We all know that in today’s job market it’s fair to assume that it will take more time to secure a suitable new position compared to, say, four or five years ago. It’s no surprise that the number of applicants per vacancy has risen to a point that recruiters and hiring managers are pushed to their limits in managing and responding to applications received – often resulting in feelings of disappointment when your application isn’t acted upon or sometimes even acknowledged. As you would expect, the selection process is more rigorous and to top it there are emotional challenges that you may not have experienced in your previous job searches.
It’s the emotional side of job search that I want to talk about today. How you handle the emotional issues that come up will have an impact on the more practical challenges of your job search.
During this time of transition, you may experience any combination of reactions: shock, denial, anger, sadness, guild, anxiety, fear, relief, and maybe even excitement and anticipation. Everyone in job search can expect to experience some of these. Some of them are more acute at the beginning of a search although some or all of them may occur throughout your search project.
Some people have described searching for a job as a roller-coaster ride; others as a bungee jump. Suffice it to say it is a time of incredible lows and highs, with, perhaps, concomitant mood swings.
Keeping your emotions in check will come more easily to you if you take care of yourself. Self-care may seem rather indulgent although it’s probably the single most important thing you can do for yourself during your job search. Looking after yourself will help you to feel good and give you that bit of confidence to help get you to where you want to be. Ignore self-care at your peril.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking and help you on your journey:
Emotional self-care. Enjoy supportive relationships with family, friends, yourself and others. Surround yourself with positive people and those that care for you. Nurture your relationships and learn to fulfill your personal needs – which may mean saying “no” to requests that don’t meet your requirements right now.
Mental self-care. Focus your attention on your goals. Stretch and stimulate your mind through your activities. Set yourself time limits for your search activities, ensuring that you take regular breaks. Create a good balance in your life and always include things that are enjoyable, relaxing, inspirational and motivational to you.
Physical self-care. Take regular exercise and enjoy a healthy diet. Don’t over indulge in your food or alcohol consumption. Keep headaches at bay with a regular intake of water. Avoid excessive caffeine and try drinking herbal teas daily.
Purposeful self-care. Recognise what’s important to you and live your life with a sense of meaning and purpose. Spend time doing the things you most enjoy with the people you like to be around. Take time out to experience the outdoors or do something that you have wanted to do for a long time but could never find the time.