There are many ways we find ourselves in the jungle of job hunting…. redundancy, having newly graduated or left school, returning to work after a break or just looking for a new challenge.
I call it a jungle because on one level it is a really rich place full of opportunity like a verdant fertile jungle filled with many brightly coloured plants and fruits each beckoning us. On the other hand, we can feel overwhelmed by the range of possibilities, like being lost in the undergrowth, not seeing a clear path and calling ourselves into question with each job advert we look at. It is a place of transition where we sit between a feeling of belonging, known comfort and security and feeling afraid in the face of the unknown and uncertainty.
The emotions we feel in this jungle are well documented. Elizabeth Kubler Ross/John Fisher describe the roller coaster of emotions of transition well. And of course, we don’t go through the transition curve step by step, but move backwards and forwards on the curve depending on our own unique experience.
So how do we keep ourselves whole and resilient in this job hunting jungle?
As a coach, I have worked with many clients who are seeking new roles and career paths. Based on this I would like to share our top tips to keeping resilient:
- Keep an abundance mind set – look on the job search as an opportunity to get what you really wantin your career and life. It’s as much about you finding what you want as organisations finding what they want.
- Set goals in other areas of your life so you get a wider perspective, sense of achievement and progression. Take up a new activity e.g. learn a musical instrument, a new language, start art, singing or dance classes.
- Keep active – care for your body and mind; exercise, eat and sleep well; socialise. Whilst you may feel you have to stay glued to your desk 24/7, the truth is, you will be much more productive if you take time out to do things that bring you energy and happiness.
- Focus on what you can do – it’s easy to feel overawed by job adverts and find all the things that disqualify you. Note what qualifies you in rather than out by listing your skills, experience and achievements to date. What do these tell you about what you have to offer?
- Be with your emotion – name your emotion and accept it compassionately. Empathise with that part of you that maybe feels hurt, frustrated, angry or lacking in self-belief. Tell yourself the emotion is temporary, it will pass.
- Be mindful of negative self-talk – journal any negative thoughts and read them back making new notes as you do. Be aware these are just thoughts, they don’t define you, they are not who you are.
- Don’t take it personally! Keep perspective, remember finding a job is a processand very imperfect one at that – if you don’t get through the first stage, you might just have had a key word missing from your CV. If you get a rejection, it is from one person (or computer programme), that failed to see a match, not the company – so don’t let it get you down!
- Treat the whole process as a way to learn – seek feedback constantly from any applications you make, ask recruiters, note down what you have done well and what you could do better at. Work out what you have to do to succeed at every stage of the process. Then practice!
- Visualise success – periodically imagine yourself in your new role basking in success – you are far more likely to find the resources to achieve it if you can see the future that lies ahead.
- Take your time – don’t rush in to the first thing that comes along just because they want you – make sure it is going to give you the life and work you really want.
For more resources on resilience in general see https://www.mindful.org/how-to-cultivate-the-resources-for-resilience/ and https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201805/the-one-resilience-skill-you-need-overcome-life-stress.
Gayl Long is an Executive and Career Coach with 25 years+ of Coaching, Facilitation and HR experience.