It can feel impossible to force yourself to apply for jobs when you’re already depressed. Let’s face it; the job search is full of self-esteem roadblocks that can make anyone feel like a loser.
First, no, you aren’t a loser, and instead of getting down on yourself every time a rejection letter comes, I want you to retrain your brain to look at your situation differently.
It may seem much easier to fall into despair, thinking you may never get a job, but instead, consider the fact that you have a world of opportunities ahead of you. Your lack of a job…at this moment…is a fresh start.
If you’ve lost your job suddenly, you may feel as though you have completely lost your identity, especially if you loved your job.
It can feel even more personal when you’ve dedicated a lot of time to your past employer, but for whatever reason, you have been forced to start a new chapter in your life.
As difficult as changes can be, you have to light that fire in your belly that you had when you first went out and got the gig you previously had, and have faith that something better is coming your way — and you are ready to meet the new you.
Here’s a couple of tips to come back to when you feel hopeless and discouraged throughout your job search:
1. You’re Allowed to Take A QUICK Vacay
Do it. Take a breather. If you’ve just lost your job — take a second to breathe.
I don’t have the science behind this, but I’m permitting you to take a day, week, or more if you have the finances, away from your career and job search.
In fact, even if you’ve been searching for a new job every day and you are feeling hopeless, take a breather right now.
As I’m writing this, there are currently 7.3 million jobs available in the US, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
I think it’s safe to say that the job openings will be there when you get back to your search.
Hope that puts it into perspective a bit — and if not, think about other options on top of that statistic…like freelancing.
Go ahead, breathe, get to know yourself and your family again. Then come on back to the 7.3 million jobs out there.
2. Treat Your Job Search Like a Job
Ok, so this tip kinda stings, especially after the first tip, but work through it with me so you can see that things get easier.
If you’ve lost your job suddenly, you will probably feel like you are in a state of shock. It can be easy to attach your identity to your job, and if that suddenly disappears, depression and anxiety usually appear.
And guess what?
It’s normal to feel the way you are feeling. That’s why you are allowed to take a breather between job loss and job search.
Even though you may feel paralyzed and overwhelmed with new decisions and responsibilities, after your break, it’s time to take the bull by the horns.
No excuses — because bills.
Shhh, don’t freak out, just start taking action. Action leads to confidence because no matter how many no’s you get, there will eventually be a yes.
And once you get a yes, you will gain confidence. From there, things snowball.
3. Don’t Dwell On The Past
I’ve been through this, and I’m here to tell you, I see you. I know it hurts and feels exceptionally overwhelming.
But guess what?
I was let go one day, and the very next day I was applying for new jobs.
If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have gotten the job I had next. Now, I will admit, I was a little panicky, so yes, I hit the job search hard. Looking back, I could have given myself a break.
But, the moral to the story here is, as soon as you are ready, get moving.
If you sit and ruminate (you need to know what this word is if you don’t, check here because if you have anxiety or depression you probably do this a lot)….
Where was I, oh yes, if you ruminate constantly, you aren’t taking action and thus, you aren’t moving forward.
Fun fact for my fellow nature lovers and wordsmiths: Ruminate comes from the term ruminant. Cows are considered ruminants (and the name reflects how they digest their food).
What do cows do?
Chew their cud for-ev-er!
Don’t chew your cud for hours…swallow it and move on.
4. Stop Thinking of Your Next Job as a J.O.B.
You have a luxury in this season of your life. It’s that fresh start I was talking about.
Did you even like your last job? Lucky you, if you did, now you just have to find one fairly similar.
But, if you hated it, now’s your chance to make a break for it and do something different.
Maybe you want a break from the field you were working in…so go be a barista, bartender, dog walker, or anything else you might enjoy while you transition — because that’s what this is, a transition and a transformation.
And while you are taking some time to think about your JOB, stop thinking of your next money-maker as a job, and call it what it is, “ Your Career.”
Take yourself seriously and think about how you can build on your current experience, and grow into your career — one you could love yourself for and be proud of.
5. Take A Break From the Search
If you’ve been job searching for a month or so, you may start to feel a tad crazy.
It can be mind-numbing to search job boards day in and day out and, unfortunately, you could be doing more harm than good if you don’t take a break and switch things up.
Repeatedly visiting the same websites looking for a new job can often become a habit that causes you to miss out on other opportunities due to tunnel vision.
Yes, you can check your favorite job boards, but after a while, all the jobs may start to look the same. That’s crazy-making and a little obsessive, to be honest.
So try doing these things too:
- Make a list of companies you’d like to work for and check their website or call them about openings
- Visit your local job center
- Go to trade shows and job fairs
- Check the local want ads — mmmhmmm, they still make those
- Check with friends, family, and even past coworkers for referrals (as they often say, it’s not always what you know but who you know)
So switch up your search and don’t put up any blinders because you will surely miss something. Plus, getting out of the house is darn good for you.
6. Make a Routine For Your Job Search
Creating a routine goes hand-in-hand with treating your job search like a job. This was one of the best pieces of advice I received from my own career coach.
Get up and show up…every day.
But take lunch breaks, make a plan, and then STOP working on your job search at the same time every day.
Then, spend time with family, binge on Hulu, or anything else you want to do. You are still a human being, and your mind needs other things to think about.
Don’t feel guilty about these enjoyable moments, DON’T — you do deserve to enjoy your life, even while looking for a job.
Worrying about your job search when you aren’t searching is not productive. You aren’t accomplishing anything by worrying.
So go play.
7. Shower and Get Dressed
You may be thinking, who wouldn’t? But I’m telling you — I didn’t, and it didn’t help my self-esteem.
Good hygiene is critical to your mental health. If you don’t care for your body (your vehicle), it will malfunction.
Try it…instead of staying in your pj’s get up, shower like you normally would, get dressed, and see how refreshed and ready you feel.
This is especially important if you have a phone interview.
Even if you know the person on the other end can’t see (or smell) you, you will feel more professional and friendly if you are clean and have brushed your teeth and hair.
Don’t do as I did, do as I say on this one…trust me.
8. Don’t Panic. This Isn’t Forever.
There will be moments when your worry will get the best of you.
If you experience panic, try meditating, or focusing on your breath and your five senses.
Doing this will bring you back to the present moment.
Remember this: you are safe. In the moment of panic, no matter what triggered it concerning your job search, remember that you are alive and breathing.
Most importantly, this is entirely temporary. You are doing everything you can to change your circumstances, so cut yourself some slack and just know that this will not last forever.
9. Remember, You Aren’t Alone
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person changes their job 12 times in their lifetime. This has doubled in recent years! So, just know, you are normal, you are ok, will be ok, and you aren’t the only one going through this — and you won’t be the last.
Never, ever, think you are on your own during this transition. There’s always someone to reach out to, and in many cases, someone else has already been down your path. I know I have.