Top Tips For Self Care During the Job Search

Let’s face it. None of us would to put at the top of our daily checklist the following task:

“Get rejected today.”

But during the job search, applicants go through rejection day in and day out. Whether it is the lack of response from the human resource department to the application you had worked on for hours before sending in, or the call you get to let you know that they chose another candidate over you… it IS rejection… and it really hurts.

In fact, news outlets across the U.S. have indicated that unemployment numbers are probably higher than reported simply because the statistics don’t count the people who have gotten too discouraged, and given up looking for work.

It is pretty discouraging out there, but if you are looking for employment, you HAVE to take care of yourself to persevere and prevail.

The trick is to keep your head above the dark waters of depression so you don’t drown during what is otherwise an ego-bashing experience.

Self-care is important in keeping perspective, balance, and to not fall into the self-pity trap of curling up in a ball, closing the curtains and pulling the blanket over your head, convinced that no one wants you.

Ever see the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey? He finally decides to start saying ‘yes’ and opening himself up to letting life lead the way, versus being so busy telling everyone ‘no’ that he ends up alone and cut-off from his friends and living life. If you shut yourself off in isolation, you are creating zero opportunities for anything to happen. You have to at least try, and that’s what job searches are all about. You’ve got to keep trying.

If you are struggling with this situation, here are some tips to keep you swimming towards shore to reach your employment goals.

1) Rejection is NOT PERSONAL. Sure, easy enough for me to say, right? Any human resource manager will tell you that there are a million reasons why they didn’t choose you as their final candidate. Let’s put this in perspective: It’s not like they woke up, jumped out of bed, and proclaimed, “Today, I am going to make sure ___________ isn’t hired today!” Sounds silly, but this helps put the kibosh on going down that road that there is a ‘vendetta’ against you.

2) Create a job search plan, and execute it! I’ve blogged about this in the past (April 9, 2009 post) – one of the biggest problems with being unemployed is the loss of sense of structure, which alone can be self-defeating. You need to stay focused. Create a plan, follow it, and chart your progress. If you feel that you aren’t doing enough, then give yourself a quick kick in the keester and do something about it!

3) Volunteer. Volunteering is altruistic behavior, which releases endorphins… you know, the ‘feel good’ hormone. Not only are you giving back, but you are also physically giving your body a boost that you could really use right now. You’ll feel better and you are also making your community a good place to live, too.

4) Nurture or pamper yourself. While you need to gain traction on your efforts to look for a job, you need to also give yourself a break. Looking for a job is a stressful full-time job. You’ll need to take those breaks to reward yourself with fun activities to get some rest and relaxation time.

5) Get a cheerleader. Find a friend who is willing to be there and you can call during your darkest hours. If you start finding yourself sliding down a deep well of self-pity or frustration, you’ll need someone who will be there to help hold you up. They can be just the shot in the arm to get you out of your funk.

6) Learn from your mistakes. If you think you goofed on an interview, then review what you think you did wrong, and use that information to learn how to answer the questions better. If you realized that you went about applying for a position the wrong way, or didn’t leverage your contact list right, then use this information to hone your job search skills.

7) Get out of the house. The worst thing you can do is stay in one place. Successful job seekers are constantly on the move… making contacts, meeting people, learning things and having fun. This alone can have a significant impact on your disposition. Remember, people are attracted to positive people; negative auras repel everyone. You need to make sure you maintain a positive outlook.

8) Don’t give up. Don’t talk yourself out of moving forward. Anyone can talk themselves out of anything… if they get into the right frame of mind. It is absolutely okay to have your down days, but you can’t dwell there. You have to avoid getting a case of what I call the “C-C-C-C”s – which means you are sitting at home on the Couch with the Curtains closed watching CNN and eating Cheetos. That isn’t going to get you a job.

Remember, you need to nurture yourself to sustain the positive energy and psychological well-being it takes to look for work. Keeping these tips in mind can help you avoid the pitfalls of falling into a bad place that ends up making you your own obstacle to getting hired.