How to job search while maintaining your sanity and social life

Wake up in the morning. Check email. Nothing but junk. Have breakfast. Check email. Random messages from mailing list you’ve unsubscribed from multiple times. Read. Work on assignment. Check email. Nothing. Close computer, unlock phone check email nothing.

This is the type of cycle you might find yourself in during a job search period which can easily be 9 months of agonizing wait. You can apply for hundreds of jobs and 5 or 10 months later get a single callback that can lead to a job making everything else seem like wasted time. With this in mind, the key is to not let your job search consume your entire life, to continue living even while under the dark cloud of temporary unemployment.

But how?

  1. Set a schedule. During a job search, every moment not spent perusing job boards or submitting applications can feel like moments wasted. But you can’t spend every waking moment applying for jobs – it can be determinetal not only to your eyesight but your health also. Like all full time work, breaks are necessary. Set a schedule of 3 hours in the morning and 4 in the evening and during that time commit to the task. Don’t be tempted to ‘check’ instagram because before you know it you start an application at 8am, check Instagram at 8:15 you might look up at midday and realize you scrolled the entire morning away. The time set aside for your job search – use it for just that. Then when it’s time to disconnect you can enjoy your well earned down time.

  2. Use the period of unemployment to learn something new or tackle a goal. That way,  if 6 months in you don’t have a job at least you can have something to show for the time other than a stack of generic rejection emails. Whether it be knitting a scarf, starting a blog or brushing up on the language you are claiming to speak fluently, if you can organize your time you can definitely set some time apart for these activities.

  3. Live! Yes perhaps you are faced with poverty due to unemployment but find ways to get out and be a part of society. This way when the rejection letters start coming, which they will you’ll have something bright to take the sting away. It can be hard to behave like a social butterfly when you’re feeling more like a gloomy moth. Especially if your friends are gainfully employed and not pinching pennies and constantly doing quick maths to make sure they can afford to buy simple necessities. But isolating yourself can do further damage to yourself esteem that’s already taking a battering from the job search process. If you feel yourself wandering into the murky waters of jealousy since everyone around you seems to have their life sorted out, instead try and channel it into inspiration knowing that you will soon enough be among those receiving a bi-monthly direct deposit.

  4. Resist the urge to obsess over callbacks. I have never been more addicted to checking my email than now during this job search. And sometimes I apply for a job at 8am and refresh my email the rest of the day as if I really think they will get back to me the same day.  So step away from the phone an computer as necessary.  Take a break and read a book or simply meditate in silence. There will never be a situation where you get an email and if you don’t reply within a few hours you miss an opportunity. If you check your email at least once everyday you should be okay. The same with phones and missing calls.

  5. Immerse yourself in nature. Conducting your job search from home to save money on cafes is a good idea, but switch up the scenery for inspiration. Go to the local library with your own bottled and packed refreshments to save money. If every now and then you can afford to splurge on a cafe drink bring a pack of biscuits from home to complete the treat. Go for a walk or a bike ride or check out an exhibit at a museum during the free entry days. They say it takes on average 6-8 months to find a job. That’s 2 entire seasons. Instead of being hold up in a dark cave in front of your computer and feeling sorry for yourself make time to be a part of society.

And while you apply for jobs for week after week, be patient and remember that all it takes is one acceptance and one job offer. Take it all in stride and know that what is mean for you will always make its way to you.

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