your CV.
Validate the knowledge and skills you’ve learnt over your career with a certificate from a top-tier university through an online short course. Or if you’re lacking in a particular area, take initiative and upskill yourself. If there’s a time-gap in your CV, but your prospective employer sees you’ve used that time productively, it’s a surefire way to show you aren’t afraid of growth and taking the reins on your life.
Set yourself a routine
Routine is a really important aspect of keeping yourself in a positive and inspired mindset. Without a routine, it’s very easy to fall into the bad habits of sleeping late, going to bed at indecent hours, and generally being unproductive with the time you should use to find a job.
Set aside times during your day for job searching, and use the rest of your time productively for other activities.
It’s also important to note – every person goes through their job-search at a different pace. Just because an ex-colleague has found a job within one week of their hunt, and you haven’t, is no indication of your talent or professionalism.
Keeping yourself focused on the goal of finding a job you love, while still balancing your daily life is imperative to staying positive and keeping yourself empowered for your search.