If you’re in active job search right now, I am so glad you’ve found me! The world has changed and looking for work in the digital age is tricky.
Do not fret. I am here to support your job search journey and wrote today’s article with you in mind, because it’s so important for you to stay focused when you’re looking for a job. As a job seeker, you need to maintain your confidence whilst going through the tough reality of rejections, very limited, if any, feedback and feeling stuck about what to do next.
So let’s start with a helpful acronym based on the PERMA model. This helps you consider the key things to focus on to keep mentally strong. I’ll then talk you through what each of these mean, and provide some easy steps to follow so you can tackle this season of your life.
P ositive emotions
If you focus on the negative, then this is what will consume you. And that’s not helpful when you’re in active job search (or in life generally!). Instead, it’s essential to focus on what is going right and what you are grateful for. It’s also helpful to visualise where you’d like to be heading and what you are hopeful about. The aim is to get those endorphins going by calling up your positive emotions.
Recall a recent life event that gave you joy. Spend time really thinking about it and remembering all of the details. What could you hear, who was there, what did everything look like? Close your eyes as you do this and allow yourself to smile and dwell on how you felt in this moment.
When you’re feeling the warm and fuzzier from this exercise, write down some positive mantras that you can say to yourself. These will be helpful to say over and over to yourself when you are preparing your resume for a job application or trying to remember to breathe before your next phone or video interview.
Here are some examples of positive mantras:
When you are in active job search you can become consumed by the job hunt. I understand that you’re keen to get a new role, but all work and no play is not good for you. You need to create structure in your day with rituals that will help you call up the positive emotions mentioned above.
Here’s some of the ways you can do this:
I also encourage you to participate in activities that you love. Make a list of the small rituals in your day that bring you joy and write them on a post-it note. Put the post-it note somewhere you can see often. Maybe you like to listen to classical music, or you enjoy a good chat with a friend, drinking tea, reading, listening to a podcast or baking. Make the list and do at least one of these each day.
Also consider what you do well and make sure you spend time doing this on a regular basis. This could be playing a certain sport, playing a musical instrument or applying your valued skills by helping those around you.
It’s easy to disconnect from others in this increasingly digital world where so many people are spending time on their devices. I encourage you to consider how you can be building better relationships with the people around you a well as exploring building some new relationships.
Now is a good time to do activities with others that will allow you to further connect.
Another important way to stay mentally strong is to have a purpose beyond your job search. Create a bigger vision for yourself, and your life. Understand what is really important to you and allow that to motivate you. Perhaps it’s your family, your friends or a personal passion. It may even be your fur baby!
I believe we should all have a passion project. These are the things we do just because we enjoy them. For some people it’s photography or learning a new language. Consider something you’ve always wanted to learn and spend some time each day or week developing this skill.
Good habits such as exercise and healthy eating should not be overlooked when you explore what is important in your life right now. Staying active and eating well means ensuring physical activities like a daily walk, your meal planning and weekly food shop are a priority in your regular schedule. Doing this requires your attention and is a great way to add more meaning to your life by putting yourself and your own health first.
If you’re keen to work on your professional skills, LinkedIn Learning can be accessed for free via most local library memberships and offers a wide range of professional development. You can also investigate the Google Digital Garage for digital skills. Hubspot is also a great resource for a variety of sales and marketing skills. Do some googling and see what you can find.
Make a list of what you have achieved in the past, reflect on these accomplishments and take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Think about what you have achieved from a professional and personal perspective. If you find it hard to do this, ask the people around you to help. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they consider some of your accomplishments to be.
Keep this list handy and when you are feeling a little deflated, use this list as a reminder of your past achievements to keep your momentum going. This exercise will also help remind you that you’ve achieved much in the past and you will achieve more in the future.
Being in active job search is a chapter of your life that requires you to be mentally strong. While it’s essential to have a support crew around you, including a loving partner and a trusted mentor or career and job search coach like me, it’s also just as important for you to be there for yourself.
It is my hope that these suggestions for how to stay mentally strong will provide you with a greater sense of purpose as you continue on your adventure to find your next job. Remember that all of your story is yet to unfold. You are capable of great things and you will be an invaluable team member at your next job. If you believe this, you will give hiring managers and recruiters the confidence to believe in you too!
If you are in active job search or have a family member, friend or colleague who needs some extra support in their job search, I can help. I partner with men and women to provide clarity and guidance on achieving a more satisfying career. I will support you until you get a job and can review your CV, prepare you for interviewing and help you navigate the open & hidden market to find your ideal job.