Article reposted with permission from author Eric Lemieux.
During a job hunt, patience is by far one of the biggest challenges one encounters. They say patience is a virtue. But in the middle of a job search, the reality is it’s tough. You have to accept that there is so much you can’t control, especially when things don’t go your way. It’s understanding that the process is actually a marathon, not a sprint; and the days of just sending in your resume to get an interview are over.
No one knows what to expect once the search begins. It could take several weeks, or even months, of searching, networking, applying, and interviewing until you get that offer you’ve been hoping for.
So how do you keep it together when you are still waiting to land that dream job and your patience is running thin? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Everything is a Process
Waiting for a response after applying for a job is one of the most stressful parts of a job search. The reality is there’s a lot of competition out there, and it takes time for any organization to get through each application.
The rules of timing are not the same for employers and candidates, and the employer most likely doesn’t have that same sense of urgency as you. They can take as long as they need to call you to schedule an interview, to follow up afterwards, or to make you an offer. This process can likely take longer than both of you think it will for countless reasons. And filling the position you are hoping for isn’t their only job. They have their everyday work; travel; unexpected issues. So when an employer says they’ll make a decision by the end of the week, unfortunately, that process could turn out a lot longer than anticipated.
It can be hard to stay motivated when things drag out longer than expected. There are times during the search process when you can easily lose your way, get discouraged and want to give up. But the key to any job search is to commit to an end goal and do the work in order to reap the rewards, despite the potential timing setbacks.
Focus on What You Can Control
As with everything in life, you can’t guarantee specific outcomes. Your resume may or may not land on the right desk, or the call you’ve been waiting for might not come in this week. Focus your energy on the things you can control such as keeping your professional brand updated; applying to job posts in a timely manner; networking. Making these moves will turn out to be helpful in the long run.
Recognize the Smallest of Results
A job offer is the end goal, but it’s helpful to break down the little wins that sometimes seem insignificant that actually set the stage for future opportunity. Finding the right opportunity doesn’t happen overnight, so try not to dwell on the negatives so much and instead focus on the small victories. Reworking your resume, writing a LinkedIn article, or meeting a new contact at a company you see yourself working for are all reasons to celebrate; because your big wins are ultimately made out of a series of small wins.
Turn Off Your Phone
It wasn’t so long ago that a phone was just a phone. Besides all of the amazing things your phone can do, it could serve as your best friend during a job search. Getting alerts for new job postings, promptly returning an email or phone call, and even networking across social platforms. However, the ease and simplicity of having a smart phone in your pocket with constant access to email and text could at times work against you. You may find yourself constantly looking at your phone to see if a new opportunity arose or if a potential employer got back to you. If this starts happening to you, consider scheduling time away; turn your device off; or utilize the downtime features phones now provide.
Ask For Help
Job hunting has changed dramatically over the years, and a relentless job search can be very draining and somewhat disabling at times. The thing to remember is that you don’t have to go it alone. Keep a line of communication open with those closest to you. Talk with friends and former colleagues about your overall approach and solicit different viewpoints. Consider hiring a career coach to get guidance through the maze of unknowns that include getting organized, new job search strategies, beating the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), and upgrading your personal and professional brand. They’ll help you search smarter, not necessarily harder.
Relax & Recharge
Finding a new career path can weigh heavy on your mind. Excessive worrying not only builds up stress but can keep you from enjoying other aspects of your life. Don’t let your job search define you. Set aside time each day to take a break and do something you enjoy. When you do, you’ll jump back in with a clearer head and more positive attitude.
Know When to Move On
NBA legend Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
To be successful, you have to fail first. It wouldn’t be called a ‘job search’ if you landed every job that you went after. Dwelling on not getting a job or getting ghosted by a recruiter will not serve you in the long run. Don’t take it personally. Use each missed shot as a building block to learn from; to realize that it wasn’t meant to be and move on to the next opportunity. Your winning shot is out there. You just need a little patience.
Written by Eric Lemieux