7 Ways to Stay Mentally Strong in Your Job Search

  • Don't go it alone.
  • Enhance your skills.
  • Stay within your focus of control.

If you are in the midst of a job search in these unprecedented and challenging times, then one of the biggest obstacles you may face is staying positive and motivated.

While many career and recruiting experts have been focusing on how to get hired in the age of Covid-19, there is another conversation that we, as a society, ought to have. The waiting and uncertainty running through many job markets these days can take a toll on the mental and emotional health of even the most motivated and qualified candidates.

Day after day of scouring online job boards, filling out applications, updating resumes and cover letters, trying to land virtual interviews and attending one virtual job fair after another with no offer in sight, can be disheartening.

But, while it’s totally normal to feel frustrated with a prolonged job-search, you don’t have to let all the stress get you down. Even if your circumstances are challenging, having resilience in the face of these challenges may be within your reach.

Recent research has shown that stress and adversity can be turned around for the positive. It turns out that your mindset about stress may be the most important predictor of how it affects you. If you can train yourself to view the stress surrounding your job search as a motivating factor instead of a debilitating one, then it can actually enhance your well-being and make your job search efforts more effective.

Staying Focused and Mentally Strong in Your Job Search

So, how can you maintain your job search, yet stay motivated and positive along the uncertain road ahead? Here are 7 tried and true tips to help you keep a positive mindset as you look for work– even in the face of difficult setbacks.

1. Don’t go it alone. Of all the tips mentioned here, this is perhaps the most important. Staying positive requires the support and guidance of others. You need to have people around you who can help you stay accountable and motivated. This support can come from a number of sources, such as friends and peers, online groups and forums, as well as a career counselor, a career coach, or a trusted mentor.

2. Keep up your daily routine. Developing and sticking to a daily routine can do wonders to your mental endurance and well-being. In fact, daily rituals are known to lower anxiety, increase confidence, and even alleviate grief.

A meaningful ritual is often a small, repeated behavior, such as getting up at the same time each morning, doing some meditation or exercise and then eating breakfast. By adding certain “rituals” to your job-search efforts, like only checking your email at specific blocks of time and creating the next day’s to-do list the evening before, will help to give your day structure.

3. Give yourself small, measurable goals. You need to strike a balance between being proactive and not over-doing yourself so much that the apparent lack of progress  doesn’t get you down. Create for yourself a daily itinerary that you are committed to sticking to and be realistic about how quickly you’ll get a response from recruiters and hiring teams.

4. Get to work. If you want to stay positive, then don’t ever sit idle while searching for a job. Take on a side hustle. Do some freelance work to start bringing in a paycheck. Volunteer your services for a project or cause that you care about. Get involved in related industry communities– online and off.

Spending time involved in such activities will help you in several ways:

  • You can build new connections and grow your professional network
  • You’ll keep your finger on pulse of current and future industry trends
  • You’ll be more engaged throughout the day
  • You can build and enhance a searchable online presence and portfolio that could help you be discovered by recruiters.

5. Enhance your skills. Not only can you use the time during your job search to fill in any skill gaps, but even learning about seemingly unrelated areas can have a big impact. In Steve Jobs’ famous Stanford commencement speech, the late head of Apple, Inc recounted how a calligraphy course gave him ideas when designing Apple’s personal computer interface.

There are plenty of places offering free and budget-friendly discounted classes online. If you have time in your day, sign up for a course that could boost your profile and make you stand out among other candidates.

6. Stay within your focus of control. There are some things that you have no control over, such as the state of the economy, the job market, industry trends, or even where you are living. While some economies have been slowly recovering, the employment picture has changed in many ways over the past few months, and all signs indicate that many of these changes are here to stay.

In order to stay positive during your job search, make an effort to focus on what you can do to improve your situation, like strengthening your online presence, practicing how you’ll answer certain interview questions and learning new skills.

7. Get some perspective. Spending too much time obsessing about finding the “perfect” job will very quickly lead  you to frustration and ultimately, depression and burnout. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, then step away from your efforts for a little while to relax and re-energize. Speak to a friend or an advisor, listen to music (or play it), take a walk, meditate, watch a movie, just get your mind off of all the job applications and interviews that are waiting for you.

Part of getting perspective is giving yourself the time and space to do just that. So, don’t feel guilty about spending time with your friends or anything else that helps you maintain a positive attitude towards yourself and your circumstances. Set limits on how much time you are willing to invest in your job search and still be able to maintain a positive attitude.

Above all, remember that even if your job search process is taking a bit longer than anticipated, your current situation is temporary. It may be a bit challenging now, but things will eventually fall into place.

Stay strong mentally.

You Got This !

Excerpts from Mentally Strong Job Seeker by Robert Moment

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=4]

Robert Moment

Robert Moment is an experienced and highly skilled ICF Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, Trainer, Speaker and Author of the book , High Emotional Intelligence for Managers. Robert specializes in developing managers, executives and employees to achieve high emotional intelligence for peak performance and success.   Robert is Certified to deliver The Social + Emotional Intelligence Profile-Self (SEIP) ® Assessment, the most comprehensive, scientifically validated, and statistically reliable instrument on the market and review the results with clients and create a comprehensive developmental action plan. This includes the self and 360-versions as well as workplace and adult editions.  

Leave a Reply