You’ve just graduated from college. Now it’s time to utilize the skills you gained and upgrade to a new stage in life, but in life you’re a freshman all over again. You feel accomplished sending out your applications. You check your inbox compulsively, expecting the hiring manager to be just as eager to hire you as you are to be hired, but days go by and your only e-mails consist of LinkedIn updates, which only make matters worse. It seems like all of your connections have just landed great jobs while your headline remains the same.
The job hunt can be daunting, frustrating, and, yes, depressing. Here are four ways to keep moving forward, stay positive, and ultimately, land a job.
When’s the next time you’ll have such a clear schedule? Being productive without a job is possible. Can you think of something you’ve been interested in learning? For me, it was a language. I found a program that offered beginner to advanced language lessons in German, and I spent one to two hours every morning completing each level. Making progress on a daily basis reinforces one’s self-image, and increasing positivity in your life will not only make the days more pleasant but also serve as a refreshing distraction from your applications. What you learn could also add value to your job interviews; employers will appreciate your intellectual drive.
You are a creator, whether a writer, a painter, an innovator- use your time to revisit past projects or to create new ones. If you have the funds, enter contests. Whether it pays off immediately or not, you won’t regret having work to look back on. It may be useful to you in the future or it may get the attention of someone who is willing to compensate you or collaborate with you. Either way, it can only help you, whether you are rediscovering how it feels to be inspired, expanding your portfolio, or winning the Pulitzer Prize.
You never know who is willing to help you out. Ask people for advice on writing cover letters and revising your resume. Ask if they know anyone working in your preferred field or if they know anyone at all who is hiring. Contact friends and family, alumni from your university, previous bosses, and anyone you can think of that may be able to give you some pointers. And if you’re confused about life, tell someone. Speak up. People want to help you in any way that they can, and in terms of finally landing that job, all it takes is one.
It is easy to become obsessed with job applications day in and day out, but it can become an unhealthy routine if you don’t enforce some kind of balance. You’re probably thinking that the more time you waste the less likely you are to get a job. Okay, inhale. And, exhale. Great. Stress builds inside you, and dedicating time to cleanse your mind of applications and everything related is not only healthy but also a great way to reboot and be even more productive when it counts. Taking a break, breathing fresh air, seeing friends, exercising- these are all ways that you can relieve your stress and restore your mind.
Now instead of avoiding your relatives when they ask if you’ve found a job, you can tell them about all of the things you are creating and the things that you are learning and the interesting people who are helping you along the way. Life is full of ups and downs; take the downs and turn them into something positive.
What keeps you productive while job searching?