Job Search Blues

Episode 233 - Dealing with the Job Search Blues: Strategies to Uplift Your Mood
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As a career coach and host of ‘The Job Hunting Podcast,’ I’ve encountered many professionals who have experienced the rollercoaster of emotions accompanying job searching. In this episode, I discuss the ‘job search blues,’ a state familiar to many: frustration, anxiety, and demotivation that happens when you’re looking for a new job. I share my personal experience, insights and strategies from my career coaching practice, hoping to offer hope and guidance for those navigating this challenging path.

Embracing the Emotional Landscape

Professionals often overlook the emotional aspect of job hunting and the toll it can have on their mental health. Feelings of rejection and self-doubt are common and can be particularly pronounced for professionals in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. I resonate with and understand this demographic deeply. Addressing these emotions head-on and acknowledging them is the first crucial step towards overcoming the challenges professionals face when job searching.

Strategic Planning: The Heart of Successful Job Searching

I always emphasize to my clients the importance of treating a job search like a well-structured project. This means setting clear goals and career plans before crafting tailored resumes and cover letters. It also means constantly acquiring new skills and reading about your sector, industry, and profession to stay relevant in the job market. Organizing the job search in this way keeps you on track and instils a sense of progress and control.

Networking: A Game Changer

Networking is one of the most transformative strategies in job hunting. The power of engaging in meaningful conversations and building connections cannot be overstated. This strategy has opened doors for me and many professionals I have coached, revealing opportunities that often need to be publicly advertised. It also helps to overcome the loneliness that some of us feel when looking for work and not engaging with other professionals.

Self-Care: A Non-Negotiable Element

I have always been a staunch advocate of balancing job hunting and self-care. The job search process is mentally and emotionally demanding, and neglecting one’s well-being can be counterproductive. Activities like exercising, hobbies, and spending time with family are not just leisure activities; they are crucial for maintaining mental health during this intense period.

The Impact of Professional Guidance

Drawing from my own experiences and those of my clients, I can attest to the significant impact a career coach can have on a job seeker’s journey. A career coach does more than offer advice; they provide a space for reflection, motivation, and accountability, which is invaluable in navigating through the complexities of the job market.

Navigating the job market is no small feat. It requires resilience, strategy, and a willingness to embrace successes and setbacks. Remember, each application sent, each network expanded, and each interview attended is a step forward in your goal. As I always say on this podcast, “Each step you take in the job search process is not just about finding a job; it’s about finding fulfilment and aligning your career with your personal aspirations.”

Whether you are in the early stages of your job search or have been looking for a new job for some time, I hope you keep in touch, keep listening to the podcast, and access our resources and services to help you achieve your goals.

Renata Bernarde

About the Host, Renata Bernarde

Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.

 

If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.

 

In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients

What are the "job search blues" and how can I identify if I'm experiencing them?

The “job search blues” refer to the range of negative emotions that can arise during a job hunt, such as frustration, demotivation, anxiety, and a sense of isolation. You might feel like you’ve hit a wall, with no responses to your applications or repeated rejections, leading to self-doubt and a lack of motivation.

How can I stay motivated during a long job search process?

Staying motivated involves setting realistic goals, celebrating small victories, and maintaining a positive mindset. Focus on incremental progress, like improving your resume or expanding your network. Remember that job hunting is a marathon, not a sprint, and persistence is key.

What are some effective strategies for overcoming the emotional highs and lows of job hunting?

Effective strategies include acknowledging your feelings, setting realistic goals, creating a structured job search plan, taking breaks, practicing self-care, and seeking support from peers, mentors, or a career coach.

How important is it to seek support from others during my job search, and how can I do this effectively?

Seeking support is crucial for maintaining motivation and gaining new perspectives. Talk to peers, mentors, or career coaches about your aspirations and challenges. Join networking groups, attend industry events, and leverage your personal and professional networks to gather insights and encouragement.

What are the benefits of creating a structured job search plan, and how can I implement one?

A structured job search plan helps manage time effectively, reduces overwhelm, and maintains a work-life balance. Allocate specific times for different activities, such as researching companies, applying for jobs, and preparing for interviews. Break tasks into manageable steps and stick to a schedule.

How can I balance my job search with other aspects of my life to avoid burnout?

Establish clear boundaries between job search time and personal time. Schedule breaks, engage in hobbies, exercise, and spend time with family and friends. Treat your job search like a job with set hours and avoid overextending yourself.

What are some common reasons for not moving forward in a job application, and how can I address them?

Common reasons include not tailoring your resume to the job, lack of relevant experience, or not highlighting your unique skills. Address these by customizing your application materials for each job, showcasing relevant achievements, and clearly articulating your value proposition.

How can I improve my job application materials to increase my chances of getting noticed by employers?

Tailor your resume and cover letter to each job, highlighting relevant skills and experiences. Use keywords from the job description, focus on quantifiable achievements, and ensure your documents are well-organized and error-free.

What role does networking play in the job search process, and how can I leverage it effectively?

Networking is vital for uncovering hidden job opportunities and gaining insights into industries and companies. Attend industry events, join professional associations, engage with contacts on LinkedIn, and inform your network about your job search. Be proactive in seeking informational interviews and advice.

What are some practical self-care tips to maintain a positive mindset and well-being during my job search?

Practice regular exercise, get enough sleep, and engage in activities you enjoy. Take breaks from job searching to avoid burnout, and focus on small, achievable goals to maintain a sense of accomplishment. Surround yourself with supportive people and seek professional help if needed.

Timestamps to Guide Your Listening

  • 01:27 Navigating the Job Search Blues

  • 07:14 Understanding the Job Search Blues

  • 11:05 The Ups and Downs of Job Searching

  • 14:17 Leveraging Community Support and Feedback

  • 16:27 Strategies to Combat Job Search Blues

  • 38:28 Seeking Support: A Key to Overcoming Challenges

  • 43:58 Wrapping Up: Recap and Next Steps

And I’m like, how come you don’t know how you sound? It’s because you’ve never spoken to anyone about your career aspirations, about what you want to achieve. We need to stop being so cocooned about our career ambitions because then we have no intelligence to negotiate salary, to know our worth, to compare ourselves in the market, and know what our competitive advantages are, what the uniqueness of our experience is for a specific employer.

I want you to start seeking out support from others. Hello, everybody. It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon in Melbourne, and I decided to record this episode for you. I am feeling like it’s the right time for me to be talking about these issues today and hopefully, it will come to you as help, support, like every episode.

That’s what I want anyway. But if you clicked on this episode in particular and you’re feeling the job search blues, then this is for you. Like I said, I am recording this on a Sunday afternoon after watching the Formula One Grand Prix. The sun is shining through, and I have my whiteboard here to protect me.

So if you’re watching this on YouTube, you may sometimes get some glare in the videos, and apologies for that. But if you’re just listening to this as you walk your dog, cook, or you know, drive back home, I sometimes wonder what people do when they’re listening to me. It’s lovely to be here with you.

I’m feeling very proud of Melbourne today because the Grand Prix is such a beautiful event. And it’s so beautiful to see it on TV and see how beautiful Melbourne is. I’ve been here for over 20 years now. I love it. If you’re watching, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. It’s very interesting to see so many corporate brands promoting; it has always been the case.

So many logos everywhere—on helmets, caps, shirts, cars, and all around the circuit. So it’s such an interesting sport to watch, especially if you have worked in the corporate sector; you will recognize all the brands everywhere. So that’s kind of how I’m feeling today and what I’ve done.

Talking about job hunting and job hunting blues is very dear to my heart, something that I want to do more often, and I want you to feel like this is a safe space for us to give ourselves permission to feel human and talk about these issues. And also because it’s just you and me. So, you know, if you’re taking baby steps in terms of sharing anxiety or how you’re feeling, then I’m here.

I feel you. And even though I may not have heard from you in particular, please know that I often ask people to provide me with feedback. I do a lot of surveying. If you follow me, if you have been on my newsletter, you probably see a lot of that happening. And collating all the data from recent surveys I’ve done earlier this year is what prompted me to record this episode today.

Because job hunting can really be a rollercoaster ride for all of us; it has highs and it has lows. It’s a process filled with uncertainty and often with rejection. And rejection hits really hard, especially when we have our dreams and hopes in specific job opportunities. I have personally been in the situation that I’m about to describe to you, and I wonder if you’ve clicked today to listen to me because you’ve been there as well, or you’re there right now.

Do you know this feeling that you have when you’ve just crafted your resume, your cover letter, your job application is complete, you send it out, you think you did a great job? And crickets. Days go by, you press refresh on your email time and time again, and nothing. Or worse still, you do that great job of putting together your resume and your cover letter, you know, spending maybe a weekend doing it or late night, and hours later, you get a rejection email.

I remember having that horrible feeling that lurks after this experience, where you second-guess yourself. ‘Did I not get the brief right? Why didn’t they like me? What was wrong with my application?’ You don’t understand why, and it makes it harder to apply for the next job. And I get it, because I’ve been there, and I now work with clients who have gone through that, and that’s why they’ve reached out to me. So, I know that feeling very well—of checking your emails and not wanting to see the rejection email again. It feels like a little stab in the heart, and it hurts. You start to think about applying for lesser jobs, jobs you don’t really want, jobs on a lower pay scale, and still, you don’t get the interview, or you don’t get the job. So, what is wrong?

Remember, feeling down during these times doesn’t mean you’re failing. It means you’re human. You can turn this around, and statistically speaking, chances are you will turn this around. I’m not just saying this because I’m a nice person and I want you to feel good about yourself. I’m saying this because we have data on this that shows that chances are, you will get a job. This episode is dedicated to job search blues. So let’s address this step by step. We will explore strategies to uplift your mood, regain your confidence, and approach your job search with renewed energy. Whether you’re listening to this podcast on your morning walk, commute, or winding down, let me know.

If you’re on my newsletter subscriber list, just let me know what you do when you’re listening to me. I don’t think I’ve ever asked this question in surveys. I would really want to know. But as you listen to me, I really do invite you to open up your mind to these new perspectives, these new ideas. Maybe they’re not new, maybe they’re just sort of forgotten, and some practical tips that could be the game changer in your job search journey. Okay. So let’s dive right in.

Okay, so the first topic, I’ve done my preparation for this. I have my notes here in front of me. If you’re watching this on YouTube, you may know that I’m trying to follow my notes and make sure that I don’t waffle for too long. But the first thing that I want to do is define the job search blues.

What is it? Let’s start by understanding what it means to have those blues. To me, this term encapsulates a range of emotions. You might be frustrated, demotivated, anxious, and possibly feeling a sense of isolation. That’s how I used to feel, and those are the words that I get when I do qualitative research from listeners and prospective clients.

It’s that feeling of, ‘I’ve hit a wall. No matter how many applications I send, I don’t get the response that I want.’ These emotions then flare up, and they can stem from various aspects of the job hunt: the silence after an interview, the challenge of tailoring your resume—I don’t know how many times—or the pressure of needing to find a job sooner, sooner, sooner, as time goes by. You know, you get more anxious.

So, in previous episodes, of course, we’ve discussed these topics and how to deal with the rejection and how to stay motivated. But today, we’re going to acknowledge the job search blues. It is a thing. We know. We’ve experienced it, and you’ve clicked here for a reason. So let’s recognize these feelings as the first step to addressing them.

And it’s crucial to acknowledge that job hunting is not just a professional task that you need to do; it’s also a personal journey, right? It’s very personal to you. It’s all about trying to secure your next step, your salary, your career ambitions, and often it sort of is the time where we do the deepest of reflections about our careers, our personal aspirations, our goals, and fears as well.

So then these feelings arise, and sometimes, you know, we are super excited and optimistic, and sometimes we’re not. The job market can be unpredictable and very competitive. We’re going to talk more about that. Making the process stressful, it takes time and knowledge. Add to that the social pressures we feel in terms of securing a job and the personal expectations we set for ourselves.

It’s no wonder that job hunting can take a toll on our mental health. So, the first step is acknowledging that we will probably experience the job search blues.

And the second thing that I want to acknowledge is that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

Many of our listeners have shared this experience with me time and time again. I have hundreds, I mean, like thousands, really, of points of data, mostly captured from people who come to my free job search masterclasses that I do every year. People who are signing up to work with me right at the beginning, and they share these similar experiences.

Even the most successful professionals have faced their fair share of job search blues. So, let’s talk about how we can navigate these emotions and turn them into something positive. The second topic that I wanted to talk to you about today is that we need to remember that job searching has its ups and downs and it is part and parcel of having a corporate career.

We see illustrations about the corporate career not being linear, not just going from one great job to another great job. We see those squiggly lines that show, look, you know, sometimes it’s going to go down, sometimes it’s going to go up. But then it happens to us, and we think it’s the end of the world.

Alright. So it is what it is. If you want to finish university or start your professional life in your early 20s and you’re going to be working for four decades, most likely, it’s not all going to be rainbows and flowers and roses. From time to time, things are going to get difficult, challenging, and ugly.

So I hope that over the years on this podcast, we’ve heard incredible tales of resilience and determination from our guests, not just from me. The guests are individuals just like you, navigating twists and turns in their careers, just like you. 99 percent of them, if they’re not in corporate right now, they have been, so they may have transitioned into a portfolio career, or now they’re recruiters, board members, coaches like me, or experts, but they come from that place with a lot of baggage, experience, wisdom, and learnings along the way.

So we have interviewed so many amazing people who shared with us, with me and with you, their career journeys, and they were less than perfect. So I hope you can tell that I’ve chosen them for a reason, and I hope that they inspire you. The stories we have shared in the previous episodes of the Job Hunting Podcast have never been just about success.

They were about the journey, the ups and downs, the learnings, and the personal growth. Hearing how others have overcome similar challenges, I find it incredibly motivating. It reminds us that the path to success is not a straight line and that perseverance is key. You know, that continuous learning is really important.

If you haven’t had the chance, if you just bumped into this podcast, you just found it, and I know that more of you are finding us because I get the stats and we’re growing like crazy, especially on Spotify. Hello, Spotify. Wherever you found us, on whichever platform you are, thank you. We have more episodes.

This is episode 232, I believe. Go check out, you know, the ones that I’m talking about with guests. Go through our catalog. Click on them and let me know what you think. You know, I’d love to hear from you. Sign up for our newsletter, send me a message, and let me know what you think. I want to highlight the importance of this community to me—it’s amazing. When I hear feedback, and I get feedback, it just makes me so happy.

You have no idea what it means to me to read a new review on Apple Podcasts, or receive a message saying, ‘You know, I’m listening to your podcast. It’s really inspiring, and it helped me get a job.’ It really makes a difference and it makes these episodes better. And it’s informed by the feedback that I get, good or bad, by the way.

This podcast has become a platform and a support mechanism for a lot of people. And I hear you. So thank you for letting me know. Many of you have reached out with your stories via messages, emails, and words of encouragement for other job seekers, and to me personally. So thank you. I really appreciate it. If you’re going through the job search blues, and you just found this, remember that the podcast is here for you. Follow us, like, share with other people that will benefit from it.

That’s how this podcast has grown really—it’s through word of mouth. And remember, it’s okay to have off days. It’s okay to ask for help, invest in yourself, take time to listen to the podcast, listen to others, open up with others, get help from mentors and coaches. And when you do land your job, I encourage you to come back and share your story with me.

Those stories are really beneficial for me as well. What was the turning point for you? I do get a lot of messages like that. I haven’t done a good job of updating the website to include those reviews, but you may have noticed that we have slowly been updating the look and feel of our ‘The Job Hunting Podcast’ website, and how it looks on your podcast platform.

And we are going to start adding those feedbacks very soon on our website. So thank you. Now, let’s talk about a common reason why you might not move forward in your application, which may be causing the job search blues. I have found, as a coach—I offer career services, career courses, work with groups, individuals, and provide on-demand courses—you can go to my website and purchase a course. It’s yours, right? You can access it. I designed them because I have all that information and experience on what I know works.

What I have found, working with people and getting feedback, is that most of the time people just forget that this is a competition and you only see yourself in the game. The reality is there are lots of great professionals looking for work. I’m not saying this to diminish your experience. I want you to respect the process and understand, from a balcony view, the perspectives of other players: the employer, the recruiter, the hiring manager, the HR partner, the talent acquisition professional, all the different touch points that you will have throughout the recruitment and selection process, and why it takes so long.

As an example, let’s say you have a job that has a hundred applicants. Seventy of those hundred are not going to provide well-written applications. They’re probably not a good fit for the job. You are not in it. If you are a loyal podcast listener of ‘The Job Hunting Podcast,’ I am very certain that you are in the top 30.

Okay? But that is still 30 people competing for one job. I want my private clients, my group coaching clients, or those who sign up for my online courses, to be in the top five. And I want them to learn quickly how to get there, right? The last thing we do then is to understand how to be the best of the five. That can take a bit of tweaking, kind of sophisticated fine-tuning, you know. But if a client is converting to the top five, I know we can work on it. It’s a matter of time, hopefully not too long, before they get an offer, or they get more than one offer because as you get better at job hunting, you improve so much that you start receiving multiple offers.

I have a client, actually two clients, who started working with me at the same time, exactly in the same month. You know, and it’s hard to work at the end of the year. Let me tell you, because, you know, of course, if you start in November and then December is low in Australia—they are both in Australia, by the way—January in Australia is super slow as well. So it picks up in February. Now we’re at the end of March and they both have great opportunities lined up. One of them has two, and that’s common. At first, I used to be afraid of saying that because it seemed like I was overselling myself, but the reason is, they now know what to do. So they do things better. So they get more opportunities, and that all makes sense.

You know, okay, so there is a lot of competition, right? But on the other hand, in the countries I work with—I don’t know where you are, this podcast is listened to in a lot of countries—I know that things could be different where you are. The unemployment rate could be much higher than it is here in Australia, but where my clients are located, and I’ll tell you where they are, I have clients in Southeast Asia, Japan, the Middle East, all over Australia, all over the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe. Okay, I’ve had clients in other places as well, like South America, for example. Even then, in most of these, a hundred percent of these places, the level of professionals that I work with, who are experts in their fields—corporate, public, private, non-profit sectors, middle management, and above—we know that unemployment is rather low for them, and that eventually, you will get a job like everyone else. And they keep doing great in job interviews, and they will get a job. Here in Australia, as we record this episode, the unemployment rate is below 4%. Now, that means not much at all to my clients, because the range of professionals looking for work is too big, and I’m working with a niche. And if you’re listening to me, you are within that niche. I’m pretty sure that people who listen to this podcast are in my niche. But even then, you know, at that top half of the pyramid of a corporate structure, chances are you will find a job soon enough.

And my job as a coach, as I see it, is to make that process less stressful, more fun—yes, fun. If you have to go through it, you might as well have fun with it, right?—and faster. That is definitely something that a coach can help you with. My goal is to bring that forward and make my clients also wiser in the long term and more actively self-aware of their careers from the point that they engage with me onwards. Sometimes they haven’t really done much prior to working with me. Some do, but most of the time, people just neglect their career ambitions, their career plans, and then they start working with me. We work together for a few months, and then from that point onwards, they are much more aware. I lead them to water so they can do the work themselves.

Sometimes, they book a consultation with me, maybe two years later, three years later, just to make sure they’re on track. So, of course, I’d say that 80 percent of the time, this is my diagnosis. It could be that it’s something else. Okay, we’re focused on your needs, and you forget that you wanting a job is just one piece of the cake.

Usually, that’s my diagnosis. Most people have that sort of navel-gazing situation when they go through job search, and that’s normal. We need to expand their views and think more holistically about what’s going on.

What can you do to mitigate the job search blues? Right? So, okay, now you know why you might be feeling a bit down, a bit low, why things don’t happen the way you want them to, but now you also know the chances are you are going to get a job, right? So, this section here is designed to educate you and give you some strategies so that you can overcome the job search blues.

I was inspired by a Harvard Business Review article, a very short one. It wasn’t about job search, but it mentioned three of the seven strategies that I’m going to discuss. So if you’re interested in reading that HBR article, I’ll have a link in the show notes for you. I was going to focus on the three that they mentioned, but then, of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about other things.

So here we go. The first thing is to be realistic. Be realistic about your goals and your expectations in your job search. It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of landing the perfect job immediately, but these expectations will lead to disappointment. Okay? So instead, focus on achievable goals, objectives, the next step ahead. Improve things one step at a time. Improve your resume. Then expand your professional network. Then learn a new skill relevant to your field. If you go through these goals one by one, they are more manageable. Break things down into bite-sized, small tasks that you can do within an hour or less. This is even more important if you’re working and job hunting at the same time. Right? So, manage those realistic expectations of what you can achieve. But even if you’re job hunting full time, you still need to manage expectations. I want you to have a sense of accomplishment along the way. So this is really important and it’s my first strategy for you.

The second thing is creating a structured job search plan. This can be really incredibly helpful, and people don’t do it. I’m going to break it down a little bit for you. The first thing that I want you to do in terms of structuring your job search is allocating specific time for different job search activities. So, researching companies that you like, applying for jobs, preparing for interviews, and so on. These are different things that are all part of a job search strategy. This structure prevents the process from being overwhelming and helps you maintain a work-life balance. Another strategy is to be careful about spending hours on job boards. It can be very draining. Making sure that you get out of the house for networking is also about job searching. In fact, I remember working with a client once, and I said, ‘You know, tell me about your hobby.’ He said, ‘Oh, I like sailing.’ I’m like, ‘Well, go sailing, enjoy it. And if you’re chatting with people there, then tell them about your career aspirations, your expectations, because you never really know.’ Not everything needs to be about going to corporate events and applying for jobs on the LinkedIn jobs platform. Okay? So, networking is important. Volunteering is important. All these activities break down the monotony that can lead to job search blues. Also, number three, and part of number two in terms of structuring your job search: job search when you’re most energized, right? You can see how that’s part of the idea of strategy and structure.

So, job searching includes creative work and also repetitive work. There’s this ‘business as usual’ aspect—check your emails, go through the list of jobs you applied for, see if there are new jobs to apply to, see if there are events to attend. Those are the sort of repetitive tasks. Then there are creative tasks, like updating your ‘About’ section on LinkedIn, doing research once you decide to apply for a company. Remember that these tasks require different levels of energy from you and use different parts of your brain, so spread them out during the day according to how you operate in terms of your body clock.

For example, if you feel more refreshed and high-energy in the morning, you may be more equipped to do creative work then. Personally, I wake up really high-energy, but I like to get the ‘business as usual’ part of my work out of the way first because otherwise, I can’t relax to do creative work. So, I end up doing creative work later in the day, even things like recording this podcast. I could have done it in the morning, it would have even made more sense logically, but I’m actually more relaxed and sort of warmed up by the end of the afternoon, which is why I always have the sun shining through and it spoils my lighting in my office. But, you know, go to YouTube, find me there. Give me a like if you can see me on YouTube.

The other thing too is figuring out what comes easily to you and what’s harder. If it’s easy for you to just go online and apply for a job, do that later. Do the hard thing first. Hard, early; easy, later. This also breaks down the pattern and avoids you feeling like you haven’t done things at the end of the day or at the end of the week because you procrastinated by only doing the easy things that come easily to you and not tackling those hard but important tasks. It might make you feel the job search blues at the end of the day or at the end of the week.

And then number four, establish boundaries between professional and personal time. This is super important, especially if you are job hunting full-time. You need to help you and your family understand and respect these boundaries and make them very clear. So, delineate your job search times and treat it as a job. If you are job hunting part-time—so you have a full-time job, for example, and job hunting is something you need to do as a project, as a side hustle—then again, you need to establish your hours and try your best to stick to them. Establishing those boundaries between different tasks and times, job searching versus family, job searching versus working, is so important. So many people are now working from home, and the boundaries are not very clear. I think this is really important for you because your brain again will switch in and out. I want you to get into flow either with your family, your actual job, or with the job search. If you keep flicking on and off, you’re never going to get into flow and tackle the deeper, more meaningful tasks you need to do.

One example I thought I could share with you is my clients who love job applications but neglect networking and attending events. They get really good at job applications, we work together, they become better at it, but then they never go out to network because that’s harder for them to organize and attend. And that doesn’t help the job search. Career advancement is very holistic, so things need to coexist like different parts of a puzzle, like a Rubik’s Cube almost. For things to work, especially in the long term, you really need to work on that. So, creating these guidelines for yourself and your family about when interruptions are allowed and when you’re job searching is really important. Explaining that if you are home, it doesn’t mean you are available. If you’re not employed, it doesn’t mean you’re always available because you need to dedicate time to this important project in your life. The same if it’s a side project. You need to let them know that yes, for the next few months, part of your weekend will be dedicated to looking for work. Establish a time, and when that time finishes, then you finish job searching and go do something else. I think it needs to work both ways.

Number five, take time off from your job search. I can think of a specific high-performance client who I always have to remind that the most important thing is to relax and take time off, not do too much, because otherwise, you burn out halfway through a selection process and don’t have that high energy for a job interview.

You know, the process is usually longer than people think. If you have renovated a house or built a house, you probably know what I mean. We’re not very good at forecasting how long things will take, and I’m not just talking about time, but also energy levels, right? You really need to be mentally sharp for those interactions that matter during a job search. So mental health and wellbeing are pivotal for job searching and that journey. It’s essential to incorporate self-care into your routine. That is why we have so many episodes on this podcast dedicated to wellbeing. There’s even a category that you can search, especially if you go to my website, the Job Hunting Podcast website; there is a wellbeing category because we think it’s important to talk about it.

This means that you are not just job searching full-on in front of a computer; you are also exercising, sleeping, pursuing a hobby, spending time with friends and family, reading books that are fiction, not just books about work. You’re watching great movies. Physical activities and being out in the physical world, right? Just being out in nature in particular are great ways to overcome job search blues and to relieve stress and improve your mood. So, remember to use time outside of job searching to rest and recover, instead of worrying. Sometimes I tell people, ‘You need to get away from your desk and do other things.’ Then they will sit in front of their phone and eventually find LinkedIn and go through the job boards again, doing that doom scrolling on your phone. Be careful because job searching on job boards is also addictive, much like TikTok and Instagram. So, switch off, especially if you receive bad news, like a rejection email, or if you have just been laid off. Remember that it is hard, and it takes a bit of time to recover your energies for the job search.

The job search is a complex project, and it requires you to remember to work with your energies and understand when it’s time to switch off from the job search and focus on getting better. Finding ways to switch gears and investing in an activity you enjoy after hours is going to really reduce stress in the job search. Of all the things I’m saying here, if you can do this, number five, then I am happy. Some people think when they start working with me and I say, ‘Okay, you signed up to work with me. That’s great. Now let’s organize your break.’ They’re like, ‘What? Are you taking a break?’ It’s important, right? Not just because I am a nice person and I want you to rest, but because I am quite selfish in this regard. I know that if you take a break, your brain will switch from survivor mode into a more restful, creative mode, and that’s what I need from you as a coach to optimize your job search.

Number six, another aspect of self-care is maintaining a positive mindset. I’m kind of going in that direction with my last comment here. I know this is easier said than done when you don’t have income or when you’ve been laid off. I get it, I’ve been there. But we need to focus on what you have achieved so far in your career and all the amazing things you have already done, and we need to focus on what’s yet to come. That hope, that faith, that confidence in yourself, celebrating all your victories, even the small ones as you go through the recruitment process. ‘Oh, okay, my job application was good enough for me to get a call. I know I can do this again.’ ‘Oh, now, not only did I get a call, but I also got an interview. Excellent.’ Imagine how many people did not get an interview. I want you to celebrate every single small victory along the way.

This is really important, people don’t understand the importance of overcoming these sorts of bottlenecks along the way. These moments of positivity that are part of your job search will have a cumulative effect on your overall outlook about the project. And next time you have to go through this again, because chances are you will, it’s not going to be the first time that you don’t have a job. Like I said, it’s like 40 years or more of working. So, we need to be realistic here, and I want you, next time, to be stronger, more confident, more astute. Okay? Yep, I know how to handle this. I’ve done this before. I’ll do this again.

So, that self-care, that positive mindset, is important. Number seven, and lastly, don’t hesitate to seek support. Many people don’t want to talk about the fact that they’re looking for work or say anything. I get this question all the time: ‘I don’t know what my salary range is.’ And I’m like, how come you don’t know how you sound? It’s because you never spoke to anyone about your career aspirations, about what you want to achieve. We need to stop being so cocooned about our career ambitions because then we have no intelligence to negotiate salary, to know our worth, to compare ourselves in the market, and know what our competitive advantages are, what the uniqueness of our experience is for a specific employer.

I want you to start seeking out support from others. I have made that mistake many times myself as well, but actually, I have done it less than most of my clients. I see people waiting too long to seek help. Whether it’s from your peers, mentors, or a career coach like myself, having someone to talk to can make a really big difference. We’ve heard that from various guests on this podcast. It’s not the first time you’re hearing me say that support system is important. It gives you intelligence, not just about your career but others’, just by listening to what people are doing, listening to what the trends are in the industry, in the sector, in the country, in the region. All of that will give you so many great ideas that will make your dreams and aspirations more realistic, more achievable. You will know what the steps are to go through with your plans. And it’s not just about getting advice; it’s about having someone who listens and understands what you’re going through as well.

Taking into account all of what I just said, I just wanted to remind you about the support that I can provide you. A lot of that is free of service, like this podcast, and many other episodes for you to listen to. So, go through them, go on my website, and there you will find the Optimized Job Search Schedule and free masterclass. This free resource has been there for ages, and I get feedback about it all the time.

Now, I know that the masterclass was recorded a few years ago. I will eventually update it, but frankly, it works. It still works, as long as I still get weekly messages from people telling me that they love the Optimized Job Search Schedule. I think it’s fine, you know. So, I want you to download that resource. It’s free. It is a very good tool for reducing your job search time and working towards your goal. It also has the masterclass so you can go into more detail. You download the workbook with the schedule, and then you can listen to the masterclass where I talk about the job search process and help you understand how to choose and implement the most effective schedule for you, depending on your situation.

Then the second thing is, if you want to spend a weekend or a few days, maybe a long weekend, three days, deep-diving into how to look for work, then there’s a program called Reset Your Career. It is such a wonderful tool.

People who do it come back to me and say, ‘Wow, eye-opener, right?’ And that is something you can do over a weekend, and it will really help you. It has an action plan, resources, resume templates; we go over a lot of templates. It’s all there. If you’re looking for a more in-depth program and you want a few months to work on your career plans, like, ‘I actually don’t even know what I want, Renata,’ then the Job Hunting Made Simple program is for you. Okay, it has seven modules. I designed it so that you can go through the modules over seven weeks. This program covers a range of topics such as personal branding, how to use LinkedIn effectively, understanding deep down how recruitment and selection work, and most importantly, really understanding how you work and doing that career planning and design for the long term, not just transactionally.

Then, if you’re seeking personal guidance, you can book a consultation with me, or you can work with me as a private coach for three months, six months, or a year. So, you can find information about all of the above, all of the things I’ve discussed, on my website. There’s a link to it in the show notes, like always.

And then there’s the newsletter, right? So, if you’re not signed up for my weekly newsletter, why not? You know, it comes out every Tuesday. It has the new episode of the podcast. I also write on topics that are current, that are on my mind, that I’m discussing with clients or recruiters that I think you should know. It’s once a week, it keeps you accountable. Just, ‘Oh, here it is. Renata’s email is here, and I haven’t done anything about it.’ Like, I want that little bit of pressure for you to help you achieve your goals.

As we wrap up this episode, let’s recap the most important things we’ve learned today: Setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself, structuring your job search, diversifying your activities, practicing self-care, maintaining a positive mindset, and seeking support. All of these things are crucial elements in navigating the emotional highs and lows of job searching, right? And avoiding the job search blues.

Remember, like I said, it’s about personal growth, professional advancement. Each step you take is building your resiliency, expanding your skills, making you wiser, more aware, and it is bringing you closer to your goals. Please believe that. I want you to choose one of the strategies we discussed today, just one, and implement it this week. Whether it’s a small goal, attending a networking event, taking an hour to yourself to relax and rejuvenate, doing your hobby, or talking to your friends and family about your career, take that one step. And I would love to hear about it. So, please come back to me, send me a private message on one of my social platforms, reply back to the newsletter if you have subscribed, and tell me what happened.

Don’t forget to follow this podcast. If you can give it a like if you’re on YouTube or if you can write a review about it, share it with your friends. I would really, really appreciate it because that’s how we grow this little podcast that is now being watched in so many different countries by so many professionals; it warms my heart.

I will have links below to the Harvard Business Review article that I mentioned before and to two or more other episodes that you can listen to that are related to job search blues that could help you overcome it and feel better about it. Happy job searching for you, keep in touch, and I will see you next time.

Bye for now.

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