It makes sense that you’d want to give your full attention to your job search. You’ll be spending a lot a time at your new workplace, so you want to find the right fit.
Maybe you’re currently looking because of something going on in your life, and you need to pour all of your energy into finding something reliable ASAP. Maybe you’re pursuing a passion or changing fields, so finding a role that makes you as happy as you’ve always imagined is really important to you.
And all of these feelings are completely valid. But they can also drive you to become overly invested as you look for something new. Because the fact is: Your entire future doesn’t hang on whether or not you get one, specific position. Even if it feels that way right now, there are others.
So, before you burnout or start giving off a desperate vibe, see if you identify with the scenarios below. If so, take a step back. It’ll help you feel better, and it’ll help you make a better impression, too.
1. You Question Your Self Worth When You’re Not Selected for an Interview
You’ve found your next job. You have the perfect experience, and you’re so fired up about the role that you read the position description to your roommate, your significant other, and your mom. You spend hours rearranging the bullets on your resume and deciding exactly what story you want to open your cover letter with.
And then, a few weeks later, you get a note that you weren’t selected for an interview (or maybe, as the weeks drag on, you simply hear nothing at all). And you think, “If this place can’t see I’m right for the job that’s perfect for me; no one will ever want to hire me and I might as well give up.”
I understand being bummed out, but taking it all the way to “I’ll never get a job anywhere” is very doom and gloom. There are lots of reasons why you may not have been called in that have nothing to with your overall hireability. For example, maybe it was a rolling process and you didn’t even see the posting until after several other candidates had applied. Or maybe, the hiring manager ended up looking for someone with skills that weren’t listed in the official description.
Your next step—along with picking yourself up—is to make sure there’s nothing fixable that’s holding you back. Triple-check there aren’t any typos in your materials. Be honest with yourself if you’re ignoring stringent requirements and applying for the wrong roles (a.k.a., ones that require a decade more experience than you actually have). And once you’ve done those things, get back out there and keep applying.
2. You Find Excuses to Stalk an Unresponsive Interviewer
There are lots of valid reasons for wanting the hiring manager to stay in touch. You care. You may be entertaining other opportunities. You put a lot of time and effort into your applicant and you’d like to feel like it was worth it. And that’s totally, 100% legitimate.
However, it does not give you carte blanche to freak out when the hiring manager takes a week to get back to you. Emailing her every 24 hours, calling the office to check your emails were received, liking every social media update she makes to “remind her” you exist, and seeing if her Instagram is geotagged and you can casually bump into her at Starbucks are all signs you’ve gone too far.
One of the most helpful things you can do is remind yourself that you and the hiring manager have a different set of priorities. To you, hearing back about this job may be at the top of your list, because you want to plan everything else around whether or not you’ll be giving two weeks notice and starting at an office across town.
However, the person interviewing you has a lot going on. She’s not only juggling various candidates but she could be conducting several hiring processes. Or, in a small company, hiring for this role could be an added responsibility on top of everything else she typically does in a week.
Welp, if you’ve already been reaching out really aggressively, the first thing you need to do is stop—now. Don’t send an “I’m sorry I sent so many messages, it’s just that I really do care for these five reasons,” note. The best way to show that you’re capable of backing off is to do just that. Wait for an answer. (It may come, it may not—but I can assure you that sending several extra emails will not tip the balance in your favor.)
If your stalking has been more of the secretive sort (e.g., you’re obsessively checking the team page for updates and reading into every tweet your interviewer posts), I’d still suggest giving it a rest. Your time is valuable—so do something meaningful while you’re waiting to hear back.
There will be times during your job search when it’ll be hard not get emotional. But to be your most impressive self—and for the sake of your sanity—it’s worth preparing yourself for the ups and downs and trying to keep a level head. Save your energy for when this whole process is said and done and you can celebrate landing that great role.