We know. The idea of job searching doesn’t really do it for you. It can be tedious, agonizing, and sometimes really discouraging. After spending hours upon hours perfecting resumes, customizing cover letters, and receiving “Thanks, but no thanks” emails, you probably feel like throwing in the towel.
Look, I’ve been there. Suddenly the job I was so desperate to leave seemed appealing after a few weeks of hearing nada. Well, that’s not true, the thought of coming home after a long day of work and doing nothing felt appealing. So, even though I was tempted to give up my dream of finding a career I loved, I kept at it.
Remember: There’s a reason why you started searching for a job—probably multiple reasons—and if you stop now, those reasons will all still be there. Every. Single. Day.
So, rather than settling for what you have now—push yourself a little bit further. I know your next amazing gig is just around the corner. And if you don’t believe me that it’ll all be worth it, read a few reminders below.
1. You Can’t Compare Yourself to Anyone Else
It’s really easy to feel discouraged when you see someone around you land an awesome new gig while your search has been, well, fruitless. But the reality is, you don’t know what his job search was like. All you’re seeing is the end result—he got a new job and he took it.
You probably have no clue how much time he spent looking, who he knew at the company, how long he spent crafting cover letters, or how many informational interview coffee dates he endured.
But even if you do know all of the above, the fact remains that, just as you and he are different people, your job searches will be different, too. So, rather than beat yourself up when you think people are moving faster than you—focus on your own career goals. And if you don’t have those literally written out, do that now. Seeing them clearly will help you remember that you’re on a personal mission here—and it can’t be completed by accepting any old position.
2. You Can’t Lose Confidence in Your Abilities
When your efforts continue to be met with silence and rejections, it’s easy to start doubting yourself and your skills. But once you start believing you’re not qualified for the positions you’re going after, the search will only get harder.
Give yourself credit for the experience you do have, the things you know, all your past accomplishments, and your shining strengths. And if you’re struggling to remember these as the “no” emails pile up, make a list. Not only do you know so much more than you realize, but you’ve also accomplished so much since you walked out of college however many years ago.
It’s easy to get lost in the daily grind and forget just how much you’re able to do now that would seem inconceivable back then. From completing complicated reports to using industry tools to knowing the difference between CC and BCC, you’ve come a long way.
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3. You Can’t Take Your Eyes Off the Goal
I bet you’ve heard the saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” more than enough times. And yes, Wayne Gretzky may have been talking about hockey when he said this, but little did he know he was giving career advice, too.
Yes, there are times a recruiter or professional contact will reach out to someone with a job opportunity and just place it on the person’s (lucky, lucky) lap. That does happen. But you certainly can’t count on it.
If you quit applying for jobs, you’re not going to get one. And then you’ll be right back where you started when you decided you wanted to look for a new job in the first place. So keep that personal mission in mind every time you think about quitting this process. You’ve got this!
4. You Can’t Let This Process Consume You
We hear a lot about work-life balance these days—and while this means different things for everyone, the same principles apply to your search, too. Looking for a new gig is work in itself, and you shouldn’t let it take up all of your free time.
Sure, you may have to spend some of your weekend hours submitting applications, but if you spend every waking minute working at this, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Remember that your job doesn’t need to be your life—so neither does your job search.
Next time you find yourself growing frustrated or antsy, take a deep breath, and move onto a new activity. Treat yourself to a good meal, a good movie, or even a good splurge. It’s unlikely that the job of your dreams will be posted and snatched up within the 24 hours you took a break. Trust me—your email will all still be there when you’re ready to get going again.
So, if you are really ready to go somewhere new, keep at it. When you land the next job, you’ll be glad you didn’t quit. And while these four reminders won’t make the hunt for a job fun, per se, they will hopefully make it a little less painful.
Photo of sunset runner courtesy of Shutterstock.
Abby works in health education and prevention at a university in Washington, DC. When she’s not trying to make the world a healthier place, you can find her taking selfies with her cat (Mildred Meow Meow), hunting down the city's best grilled cheese, or zipping through the city on her bike, named Libby. Say hi on Twitter.More from this Author