Keeping sane on the job searching merry-go-round


We often hear that finding a new job is a full time job in itself. I think it’s often true.

If you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed, and have the requirement to get back on a payroll quickly, you really need to apply an intensity of effort and high degree of planning, if you don’t want to be out of the workforce for too long. Here are some tips that can help you on the path to success.

  • If you have a chip on your shoulder, lose it.  I have a person in my network who struggled to achieve recognition and promotion in a previous role.  He was then made redundant.  When he came to me for help all he wanted to do was focus on how unfair it was that he’d lost his job.  When I addressed this with him, he took umbrage.  It didn’t fill us with confidence that he would make a good impression at interview, nor that he was of the right mind-set to resume his professional career with success.  He’s since had 3 jobs in quick succession.  The chip he’s been carrying, has grown into a boulder.  Life goes on regardless of your angst, so forget the past, and move yourself on.

  • Don’t rely on recruitment agencies – be it contingency or search.  Be clear on this – they are paid by employers to fill current hiring assignments.  They are not paid to find you work.  They may from time to time offer to pro actively help exceptional people, but it’s not the primary focus of their business model.

  • There have been many, many, many articles and webinars on how best to maximise your agency relationship.  Check into these.  The agency industry has plenty of muppets working within it, and they sadly don’t care that you’re a prospective client – subsequently you will likely be battling a lack of acknowledgement and professional respect.  But there is a very fine line between you staying  “top of mind” and stalking the consultants, to the point where you get yourself on a “black list” of to-be-avoided-at-all-cost-desperate-job-seekers.  Be courteous, even to the muppets – you can get your revenge when you’re back in a position to hire again.

  • Everything about agency relationships above, applies to your interactions with employer-direct interactions as well.   82 applications for a variety of jobs will put you on a black list.  Guaranteed.  Venting your frustrations at some hapless junior will put you on a black list. Guaranteed.  The world is a small place and you’ll likely have the chance to swipe back another time if you really want/need to – but you’ll be better served by putting your energy to better use during this time.

  • Get healthy.  Loads has been written on this before.   If your body and mind are in tip top shape, you will project a level of desirability that a podgy, slouchy, weary job seeking competitor cannot match or fake.  Looks count, so give yourself an edge.

  • Don’t take rejection personally.  Think of it just as a numbers game – another rejection gets you closer to acceptance.  Corny but true, and if you focus just on the rejections, it will poison your mind.

  • Find fun.  Amuse yourself with B.S. bingo (heavens knows recruiters alone are full of it).  Giggle at the nonsense written in job ads and job descriptions.  Reward the achievement of your goals with fun activities (seriously – why shouldn’t you treat yourself after sitting through 20 mind numbing interviews in a week or getting 100 targeted applications out today?!) 

Yes, there is financial and family and social pressure on you all the time you're not working, but....keep some perspective, and do whatever you can to preserve your sanity and dignity.