Any job search can be challenging, and at times, extremely frustrating. Everyone has at one time or another had to wait anxiously to hear back about a job application or an interview. At a time when the unemployment rate is at its lowest and jobs are aplenty, a long wait to get hired can seem shocking. However, despite the amount of opportunities, it can take longer than ever to receive a job offer. This can create a nearly desperate situation for the unemployed and those living from paycheck to paycheck.
When one job ends, you don’t always have the luxury of waiting around for several months to get a job offer and then several more weeks to receive a first paycheck. Bills don’t stop coming when you have a gap in employment, so getting a new job is urgent. Sometimes it may seem like you are sending tons of applications into a black hole and only getting a handful of calls for interviews many weeks later. You may attend interviews and not get a call back for several weeks, or no call at all. Often, people start feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and begin to lose hope. Every application sent out with no response can feel like rejection. According to Glassdoor, it can take 23 days to go from an interview to a job offer, so these weeks that pass while watching bills pile up can leave you feeling utterly hopeless. While this situation may seem impossible at times, there are some things that you can do to help.
Create a Schedule
Sitting at the computer desperately hitting the refresh button on Indeed to see if new positions become available or filling in endless 60-minute job applications can make anyone feel a little burnt out. It is key to break up the time throughout each day and week so that you don’t get discouraged. Instead of spending constant hours applying to jobs, make a schedule for yourself. Spend no more than 2 hours in a row applying to positions online, for example, then give yourself a break. Find other job hunting strategies to use to get yourself out of the application funk. Find opportunities to meet people and network. Go into your local CareerSource and talk to a Career Consultant to get some advice. Use LinkedIn to network for job opportunities. Find a buddy who is also looking for work and schedule regular time with this person, so you can vent, share tips, and decompress. When you have some structure in your job search, you will feel a little more in control and even somewhat accomplished as you check tasks off your list.
It is easy to become overwhelmed and lost when you’re unorganized. Make organization a priority by keeping a record of every position applied to on an Excel spreadsheet or use an app that’s designed for this purpose. Keep track of the dates applied, dates of interviews, and important notes to remember. This way, if you get a call about a position you applied to 3 weeks ago, you can easily go through your list to find out the date of application, position, and important details you may need to know to land the job. You can also then keep track of the length of time since an interview has passed, so you can follow-up on an appropriate timeline. Another plus is that keeping a detailed and organized log is going to make you feel like you accomplished something each day, and you can easily see your progress and hard work over time.
Improve Your Skills
Even a diligent job search can take some time, so it is a good idea to find something else valuable to do. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that being unemployed means you must ONLY job search and nothing else. However, it is helpful if you work towards accomplishing additional goals at the same time. Is there something you always wanted to learn but never had the time? Is there an organization you always wanted to volunteer for but you were always too busy? (Remember, volunteer work looks great on a resume!) Is there a class or training you are interested in that could help you achieve a higher wage? It may be a good time to accomplish some of these goals. You can apply for a WIOA scholarship on our Application page under the Find Training tab and potentially enroll in an educational program for FREE. Take the time and allow yourself the opportunity to learn something new. You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself for taking the extra steps to potentially improve your life.
Seek Out Support
Probably the best thing you can do to alleviate some stress about the job search is to seek out support. When seeking employment for weeks on end, people start to feel a little disheartened and wonder why they aren’t getting many calls or job offers as soon as expected. It is important to remember you are not alone. One option is to visit CareerSource and talk with a Career Consultant. Take the time to speak to them about your job search and ask for advice. Even if you do not feel you need the extra help – it certainly can’t hurt, and having someone else invested in your job search is often a valuable asset. You can also attend workshops offered at the career center, such as resume writing, interviewing skills, and LinkedIn. Again, even if you don’t need the help, being around people struggling with the same thing you are will remind you that you are not alone and help you stay positive in the job search process.
The path to getting hired may seem endless, but it’s normal to feel an increase in stress around this time. The good news is there are ways to get through it, so you can ace interviews and get hired not just as quickly as possible, but in the best position for you.
Written by: April Blair, Career Consultant, TANF