top of page
  • Writer's pictureSteph

Reinvigorating your job search - the tools you need

Updated: Jun 7

Photo of surfer.

Making a job search easier on yourself

As an athlete, there are coaches, training drills, and a structured plan to prepare to win. Many sports involve a team. By contrast, a job search is typically a solo sport and it is up to us to continuously motivate ourselves and fine-tune along the way. We can create our own Dream Team, yet we are still leading an expedition in unchartered territory.

Earlier in my career, when I needed to prepare for a job search, I would read books and look online for information and inspiration. Too many resources painted a picture of an oversimplified job search process or made it seem like I, the job seeker, was doing everything wrong. I needed the "perfect" resume and "correct" interview answers to morph into something that a future employer would want to hire. I really felt I was losing myself, and knew there had to be a better way. This is one big reason I started coaching. Once I discovered how to have a successful job search, I wanted to give others the support and strategy I had wanted and couldn't find.

Fortunately, I eventually found mentors who listened, provided real-life perspective, and above all, gave encouragement not only for the job search but that I was okay just the way I was. This was a profound turning point. We shouldn't 'need' this kind of external validation, as they say, but that's the core of everything flawed with the job search process - it has the potential to make us forget who we are and what we have to offer the world. Support is everything! The longer a search goes on, the more at risk we are for feeling discouraged and having less energy, motivation, self-confidence, and optimism.

We CAN turn this around.

Today, I'm going to share three of my favorite ways to reinvigorate your job search.

Get inspired

Athletes do not just run onto the field or jump into the pool; they warm up, stretch, and prepare. They visualize success. And, their training regimens always include rest days. Before tackling the nuts and bolts of a job search, we have to catch our breath. Take some time - take a break - and reconnect with things that make you happy. This is your real self. It can be as simple as listening to some of your favorite songs, getting outside into nature, exercising, connecting with friends, cooking, redecorating/rearranging an area of your living space, or spending time on a hobby. Do things that you like.

Sometimes, if we have an especially negative tape running through our heads, it can help to replace it with a brighter mindset. This is where uplifting content from TEDTalks, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, MasterClass, and so many others can be so vital. For a while, my go-to was Carpool Karaoke whenever I needed a pick-me-up. I'm also a big fan of listening to guided meditations on Insight Timer, a free app, with more than 130,000 guided meditations to choose from.

Visual inspiration is also so important. Consider adding photos, quotes, plants, art, and mementos to your workspace. Some people like to write notes to themselves or reflect on mantras and put them on a Post-it note near the mirror, where they will see them often. (Check out my fun article on Gentle Job Search Mantras.) There are also daily affirmation apps and social media feeds that can be just the ticket.

Channel emotions into creativity

The progression of job search stress can be very personal. In general, though, it tends to start with annoyance at the process ("Why do I have to re-enter my work experience again, even though it's on the resume I just uploaded?!") and then becomes irritation ("I'm working really hard at this, why am I not getting more (or any) callbacks?") before transforming into a garden variety of things like anger ("I'm the perfect fit for that job, I hit it off with everyone on multiple rounds of interviews, and lost out to an internal candidate who they identified early on...") or sadness ("I really wanted that position and had my heart set on working there...") or fear and panic ("I've been job searching for a long time, what is going to happen to me and my future?")

*Special note: You are not alone. If job searching is taking its toll and strong emotions are interfering with daily life; if you start to isolate or just don't feel like your usual self, please reach out to a qualified therapist or other mental health professional. You deserve to be supported, especially during a tough job search experience or other life situation. All of us seek extra care at one point or another.

All of the emotions related to job searching are completely valid, and if financial concerns are present the stakes can feel very high. It is beneficial to regain a sense of groundedness in order to strategize. One of my mentors used to say the most powerful person in the room was the one who could be the calm in the storm. I find that when my stress is highest, it's very hard to be creative and find solutions. This is why the first step is often self-care.

I know may feel counterintuitive, but we want to give ourselves a chance to slow down enough to let our nervous system settle a bit. You can experiment with things like yoga, deep breathing, soothing sounds, relaxing with a cup of tea, taking a walk, journaling, distracting yourself with something else, spending time with a pet, or just sitting quietly. Even a few minutes can help. Most of all, prioritize sleep. It is amazing how different things can look when we are well-rested.

Then, do some brainstorming on your own or with a job search coach (like me!), a mentor, or a supportive friend/loved one. The goal is to start to channel some creativity to apply to your search:

  • Which parts of your job search are going well or are easiest for you? How can you leverage that? I always like to operate from a position of strength. Start where you are.

  • Consider timing and pacing. When do you have the most time to work on your job search, and how is your current pacing? Sometimes, people are surprised by how rejuvenating it can be to simply find a different time during the day or week to work. Equally, are you working too much on your search and burning out? Pull back and focus on quality and high-impact tasks. By contrast, if you notice yourself "thinking" about your job search more than taking actual steps, adopt a bias to action and begin with a few doable tasks.

  • Are there new industries, different job boards, and types of companies you might consider? Could there be other skills and talents to maximize in this job search that you enjoy using, and might be in more demand right now? Maybe or maybe not, but the conversation might spark fresh ideas and positive outcomes.

Be innovative

From a logistical standpoint, it can be helpful to do things differently. This could include refreshing your resume, choosing a new photo and background for your LinkedIn profile (along with updating your content), doing mock interviews with a coach, or networking even a little bit instead of relying solely on the job boards. Alumni groups, webinars, and activities can be a great, comfortable way to put yourself out there, have fun, and help others at the same time.

You might also want to go back to your original vision and see if anything has shifted - whether in your goals or your personal values. If you are experiencing a lengthy search, it's possible that the vision you started with has evolved or you have developed new interests - and, most likely, the market itself has shifted. It's a sign of growth to regroup and consider new options.

This is a time to try new things, experiment, and reinvent! Not only will this revitalize your job search, but it will also give you renewed energy. Turn on some music and let your mind soar.

The tide will turn

Most of all, remember that you will find a job! You are putting in the effort and it will pay off. Within our professional goals, there are parts we can control and parts that we can't. Focus on the things you can impact and keep chipping away to carve out what you want. Practice self-care, switch things up, and stay in the game.

Do something today that will lead to where you want to go. Be kind and compassionate towards your situation. You're doing your best! Sometimes, that's all we can ask of ourselves. Remember, any forward movement - even if small - still counts and will put you that much closer to achieving your goal and the life you want.

We're rooting for you!

© WORK DOT DOT. All rights reserved.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page