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Looking For a Job is a Job

By Julie Hamel

Common themes in the conversations heard on campus: “I have applied for over 30 jobs and haven’t gotten anything!” “Every job application I fill out wants something different and takes up so much time!” “I’m so tired of applying for jobs and not even getting asked for an interview!”

There’s a tension in the air as so many students conduct job searches at a very tough time in our nation’s economic history. You know that you need to persevere and keep looking, but it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude!

Applicant.com has these suggestions:

Form a Plan 
It can be helpful to have a specific plan in place for your job search. Write down a schedule of how you’re going to conduct your search. For example, if you are not working right now, decide what tasks fit best in your morning routine, and what might fit better later in the day. Spend an hour or so searching for open positions on the internet, or in the paper, and then take a break. Plan some time in the afternoon for filling out applications or making phone calls. If you are working during the day, perhaps try alternating job searching with filling out applications. Tackle a little bit each evening. The main benefit to this is that it helps you to focus, and builds in some control over the process so that you know you are doing what you need to do, but you are not letting it take over your entire schedule.

Avoid Perfection 
We’ve all been told that our resume and our application need to look great and come close to reaching perfection! It certainly is true that this is the way to make a good impression, but if you dwell too much on trying to present yourself perfectly, you may experience more stress than necessary.

Get your resume in order, and take advantage of Career and Employment Services on campus! They will review it for you and make suggestions. Be willing to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for, but then leave it at that. You may be spending needless time trying to get everything to be perfect, and this may lead you to neglect other important tasks.
If you do make a mistake, learn from it! No one is perfect, and dwelling on what might have been is exhausting and emotionally draining. You’ll do better next time!

Find Your Personal Cheerleaders 
Family and friends may have different approaches to supporting your job search. Some may provide encouragement and others may simply add to your stress. Find people who give you positive support and energy for this process. You’re probably being hard on yourself right now, and you don’t need others around you who contribute to the negativity. You may need someone who will just listen, or you may need someone who can actually give you advice. Seek out those whom you trust.
Consider forming your own job search support group! You may have several friends or classmates who are struggling with the same job search stress. Make time to meet and share ideas, or invite someone who has some professional expertise about job searching to join you and give you advice.

Get a Workout 
If you’re not already in an exercise routine, this is a great time to start. Your mind is preoccupied with the tension of job searching, but your body may be affected too. We can’t separate them!
Any type of exercise is good, but something that causes you to break a sweat is better! Walking or biking are great, or take half an hour to do yoga, play some basketball, or jog. Exercise is good for your body, but it also relieves tension and forces you to take a break from your worries. When you get done, your mind may feel refreshed and more ready to focus on the next task.

Find Some “You” Time
Although you may feel that you have to be job hunting 24/7, it’s really not possible, nor advisable to think about it all of the time! Take a hot bath, read a book, go to a play or concert, or find something else that provides you with a brief distraction. When you’ve taken time out to do something relaxing and distracting, you come back to your tasks with a better attitude and better focus.

This may be the most difficult thing to remember when job hunting. If you’ve applied and have not been asked for interviews, or have interviewed and not been offered a job, it’s easy to get discouraged. Your way of responding to these disappointments will generally determine how you proceed with your job search! This is a unique time in our economy, and being looked over for a job may have more to do with that than it does with your personal qualifications. If the jobs aren’t coming your way, be willing to “re-goal.” Job search in areas that you hadn’t considered initially, or check out temp positions that will give you experience while you wait for full-time. Let everyone you know – family, friends, professors, organizational leaders – what you are looking for and what you are good at. The more people know about you, the more likely it is that you will find something! This is a time to be creative and flexible.

Finding a job is hard work right now, and you may be frustrated with the process. Try to stay optimistic and hopeful, and eventually, you’ll get that break!

© All staff articles are used by permission of the respective author(s). Copyright belongs to the University Life Café. No part of this may be used without authorization.

Looking For a Job is a Job (pdf)