We all know how difficult it can be to stay positive and motivated in the job-hunting process, never mind in a pandemic! I asked my lovely colleagues in the Careers Service what strategies they recommend.
Manage your time
- In the immortal words of Scar from the Lion King "Be Prepared". Do your research and make a plan. It's so easy to get overwhelmed and disheartened scrolling through different websites for hours on end. If you're writing an essay, you don't tend to jump straight in and start writing straight away. Instead, take a step back and plan your strategy. Use resources on MyFuture to figure out what search strategies you are going to use. Make a list of websites and organisations are you going to look at. Figure out what keywords and job titles are common for the job or areas that interest you so you can do effective targeted searches and set up job alerts. Plan time across your week in a way that works for you to work on your job search. Getting organised and breaking things down can make things feel more manageable. By getting your research done before you dive in, your job search will probably be more productive!
- To stay positive, I do my job hunting in short bursts (i.e. one hour a day). This helps because I avoid falling down that hole where I’m on the 30th page of Indeed and still found nothing. That’s where is gets really depressing so I avoid that at all costs these days. Setting up email job alerts also helps because it cuts out some of the work. An additional bonus is that you can see the trends and get new ideas of what keywords to use when you’re doing your search.
Remind yourself of your strengths
- If you have a disability or long term health condition, job hunting can sometimes feel doubly challenging. So my two top tips are: Remind yourself you have loads to offer an employer! The likelihood is that you will have developed some key strengths as a result of some of the challenges you have faced - it may be resilience, determination, organisational skills - all of these highly sought by employers. This will boost your confidence in your job search. My other tip would be do seek out diversity friendly employers . Here are some clues to follow through - check out if they are a "Disability Confident Employer", do they have a staff disability network, do they tell you about their diversified workforce? Are they working with some of the charities supporting students/graduates into work. All of these will help build a picture of whether this is the employer for you!
- My advice would be to remember employers want things to work out too! We are all going through this together and they are not necessarily going to disregard you if your plans went haywire this year - so have theirs. They may well be impressed by your resilience and adaptability.
Take care of yourself
- Make sure to take care of your wellbeing, make time for yourself whether that is going outside for a walk, whatever the weather, doing yoga or mindfulness. When I went through months of unemployment I always made sure I used at least one hour in the middle of the day to do something for me, which didn’t cost any money. When I took my mind off the application process, the more energised I was when I returned to it.
Remind yourself of your long-term plan
- I think a focus on the horizon is a good strategy by which I mean keep reminding yourself of your five year vision...what do you want to be doing, where will that be, what will a typical day be like, how will you be feeling about your career by then. I find vision boards aren't for everyone but a lovely photo or two which represents how my life will be in five years..on my phone or above my desk...are a great positive affirmation to focus on rather than the black hole that swallows up great job applications. You could also share your photos with friends and family so they can remind you of the long term plan....
Hang in there, take a break when needed and let us know if you need support.