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When a Career Search Becomes Exhausting


I was in an interview one time during law school when the subject came up about my experience as a certified archery instructor. It was something I had listed on my resume as a certification, and, because it was such an unusual thing to be certified in, it inevitably became an object of discussion in a variety of interviews during that time period. The three (yes, three!) interviewers in the room that day were interested in determining their dominant eye for archery, since it determines what hand you shoot with (which does not always match the hand you write with).

I showed them how to make a triangle with their two hands to look between, told them to focus their vision between that triangle, then pull their hands back slowly until they rested over one eye – that eye would be their dominant eye. Two of the interviewers did this successfully, and one landed on his right eye and one on his left.

The last fellow landed on his nose, somehow. I quipped, “Well, you must have a dominant nose, instead.” Unfortunately, this fellow happened to have a large nose, and, once I made the comment, it became clear that he was sensitive about it. The interview only went downhill from there, and, suffice it to say, I did not get that job. I was pretty down about it afterwards.

Everyone makes mistakes in the job hunting and interviewing process. Whether it is something silly like I did in an interview, or addressing a cover letter to the wrong company, or sending an application in after the deadline – these things are simple mistakes. Of course you should think before you speak and proofread everything and check every deadline, but sometimes something slips past, and you are only human.

Or, maybe, instead of mistakes, you are down about the fact that you are applying and applying and applying, and nothing is happening – no one is responding.

It is easy to get depressed in the job search process, but it is important that you don’t. Study after study has shown that a positive attitude is one of the things that interviewers appreciate most in interviewees.

So how do you maintain a positive attitude or get your mojo back if you’ve lost it?

Talk to a Professional in the Career Search Field

There are plenty of people out there who want you to succeed and have the skills to help. Think about contacting a career coach and sitting down with them to get their assistance with revamping either your resume, your job search process, your networking plan, or your interview skills. It can be a valuable assistance. I occasionally still take private career clients, and it really just takes an additional set of eyes and someone coaching you from the sidelines to get you to the endzone.

Maintain Your Network of Friends

Applying for jobs is a full-time job in and of itself, if you are really committed to it. It is incredibly easy to forget to put in the time and effort to maintain your network of friends, but this can be when you need them most. Spend time with them throughout the job search process, and they will be there for you when you need someone to decompress with after a mistake or a bad interview or simply when you are nervously awaiting a phone call. In fact, most jobs aren't found through postings -- they are found through networks, so not only are you losing out on good friend support when you shut them out, you might be missing out on the best job opportunities!

Don’t forget Your “You Time!”

Know one of the simple things that helps people maintain a positive attitude and increases their general sense of happiness and well-being? Play. Now, how much do you play as an adult? Not nearly enough. Make time to have fun, in whatever way you choose to have fun. Play. Frolic. Laugh. These things are key to your overall sense of well-being, and that sense of well-being carries over to the other things you do as a sense of confidence and a comfort with the tasks you are tackling. And that reads very well in interviews. I know we are all busy, but a few minutes of playfulness can have hours or days of residual positive results.

If All Else Fails, Take a Break.

I’ve been there. You’ve been going and going and going, trying so hard to catch a break, and it just isn’t working, or you slipped up, and you are bummed out about the whole process. Take a deep breath and take a break. Don’t look at job sites for a couple days. Don’t do applications for a couple days. Don’t even think about it for a couple days. Give yourself a break from the process. This will give your mind a chance to clear, possibly giving some space for a new tactic to slip into your mind, and you should be able to get excited about the process again.

And Remember – There Are Jobs Out There!

Jobs are out there. People are hiring. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

The fact that you are here, reading this blog, trying to get ideas, means that you have the drive to make it happen for yourself. Know that, pat yourself on the back for keeping going, take a deep breath, and know that no matter the mistake or how long you’ve been going, you will get there eventually. Keep going! I know you can do it.

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