- Dealing with Rejection -
keeping motivated through your job search
by fergus mellon
It is not easy to get a job and it can take a lot of time to get through the various rounds of interviews. You will also be unsuccessful a lot of the time. If you think there will be 5 serious candidates for each job you go for you will have an 80% chance of not getting it. Not as bad as the chances of you not winning the lottery, but certainly not a guarantee of immediate success!
Do not worry! You will get a job. You just need to stick to it and keep on trying. In this section I will focus on what activities you could do to keep going through this stressful part of your life
Stay social & Find a support group. If you are lucky enough to have a supportive family do not ignore them! They will likely be your biggest cheer leaders. In addition to relying on your family also make sure you keep in contact with your friends. While money may be tight try to grab a coffee, drinks or even set up time to meet at each other's houses to work through applications or mock interviews. Whatever activity you do, keeping engaged with other people is going to help you no end.
If you are still in or near your college town take full use of the Career Office. Even if you did not find them useful while you were a student, give them a second chance and see what they can come up with. Based on my experience of the Career Office I have found that they are staffed by very helpful people who want the best for the graduates who have asked for their help. Make good use of these people!
If you are not in your college town still keep in contact with your Career Office. Ask if they have webinars or if they will help you practise your interview responses over the phone and also get another review of your resume and cover letter while you are at it! Whatever it is, they will help!
Another thing you could do is try the various job hunting groups that are typically run out of libraries or community centers. While this may feel a little old school and you may fear that you are mixing with the losers (you are not, BTW!), don't worry about it! The important thing is to keep moving forward and get out of the house. The more you keep pushing forward, the more likely you are to succeed and not just because you are continuing to apply for jobs (i.e. playing a simple numbers game). In addition to actively applying you will be increasing your experience of job interviews and so will become a more polished candidate.
Exercise. Even if you have fallen out of the practice of regular exercise, think about taking it up again while you are on your job search. While it is good practice to exercise (see what the Mayo Clinic has to say about it!) as you will become healthy (or maintain your good shape if you were smart enough to continue to exercise throughout college). There is also evidence that exercise helps your mood and so will not just help you shine at your interview but also will help you keep positive during the grueling Early Stage Professional job application process.
Ensuring that you exercise does not mean that you have to join an expensive gym. Instead you could run for 30 minutes three times a week or head to yoga or some other class a couple of times a week. Joining a sports team is also a cost effective way of staying active with the added benefit that you meet people in your local area.
It is unlikely that you will turn into some gym honed God (but if you do then lucky you), focus instead on the goal of staying fit. If you are really out of shape and find exercise difficult then at the minimum have a walk of 35 minutes a day so that you get out of the house and keep moving!
You may also want to try what was supposed to be Prince William's college exercise regimen which was based on that established by the Canadian Air Force during World War II: This is one very simple way of staying in decent shape and takes just 10-15 minutes a day!
Volunteer. This is separate from interning (see section "Should I Take an Unpaid Internship"), but can be good for your resume as well as your motivation. Use the fact that you are not working 9-5 to do some good for the community around you.
Not just will this make you feel good by helping others, but will also give you a nice answer when an interviewer asks "So what have you done since you graduated?" It will show that you have some “get up and go” and are able to fill in the quiet period of not having a job with the added benefit of it giving something positive back to your community. Only word of caution is to be careful if you do any political campaigns: you don't want to argue about politics at your interview!
Course at your local college. While you may feel that you are "done" with education, have a think about courses that could help your mood and motivation. If you are not working you are also likely to get a discount for enrolling too. Have a think about a language you have always wanted to study or if you want to try your hand at software programming (or something else!). I would not worry too much about building your resume here, but would instead focus on finding a course that you will be able to engage in.
Temp Jobs, Bar Work. Unless you are really strapped for cash I would not recommend doing this at the outset of your job search as you will likely get distracted by this work. It can also be difficult to book time off for interview and could disrupt your search. By month 3 though, it may be appropriate to start thinking about part-time work so that you are getting some money to fund your other “keeping up morale” activities.
Become a mini-Entreprenuer & Join the Gig Economy: There are tons of opportunities to sell your time and skills now and many are ideally suited to professionals looking for a job! You are unlikely to found a Billion Dollar business from these activities, but hey you never know! When I say “opportunities to sell your time” you can basically go to sites such as Fiver, Craigslist and even Amazon's "Mechanical Turk". Typically the work is pretty simple, but that's ok. If you are a designer there may be opportunities to do some design work for a small business and if you are a finance major there may be opportunities to complete some analytical work. And you will get paid to boot.
You may also decide to take up being an Uber driver (it is now almost as hot for aspiring actors as waiting tables. See the article that The New York Times published on this!). Whatever it is, it almost doesn't matter as long as you are taking part in productive activities that ensure you keep your morale high. The benefit of these activities are that you earn a bit of pocket money to keep you going and could also get you out of the house too!
Be nice to your parents! While a prolonged job search is stressful and living back at home may not have been your grand plan during your final year of college try to be nice to your parents! They will be anxious about your future, although hopefully less anxious than you! That said, if you are lucky enough to have supportive parents, try to recognize this and be nice to them... It will make the time between beginning your search and completing it that much more relaxing!
And that's it. Know that your job search is priority one so keep at it, but also know it can be a long road so set up activities to help you stay sane and motivated.
Next section: The Job Interview or skip to Interview Questions
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