How To Refocus Your Job Search After Taking A Mental Health Break
Between COVID-19, murder hornets, political unrest, and more, 2020 is a difficult time to give your job search the full attention it needs.
If you needed to take a break from your applications to take care of yourself, your loved ones, or your community, know that that’s ok! It’s also very normal to have felt so overwhelmed that you have only been able to send out one or two resumes a week, or to have been leaning on a less than perfect or out of date resume. In these troubled times, any activity is better than none but if you’re ready to jump back in to a more focused search these tips will help you get started.
So what can you do to reinvest in your job search?
1. Consider Starting Over
Start with the basics. Take a look at your resume and cover letter. Are you using something that’s out-of-date or that you had to throw together hastily? Time for a rewrite. Look up a fresh template and rebuild from the ground up; then ask a trusted friend or family member to look it over. Need some tips on how to create an entry-level resume? Check out our video here.
Next consider where you’ve been applying. Is your search too narrow? Have you been casting too broad of a net and failing to individualize your cover letter? Take some time to think about what you really want to do and where you want your career to go. Just because the employment landscape is currently more complicated than normal doesn’t mean you should settle for a job that doesn’t set you up for the career you want.
2. Reach out to your network
If you’ve mostly been applying to open positions online, and you’ve avoided reaching out to your network, it’s time for that to change. You might be saying, “I don’t know anyone in the field I want to work in,” or “People are just too busy to want to talk to me”, but since 70% of jobs are found through networking, you can’t afford to let that be your mantra.
Networking can be intimidating. To make it easier, start with your inner circle – your parents and closest friends. If you haven’t told them what you are looking for or if you’re starting over in your search, it’s time to get them all up to speed and to ask for their help.
You may be surprised at how many suggestions the people in your network have to help you on your search. They may have a colleague who has a spouse who works in your desired field or dream company or they may remember a neighbor who left the block a few years ago that would be a great contact for an informational interview. Most of the people around you are likely to be happy to give their advice!
It might feel scary to ask for help, but taking this small risk could yield a whole new set of untapped resources and lead to leading a job!
3. Set small goals
It’s overwhelming to sit down and just “find a job”, so don’t let that be the goal you focus on. Come up with small, achievable goals you can manage each week. For example, tell yourself that you’re going to get an informational interview scheduled this week. Tell yourself that you’re going to apply to 20 jobs by Friday. Write down your goals and promise yourself a small reward when you achieve each one.
“Life satisfaction is 22 percent more likely for those with a steady stream of minor accomplishments than those who express interest only in major accomplishments.” – Orlick 1998
If you never give yourself a pat on the back for getting the little things right, you’ll spend your job search frustrated and fixated on the stuff that’s going wrong. And no amount of time off will make you feel better if you stick with the mindset that only the big goals matter.
4. Reflect on your progress
When you have celebrated your wins, where did they come from?
“Comparing people who tend to give up easily with people who tend to carry on, even through difficult challenges, researchers find that persistent people spend twice as much time thinking, not about what has to be done, but about what they have already accomplished, the fact that the task is doable, and that they are capable of it.” – Sparrow 1998
It can be helpful to frame your reflection around the Pareto Principle, which is the idea that 80 percent of your results come from where you spend 20 percent of your time. Take the time to understand where your results are coming from. Knowing where your effort has paid off may motivate you to continue to spend your time on the things that have provided positive results.
The trick is to analyze, reflect, and have the courage to focus on the 20 percent. If you end up spending even five percent more of your time in the “right” places, just imagine how many more great things will happen in your job search!
The temptation to give in to 2020 can be strong, especially when you and your community are being affected. You may find that even committing to your job search doesn’t work every day. Give yourself grace and try again the next day. Remember that Katapult Network is here to let our network work for you and allow you to passively job search even during these difficult times. Send us your resume here to get started.
We’ll leave you with these thoughts by Mary Anne Radmacher:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’”
Still not sure how to show off your skills on your resume? Our recruiters can help you learn to talk about them. Submit your resume here to get started!