Your job search can be maddening. We’ve all sent applications out into the abyss or made the interview only to never hear a peep from the hiring manager. After a series of dead-ends, a little voice may pipe up. “Take a break,” the voice says, “just a little one and you’ll be more invigorated than before.” It’s convincing enough, but before you take its advice, think about this.
It’s hard to get back on track
Taking a break from your job search can be terminal. Ever put pause on developing a mobile app? Writing a novel? Pursuing a relationship? Once that momentum fades, it’s not as simple as turning the ignition to get your engine roaring onto the road. Your job search is much closer to restarting a crank operated engine – it takes a while and is a major strain on your unused muscles.
You’re priming yourself for meltdown
Job seekers are typically in one of two positions: they’re unemployed or in an unfulfilling job. For the unemployed, a dwindling financial safety net is a compelling motivator. It’s the unhappily employed who are at the greatest risk.
Once you realize you’re unhappy in your job, misery tends to compound. Every problem, every conflict, every negative critique of the company builds up to teetering proportions. After a time, it may only take something the size of one waifer-thin mint to cause an explosive collapse. Then, you’re stuck with the fallout.
Maybe you quit your job with dramatic flair. Maybe you burn your bridges down to cinders. Whatever happens, your job search stops being on your terms and starts being an act of necessity.
Keeping the faith
You know not to give up quite yet, but how do you keep going? Look at what others have endured.
Stephen King received 30 rejection letters for his first novel Carrie.
Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before he invented a working light bulb.
Harland David Sanders (aka Colonel Sanders) was rejected 1,009 times before any restaurant accepted his now coveted 11 herbs and spices chicken.
That level of persistence isn’t easy, but it can be easier with the right thought process.
Think of your job search as a war of attrition. You apply and interview until the odds fall in your favor. According to Forbes, the average number of applicants for every job is 118. Only 20 percent of those make it to the interview. That means the competition is fierce, but not impossible to overcome. Every small action ultimately gets you closer to the end goal.
Adapting your approach
Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” For our purposes, that means that a static job search goes nowhere. So try something different.
Spice up your resume. Start up a personal website. Have answers prepared for typical interview questions, but also get ready for outside-the-box questions. Network outside of your usual comfort zone. Do whatever you can to bring yourself closer to an interview, and ultimately, a new job.
by James Walsh