How to Deal with a Long Job Search

Catherine Tabuena
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Have you been searching the job market for months without much luck? Have you been endlessly lining up for dozens of first-round interviews but not getting any callbacks? I’ve been there. As a former professional singer, I spent more time looking for a job than actually doing a job. The seemingly never-ending auditions and casting calls stressed me out and drove me to the edge of burnout. Job search fatigue is not a myth. Whether you’re aiming for a corporate job or creative position, a long job search often leaves us feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted. To be able to climb out of the slump, it’s vital to maintain your cool and confidence throughout this period of uncertainty. Below are ways to deal with a long job search.

1.  Maintain the Four F’s

Family, friends, fun, and fitness. Most job seekers might consider these luxuries, thinking that only the uber-wealthy, well-connected, and already successful can truly have it all.

On the contrary, it’s possible for the average person to have a happy, well-balanced life while going through the job hunt phase.

Realistically, you can’t job search 24 hours a day, seven weeks a day. While you might be submitting applications and going on interviews during the day—it’s what you do with your time after job-hunting hours that matters.

Take some time off for yourself. Visit your parents, grab a beer with your friends, watch a movie, or hit the gym. There’s no need to deprive yourself of fun while job hunting. The more you deprive yourself of basic needs, the more stressed you’ll become. You will be better able to focus and perform your job search when you’re in an overall better mood.

2.  Keep Learning

American businessman Ezra Cornell said, “Idleness is to the human mind like rust to iron.”

He’s right.

While experiencing a long job search can be emotionally exhausting, you have a luxury most employed people don’t—a lot of free time.

Take this as an opportunity to learn something new or improve on your existing skills. Take a class, sign up for a free seminar, or join an online community of professionals in your industry. When you feel stuck, get busy growing your skill set to feel a sense of moving forward.

According to a study, the sensation of making meaningful progress can boost our mood and improve motivation. So when you’re feeling stuck in a drawn-out job search, propel yourself forward by making personal growth and learning a priority.

3.  Start Networking

Networking is vital for job seekers. How many networking events have you gone to this month? How many messages have you sent (via email or LinkedIn) to key job prospects? If you answer “none,” you need to get out there and strut your stuff.

Depending on your personality, networking can either be an exhilarating or dreadful experience. The extroverts of the world can easily schmooze through networking events while introverts may have a harder time.

It is estimated that a whopping 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. You can go beyond searching for jobs online by attending job fairs, industry events, meet-ups, and other networking opportunities. These will give you the opportunity to make the meaningful connections you need to improve your job search, grow your network, and maybe even discover that elusive “dream job” that is often not posted online.

However, there is still value to online connections. Just make sure to use professional online platforms to build rapport with other industry professionals.

4.  Freelance or Find a Bridge Job

They say fatigue is twice as likely to strike when you’re in-between jobs. The looming pressure to pay the bills and rent on time will make even the calmest person panic.

Freelancing or taking on a temporary position can help you avoid professional and financial burn-out. Doing part-time work in the gig economy or as a barista might not be your first choice, but at least you are earning a bit of money that’ll help fund necessary expenses.

Some professionals have the option of freelancing, which can boost your portfolio and occasionally function as a valuable inroad to full time roles.

Regardless of the length of your job search, its key to stay positive, level headed, and focused to get through this time. And when you’re feeling down—remember, nothing last forever.

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  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Nancy Anderson, Thank you again. It's been a tough battle, but in the end, I think we can win and that's the goal I'm heading for. If I can do it, you can it. I know it's not easy sometimes, but nothing is never really easy. Best of luck to you.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rich M thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right! You just have to keep on keeping on until you get that call that says you are hired! It can be tough. It can be discouraging. But it's all worth it when you are walking through the door on your first day of a new job! All the best!

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    Nancy Anderson, Thank you for response. I have been working hard and knock wood, things seem to turning around. It's been a long hard road. I have registered with various agencies and check in with them to let them know I'm still looking. Some applications you fill out online don't get looked at. While others, seem to take forever for a response. I've been working very hard on this and let me tell you, all the hoops you have to jump through to find something that fits your abilities and your work skills. I kind of look at like entering show business, these singers and actors have worked for years to get the "big break" they finally got. When that happens, things become a little easier. So, Nancy, thank you for you feedback and plugging away. I did and still am until I hear that word. You're hired. Hang in there and keep pushing. Networking is hard to do and you might get lucky with the right connection.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Marina S. thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are on the right path. Are you networking? Reaching out to former co-workers? What about local networking events in your area? Job fairs? Have you tried to follow up on any of the 55 jobs you applied for? Sometimes just bringing your name to their attention is enough to garner an interview. What about going the temp route? Sometimes temp jobs turn into permanent positions. Temping is great because it's like a long-term audition. You get to check out the company and they get to check you out. Something to consider.

  • Marina S.
    Marina S.

    I have been doing all of this that your article suggests for the past 8 months. I've mindfully applied for 55 jobs tailoring my resume and a cover letter for each, but haven't been invited to a single interview. I am at my wits end and have no idea what to do.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Rich M thanks for your comment. So sorry to hear that you are struggling to find a job. Are you networking? Reaching out to former coworkers to see if they know of an opening in their company? What about job fairs? Are you attending those? Have you been in touch with a recruiter who specializes in your field? What about temp agencies? Sometimes you can turn a temp position into a permanent one. What happened with the interviews? Did you receive rejections? Did you send a thank you letter immediately after the interview? Could make all of the difference. Did you follow-up after the interview? Many people just go on an interview and then move on without a thank you letter or doing any type of follow-up. All you can do is keep submitting your resume. All the best.

  • Rich M.
    Rich M.

    I'm 59 years old and have been laid off since November of 2018. I'm out everyday looking for work and had at least 5 interviews since then. Some of the jobs I can't do because of limitations. Some of the jobs require a collage degree, which I don't have. And some of the jobs are aimed at a certain type and you have no chance. However, I keep plugging away and hope that something will happen soon.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Kim C thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, this is the way of the job world now. The simple days are over. Now you have to do the resume creation and the online networking in order to find a job. All the best.

  • kim c.
    kim c.

    All this online networking and resume creation science and methodology is no substitute for getting face to face with the production supervisor and telling him straight up: "I see you are working your people into a lot of overtime. Give me a week in your plant as a temp and I will show you that I can outwork any man on the production floor." When he agrees, you show up early and work your tail off-- it's redneck simple.

  • Mike P.
    Mike P.

    Great advice thank you

  • Stacey S.
    Stacey S.

    Thank you for your recommendations, I will try this approach.

  • Tosin Lawal
    Tosin Lawal

    I agree with this approach, it better to move gradually and achieve your goal. Once achieved, you can now set standards.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jarvain B. thanks for your comment. Have you mentioned, in your cover letter, that you are within 30 hrs of completing your degree and that it will be completed by such and such a date? That might be enough to put you over the top. You could even offer to start at a lower wage until you receive your degree and then have your pay adjusted accordingly. If you feel that this is the sticking point, you might want to consider bringing it up at the beginning of the interview or even before you schedule an interview. Just a thought. It can be frustrating for sure. I remember interviewing (panel interview at that) for a position that required a bachelor's degree and I was 6 hrs from completion. I promised to have it completed within 6 months even though it didn't take that long. Once I completed it, I got a boost in my pay. All the best!

  • sarah davis
    sarah davis

    well versed as well as thorough thanks for then insightful knowledge

  • Jarvain B.
    Jarvain B.

    Great article definitely helpful...I have been through three rounds of interviews several times and still no job. I know it’s because I don’t have my degree but 20 years of nonprofit experience. I was actually called for an interview and 10 mins later called back because they didn’t realize I didn’t have my degree. I am 30 hours away from a degree that honestly will not matter in my experience in nonprofit management so at 46 I am feeling the struggle and the strain. Thanks for the advice and the encouragement.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Dennis W. have you tried to apply through a local temp agency? Are you networking? Are you looking for job fairs in your area? Are you job searching and applying to jobs every day? Are you following up on the jobs you applied for? Finding a job is a full-time job. Don't talk about age but about what you have to offer and how your skills will help the company. @Bonita j. - good for you. Sometimes we just need to take a step back, even if just for a weekend, in order to gain a new prospective.

  • Dennis W.
    Dennis W.

    Im trying so hard it feels overwhelming my rent due if i take a job i can its gonna cost so money to pay for gas idk wjat to do just really bummed right know 59 yeats old norhing to do

  • bonita J.
    bonita J.

    I, experience, job searching, and hassle, ,thanks for the info, friends, family, fun, fitness, away, to forget, the hassle, that job searching, gives, thanks

  • Miguel D.
    Miguel D.

    Thank you for this words

  • SHEILA G.
    SHEILA G.

    Good stuff and well said!

  • Mary C.
    Mary C.

    Then why is Lorraine H still out of a job....

  • LORRAINE H.
    LORRAINE H.

    Dah, I'm a senior, I know all of this!!!!

  • Cindy B.
    Cindy B.

    This is great info. Just what i needed to hear, at the right time

  • Roxanne Crisman
    Roxanne Crisman

    Quite frankly, I would love to freelance write, and edit. I see so many errors in grammar and improper spelling which can turn an employer off to a prospective employee who may have excellent skills. Roxanne

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