How to Stay Positive When Your Job Search Stalls
Isn’t it unreal how many messages that aren’t the one you’re waiting for can hit your inbox in one day? When you’re eager for follow-up about the bevy of résumés you’ve circulated, it’s tortuous to hear that ping that promises news . . . only to find another meaningless message.
Waiting is hard. It’s humbling. Whether you’re in a job that no longer suits you or you’re currently unemployed, the project of job searching can make you feel lost. Your livelihood is one of your life’s anchors, and while job searching is rich with exciting prospects that can yield wonderful results, it’s also a difficult process over which you have limited control.
And job searches stall. No matter how diligent you are in your efforts, there are times when you have to fight the feelings that you’re invisible or unwanted. You’re neither. You’re a hot prospect doing the tough work of a seeker. So how does one power through those difficult days? Try these tactics next time you’re feeling stalled and panicky.
Double check your approach
Check and see if it’s within your control to get this stalled operation moving again. Review your materials to ensure that all your I’s and T’s are dotted and crossed.
Job searching is process. Commit yourself to being a student of the search, and refine your approach as you learn tips and tricks along the way. Then tag in a mentor or a friend whose professional opinion your trust. A second set of eyes and a bit of support can go a long way when you feel stuck.
Recognize that this is a mind game
This project probably feels urgent, high stakes, and time sensitive. Those are heavy feelings to lug around, so unpack that baggage by calling on your support system. Recognize that you’re in a transitional time and take good care of yourself, inside and out.
Recognize, too, that job searching is hard is because it’s a nonlinear project. It’s not like cleaning a house or mowing a lawn; not all efforts yield gleaming results. Sometimes your work just bolsters the probability of a favorable outcome: the more résumés you send out, the greater the likelihood you will hear back about a couple. Another way it doesn’t follow a standard sequence is that you can be so close to nabbing a great new gig, and then go back to square one all within a phone call. Your challenge is to emotionally weather that without losing your confidence.
So don’t put your heart in the fire. Recognize that all of this — the scores of résumés that you never hear back about, the stalls, the rejections — says more about the nature of job searching than it says about you. This is just how it is. It can be tough. It can feel personal. Most pros have their job-search scars, and now you do, too.
Surrender to the search’s pattern
While there’s a lot that you can do to take charge of your job search, like combing job listings and hitting up your network for leads, you can’t make your phone ring or your inbox pop. Interestingly, though, there seems to be a feast or famine rhythm that governs it. For some reason, it seems like you can go for weeks with no nibbles and then get two juicy leads in the same week. So try and stay poised and positive while you wait. Job searches have a funny way of coming around.
In the meantime, hold your head up high and be a proud seeker. The resilience and wherewithal you amass during this transitional period is a brilliant bedrock upon which to build your next professional adventure.
This article is reprinted by permission from