The Job Search Process – 13 Activities to
Get a Job and Stay Mentally Fit
By Juliette Morgan
It’s stressful. Whether you are a recent grad looking for your entry-level career position or a seasoned professional looking for a voluntary or involuntary job change, the whole process is anxiety-producing. Here are just a few of the emotional “hurdles” you will meet and need to jump over.
- You will second-guess your resume and every cover letter you send out. Are they good enough? Will they grab a recruiter’s or an employment manager’s attention?
- You will agonize over every interview once it is scheduled. What questions will they ask? How can I prepare better? What should I wear?
- You will agonize after every interview is over. What should I have said differently? What questions should I have asked that I didn’t? Did I show enough enthusiasm?
These are only a few of the stress triggers involved in a job search. Depending on your circumstances, there can be more. For example, if you have been terminated and finding another position asap is essential, you will be stressed over your current unemployment situation and the loss of income.
When you allow stress to consume you during this time, you set yourself up for failure. Why? Because it will be next to impossible to be the confident, self-assured person you need to be.
Mental Preparedness for This Process
It’s time to look at strategies for getting yourself mentally fit and positive as you go through this process. Here are some key tips that will do just that.
- Get Yourself Organized
If you can create a structure for you job search, you will feel much better. Set up a schedule each day for conducting your searches, revising resumes and cover letters as necessary for customization, and submitting your documents. Do not spend your entire day doing this – that will just add stress. Set aside 3 hours in the morning, if that, to focus on the search and application processes. Think of it as your part-time job with very set hours. With organization and a schedule, you will keep moving forward.
- Exercise Every Day
The importance of this cannot be overstated. Whether you walk, jog, swim, workout, or swim, you must do something physical every day. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones. These are essential for your sense of well-being and for providing you with a good dose of positive energy.
- Commit to a Healthy Diet/Avoid Bad Habits
Eat regularly and put into your diet those foods that you know are good for you – fish, beans, nuts, raisins, chicken, greens, fresh veggies, fruits and whole grains. At the same time, cut back on alcohol and try not to smoke.
- Get Your Sleep
Again, this cannot be overstated. You cannot function on a focused job search and the other activities of your life if you are not rested. Sleep rejuvenates you and renews your energy and spirit. It is critical to your overall positivity.
- Write Your Cover Letter
Good cover letter can show your future employer that you are the perfect candidate for the position. Cover letter is also a key element in catharsis, when you have lost a job and are feeling emotionally “flooded”. You have suffered a jarring event, and it is important that you get those thoughts and feelings out. Fears too. When you can reduce them to writing, they have a way of becoming less significant and they are “exhaled” from your inner self. You don’t have to be a professional writer but you have to express all your emotions that the past brought to you. This may be important to do at night, if you are losing sleep with worry or anxiety. Keep a notepad by your bed and write you anxieties down. You’ll be surprised how much more relaxed you will feel.
- Join Some Groups
There are support groups for the unemployed. There are also clubs and other activities that are of interest to you. Barring that, get at least one hobby that will take up some of your time. Putting attention onto something that you enjoy will bring an important piece of happiness into your day. And one of the most important things right now is to avoid isolation.
- Embrace Flexibility
Flexibility allows you to widen your horizons and to take risks. Open yourself up to new ideas and new opportunities, though they may not have been on your radar when you began your search.
- One Potato at a Time
There is an old saying – “you can only plant one potato at a time; and you can only harvest one potato at a time. If you try to make many changes in your life, due to a job loss, you will become stressed. Prioritize any changes you decide to make, and avoid big ones. While you are in the throes of a job search, making any big change may not be handled with calm wisdom.
- Reward Yourself
When you finish your scheduled job search activity each day, do reward yourself. It might mean reading for pleasure; it might mean getting together with a friend, playing golf, etc. Take pleasure in what you have accomplished.
- Practice Acceptance
There are things you cannot change. You cannot change the fact that you are currently without a job. You can change your response to it. When you don’t accept that which you can’t change, you agonize over it, and it eats away at your peace. You cannot afford lack of peace at this time.
One of the best things you can do for your attitude is to be helpful to others less fortunate. Find a place where you can be of service to others and schedule regular volunteer time. It will improve your self-esteem and confidence and could even result in a networking contact or two.
- Look for Humor
Read funny stuff. Get together with friends who promote humor. Find time to play. When you do these things, endorphins are released and your positivity increases. Even through unemployment, you have to find balance.
There are many ways to meditate. If you have never practiced this activity, you need to begin to do so now. Get a book; watch videos online; join a group. Find your special meditative niche and go there every day. When you can get peaceful through meditation, both your mind and your body are renewed.
Don’t discount the power of visualization during your meditations. See yourself getting those interviews, performing very well in them, and starting your new perfect job.
A Final Note
Job searches are not fun. They can create agony, distress, and worry. If you want to reduce the stress of this period in your life, take these 13 suggestions seriously. When you have positivity within, which all of these things will foster, when you do get that interview call, you will have the self-assurance and the attitude to think of yourself as a winner.