Is your job search taking too long?

Once you’ve decided you want a new job it can feel like your enthusiasm for your current one has left the building and all you want to do is get started on a new role. With a job market currently stacked against the candidate, here’s how to stay resilient if your job search is taking too long.

Understanding the current job market

Setting your expectations about how long it will take from starting to look for a new job to getting started on your first day is a critical part of the process. To do this you need to understand the general jobs market, but also the job market for your industry and specific role if possible.

With lots of people being made redundant – 190,000 at the end of August 2020 according to The Guardian’s statistics – the number of candidates in the job market has suddenly swelled, meaning there will be many more applicants for some roles than this time last year. Recent research has also shown that the number of “white collar” jobs currently being advertised is quite low, although in the UK in May-July 2020 there was an estimated 370,000 job vacancies, 10% higher than the record low the quarter before.

So it’s a mixed picture in the UK. Remember though, that people made redundant might not be going for the sort of job you do, so while it may feel like the market is flooded with people, understanding the competition for your specialism is important. Ask your friendly recruitment consultant for this kind of insight.

Building resilience to job search disappointments

There will be set-backs in your job search. Although we’d all love to land the first perfect job we apply for, that’s unlikely to happen. So steel yourself for rejection. Approach each disappointment with a growth mindset, telling yourself, “I haven’t got a new job yet,” and looking for what you can learn from the experience if your job search is taking too long.

When a football team loses a match despite the disappointment, distress and possibly despair at first, they can’t afford to dwell on the result for too long, they need to refocus on the next match, rebuild their energy and have  to be in the best frame of mind. That’s what you have to do here.

Process the emotion of job rejection

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be upset if you’re rejected. If you make it to the final two in the recruitment process you’re likely to already have imagined yourself in the role, the new colleagues, perhaps the commute, what you might spend the extra money on. So it can be really hard to take a rejection at this stage.

Give yourself chance to process the emotion. Set a timeframe – maybe a few days – to think about it, feel bad about it, and then move on. Don’t let the rejection turn up the volume on your imposter. Instead, spend some time thinking about what appealed to you about that role and use this information to shape your new search. Allow yourself to feel the emotions, then look forward at what you’re going to do.

Get some feedback – if you can

Ask for feedback about how you performed and what made their minds up. It might be something you can’t do anything about – the other person may have had the perfect experience, or more experience than you – but if they identify skills gaps then you could address these. Feedback is hit and miss though, so make sure you also do an honest appraisal of your own performance and use it to find areas for improvement.

The hidden jobs market

I always tell clients that using the usual channels to carry out their job search is okay, but they also need to tap into the hidden jobs market. I wrote a full blog about that, but it’s the concept is a simple one: some jobs just aren’t advertised, or not in the usual places. If you’re serious about getting a new role, you need to speak to some trusted contacts to let them know you’re in the market. You never know what might come your way once you let the right people know you’re in the market for a move.

Create a good support network

While you will be naturally careful about who you share your new job ambitions with, having a good support network is critical to help you stay positive. Choose people who will help you look for the positives in rejections and who will help you maintain your energy during the hunt for a new role.

You could recruit friends and family, and might also want to explore using a career coach (like me!) and joining a job seekers group where you could take comfort from and share ideas with others who are having similar experiences.

More resources to help if your job search is taking too long

You might want to read this other blog I wrote, which contains more tips about how to stay resilient while looking for a new job. And with all of the other tips in this blog and the others I’ve referenced, you’re well-prepared to stay resilient if your job search goes on longer than you want – but if you need a bit more support, give me a call to arrange a free chemistry session.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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