Persisting through the job search process

Searching for the next right job opportunity isn’t likely to be completely smooth. There is so much of the process that’s out of your control, whether it’s submitting your application into the abyss of internet job application sites, rounds of interviews that keep dragging on, lack of communication, or not quite getting to make your case in an interview.

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Resilience and Feedback

There is a certain amount of resilience you need to keep pushing through a process that can at times feel depressing or dehumanizing. What will fuel that resilience is taking time to step back and assess how your pursuit is going, what you’re learning along the way, and how to adjust your search based on the feedback or data you get.

You might get specific feedback about why you’re not being considered more seriously – you have too much experience, or not enough; they are looking for just the right fit for the team’s chemistry; you wanted too high a salary.

Each of these are data points to reflect on – to evaluate with your strengths and how you’re presenting yourself, and whether you need to emphasize some elements differently. Sometimes these data require a check-in with your values and priorities, to consider whether this information from the marketplace changes anything that you were prioritizing.

If you haven’t been able to get much feedback, and are getting a brick wall impeding your progress with no concrete information why you can’t get through – that can be an opportunity to reach back out to the places you’ve applied to ask for some feedback. It might be a sort of reverse informational interview, or an excuse to schedule one, to understand how to present yourself more effectively, or what they’re actually looking for compared to the job description, and your experience in applying for it.

Take a Vacation (Really)

And if you hit a point in your job search or career change where you feel depleted and frustrated, that’s a signal to step back for a little bit. Give yourself a vacation from fixing your résumé, meeting with more people, submitting more applications – and I mean that literally. Even if things are getting tight financially, take a full week off from these activities to do something else, to have some fun, to do things that feed your soul.

That’s critical to do in a process that’s really about selling what you bring to the table, and being authentic. You can’t do those things well if you’re exhausted (and the organizations can tell you’re just going through the motions).

Letting Go and Moving Forward

Finally, we all know that sometimes, the opportunity you had grown attached to – the one that really does feel like the perfect fit – isn’t yours after all. (I’ve certainly had that experience.)

Give yourself some time to grieve that, so that you can work toward letting go of all that you were imagining. That way, you will avoid comparing everything else to them, or bringing bitterness along with you in the next phase of your search.

Be kind to yourself in this process. Get the support you need to keep going. Do things that fill you up, so you have the energy you need to put yourself out there.

By sticking to what’s most important to you, it will work out.

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