So I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I’m between jobs at the moment. I’ve previously worked within marketing and copywriting and am looking for my dream creative role in Cornwall, or possibly in Plymouth.
With unemployment comes the stresses of job hunting: everyone’s worst nightmare. I’ve only been out of work for three weeks but already the days are beginning to blur so that I forget whether it’s a week day or the weekend and days seem to fly by like nobody’s business. We all know the feeling of a day in the office lasting a lifetime, yet, when we’re at home, we blink and three hours have slipped by. The horror.
I consider myself to be a fairly organised person; I get out of bed early and I am quite focused. So what do I find so difficult about job hunting?
- The distractions of social media
Twitter and LinkedIn can actually be quite useful when searching for a new job role. I’ve dedicated a lot of time to following relevant companies and, occasionally, I will spot an interesting job advert or somebody will contact me directly, saying that they have an opportunity which might interest me.
This is all fine and dandy, but social media eats up a lot of time in a not-so-very-productive way as well. Whilst I’m scrolling and sifting through posts, I become agitated that I can’t see anything useful whilst also worrying that I might be missing something important. Or, worse, I get distracted by something that isn’t to do with job hunting at all! We’ve all spent time laughing at funny cat memes, right?!
2. Feeling guilty about having fun
I’m out of work so I have to job hunt every day. Yes, this is true in theory, but what happens if there are no jobs to apply for? I could sit here feeling frustrated, twiddling my thumbs and refreshing job sites repeatedly, or I could actually go out and do something.
It’s definitely important to have fun as well as apply for jobs, otherwise you’re likely to go insane. This doesn’t stop the guilt though. Even when I’m out and about, I’m constantly tempted to check my email or have a quick look on a job website, as if I’m going to miss something. In reality, it won’t make any difference because a job advert is usually live for at least a week, so there’s plenty of time to complete the application.
3. The temptation to waste the day
So, as I said, I’m usually pretty focused and goal orientated. But everyone has their off days, right? I admit that sometimes I wake up and just think, what’s the point? This could be the day after I find out I didn’t get a job I really wanted or it could just be because I’m sick of not hearing any news at all.
On these days it’s extremely tempting to take a cup of tea back to bed and binge-watch my current favourite show on Netflix. This is a bad idea. On the other hand, it is important to go easy on yourself: you’re handling a stressful situation where hard work, nerves and rejection play a key part. So why not treat yourself occasionally? This is why I try to reward myself with relaxing activities, so I know I have put in the hard work that day and can justify my right to unwind.
4. Kidding yourself that you’re being super productive
Some days I jump out of bed and seize the day. Right! I’m going to have a really productive day, I tell myself. I then throw myself into any sort of activity except job hunting: I clean the house, I cook an extravagant breakfast, I start filing paperwork, I do an exercise DVD….the list goes on.
All of a sudden, it’s 11.30 pm and I feel like I have achieved nothing. This, again, leaves me with a sense of failure and doom. But it’s important to be kind to yourself. Every small achievement should be celebrated, it will help keep you motivated – just make sure that you dedicate time to the job search as well.
5. The dreaded application form
I can spend hours tweaking my CV and adapting my cover letter. But the dream job I am applying for only accepts an application form. Argh! Every time this happens, a little piece of me dies.
I detest having to type out everything that is on my CV anyway, into a poorly formatted form, with everything split into silly little boxes. Yep, a real pet hate of mine. I can see why a company would think this is a good idea, to force candidates to be more original in their response; but really it becomes a carbon copy of the CV and, in my opinion, the cover letter is where the originality should lie anyway.
6. The recruitment agencies, just ringing for a catch-up
After congratulating myself for applying for three jobs in one morning, I settle down to treat myself to a bit of TV or a good book. Bliss. And then the phone rings. Now, not many people ring me on the actual phone; most people message me via text or social media. So 9 times out of 10, the phone call is from a recruitment agency.
I feel terrible writing this, because these recruitment people are normally the loveliest, friendliest, chattiest people around. I just sometimes feel like they are punishing me with an interview before I’ve even secured a proper interview! I just find it rather time consuming and wish the company would speak to me themselves, rather than the process becoming sooo drawn out. In my experience, when recruitment agents say they are ringing for a catch-up, they are often trying to sniff out what roles I’ve been applying for so they can find ways of earning more commission.
7. The sensation of your confidence shattering into pieces
When I’ve spent the last couple of hours refreshing job sites and wailing that there is nothing new to apply for, I go into panic mode. I start thinking I will never find the role that I want and condemn myself to a lifetime of serving customers in Morrisons. Should I apply for this crappy bar job? No, of course not. I don’t have any bar experience anyway!
Ok, so it could be useful to find a temporary job, especially when you’re worried about money. But make sure you don’t give up on your ultimate goals and ambitions. Keep searching. Keep applying. Just keep going! There’s no shame in contacting companies speculatively, I have done this in the past and secured freelance work – something I am trying to do again now.
Ultimately, we never know what is just around the corner…