Having a Hard Time? Don't Compare Yourself to Others During Your Job Search
Having a Hard Time? Don't Compare Yourself to Others During Your Job Search

You know someone who found a great job in a week. But you’ve been looking for the last six months. What’s wrong with you? Chances are, nothing. It’s entirely possible that your strategy needs help, but that’s why there is help here, and of course, not just here. Before you start comparing yourself to anyone, though, remember that the job search is affected by a thousand things that none of us can control. Luck, timing, and the market itself all play their parts. Your friend’s success is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. All you can do is put yourself in a position where those external factors have the best chance to work for you. Again, that’s why we’re here and, presumably, why you’re here too.

Remember the Truth
Millions of people have looked for jobs before you. Somehow, they all coped. Why are you having such a hard time? It’s easy to see yourself as the source of the problem, but it’s not accurate. If you find yourself thinking that it can’t possibly be so bad and that you should be handling it better, stop. The truth is that you’re doing what you can to cope with a process that has brought many a strong man or woman to tears.

Get Help
There may come a time when you need help to make it through. If so, don’t hesitate to seek it out. Help can come in the form of a group of fellow searchers, a place to get support, some tips, and the opportunity to share your experiences with people in the same boat. Professional help is also an option. It can come from a therapist or, for practical advice, from a career counselor who, brave soul, deals with the job market every day and knows what works. Any of these things can take some of the load off your shoulders, but you have to seek them out. None of the resources will magically appear when you need them.

In the end, it’s no surprise that people suffer in the face of a terribly flawed hiring process, but many of us leave it at that. If you don’t take an affirmative step or two, you can end up stewing over the whole mess by yourself while the job market does its best to beat you to a pulp. Its best, of course, is very, very good.

Be Practical
The right practical choices will make the process easier and make your efforts more effective. At the same time, take care of yourself in all the other ways that have nothing to do with the job market. Do those things that aren’t all about career and work. Don’t become a hermit. Your psyche will thank you, and, if you need more incentive, your job search will actually benefit from some of those “irrelevant” things as well.

Here’s a list of key reminders to help you survive the job search process:

  • The job search is grueling for almost everyone, but the fault lies in the process and has nothing to do with you personally.
  • Getting out into the world on a regular basis and maintaining connections with friends and family will help you cope with the stress of the hiring process.
  • Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your field via the web or by attending seminars to remind yourself and others that you’re still part of the community.
  • Take advantage of your current weekday free time to do the fun activities you couldn’t while working.
  • Setting a schedule with specific hours for specific tasks will make you more productive and give you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Identify the source of any anxiety you are experiencing, and then direct your energies toward solving those problems.
  • Maintain or implement an exercise routine to support your physical health and gain the benefits of mood-boosting endorphins.
  • Seek out help when you need it, whether from fellow job searchers or professionals.