Looking for a job has been a real test of resilience for me. The time spent on each application, the effort needed to get into the right mindset to persevere and keep putting yourself out there, even though you aren’t seeing any tangible outcomes. Which is why it’s important to celebrate each stage of the application process and how far you have come even though you aren’t “quite there” and haven’t nailed your dream job yet.
The way I see it is that you can make the choice to celebrate the growth in the process, even if they are small steps, little actions, or you can be miserable and dwell on the negativity, the rejections and the hardships of it all. It is really tedious and can be really depressing, I totally get it, as it can really affect your feelings of worthiness. It really is a time in your life when you are being judged on essentially who you are as a person, which can sometimes be tough to digest.
However, if you add some “spice” to it all, including adding joy to the equation, making time for yourself and doing what you are passionate about during the process to relieve some of that heavy feeling of anxiety and negativity, or brain fog even, then it does help raise those positive feelings inside of you and make you feel more creative and inspired. It must be made a “non-negotiable” part of your routine though, even if you build it up slowly.
The more you build healthy habits that make you feel good, the more it becomes part of your daily routine, most of the time. The more you do what you love, the more positive vibes you feel, and life starts to feel great and moving in the right direction, even though you can’t see the end result yet. It is hard but actually if you try and enjoy the process, as hard as it is, then things do start to feel more bearable and fun even.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain” Vivian Greene
Also, it is ok to listen to your body and take breaks from job searching too to give your mind a break and relax. It really is a job in itself looking for another job and requires a lot of self-discipline, self-motivation and more importantly, self-compassion.
Most of the time, I don’t even receive a thank you for submitting the application as everything is so automated nowadays – candidates just have to assume that the applications have been received ok and hope for the best however much time has been spent on preparing their application. If filling in one of these application forms that employers like to send, it can sometimes take a few hours of someone’s time to fill it in. If sending applications via email, there is always the option of requesting a read receipt when sending emails, especially if you really want to know that someone has received your email. It is a good way of getting someone’s attention especially as we are all overwhelmed these days with messages appearing from all kinds of places, text messages, WhatsApp, email, Facebook messenger, you name it. Lots of messages to manage on a daily basis which maybe explains this “culture” of not needing to acknowledge applications, or ghosting candidates even. It’s a real issue, and not just restricted to dating apps!
However, it is important to remember that behind each of these electronic applications is a human being, and we like to be acknowledged in a certain way, even if it is a basic, standard, cut & paste thank you letter that employers send to all those who haven’t made it through to the initial interview stage. At the same time, it’s important not to rely on any particular outcome, otherwise if employers don’t do as you expect or would like or appreciate them to do, you will get disappointed!!
Sometimes, I do get a reply to my applications, but most of the time, in my experience, I only hear if I’ve gotten through to the next stage of application, which has mostly been an interview via Teams or sometimes Zoom. It is really hard to be rejected and not receive any constructive feedback, especially if you have attended an interview.
Feedback is a brilliant way of helping potential employees to grow within themselves, to help them learn from their mistakes throughout the job hunting process. Without it, it does make things really difficult and frustrating, especially if you’ve gotten through to the final stage, and you just have no clue why you haven’t got the job. I know “being the right fit” is really important to employers, but why is it so hard for employers to take that time to nurture that human connection and provide some constructive feedback to help that person find the job they are the right fit for, especially if you know they’ve spent time and effort on their job application?
The only option left for us jobseekers is to guess our way through the process which isn’t ideal. Sometimes, things might be obvious to our own eye that we can improve but other times, the only thing we can do within our control is let it all go and move onto the next opportunity knowing that maybe this rejection is telling us that this job isn’t meant for us right now. There is also an element of faith in self, that the right opportunity will show up at the right time. Faith that it will happen, that this perfect job is out there, and not to worry in the meantime. It’s hard to keep up the faith but we do have to keep going and have a lot of patience! What other positive choice is there?
Gratitude is also another important part of the process for me, acknowledging all the little tasks and actions I have completed each day (most of the time) and also finding moments to celebrate in each day even if it’s just playing one of my favourite motivational, empowering songs to acknowledge something I’ve achieved, however small it is. I have one list that I update to make life simpler for myself. Even when I just complete tasks, I show gratitude for having completed them, which is still a good reason to celebrate.
Also, it has been a learning process adapting to the idea of having interviews online, and even though people only see your top half, I always do get smartly dressed from top to bottom, because most importantly, it gets me in the right mindset and makes me feel good, and I always love to put on a bit of make up too to make myself feel more “professional”. It helps me to feel excited along with some uplifting, empowering music which can help to shift those pre-interview nerves and get my mind ready and raring to go.
It’s not easy online getting that same connection as you would going to someone’s office and having that face to face contact, but saying that, it is more interactive than a phone call at least. We are also relying on a good internet connection at both ends, which can be a challenge sometimes. Eye contact is key with these online interviews, but can prove difficult if for example the screen goes blurry, and there is a delay with the sound and someone’s lips are moving at a slower pace to the sound of their voice, which can be really distracting! But somehow amongst all of these challenges, we give the interview the best shot and portray ourselves in the best light we can, and then based on our performance, an employer will make the decision about whether they think you are best qualified for the job and want to give you a chance in the next round of interviews. Then the waiting game starts.
As well as learning from my mistakes as I go along the process, or more so, improving myself, improving my answers to interview questions, improving my covering letters to help me get more interviews, tailoring them one by one to the company I am applying to, and really presenting myself as my best and truest expression of myself. That’s all we can do, however much preparation we do beforehand, it’s how we present ourselves in the moment.
“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path” — Paulo Coelho
I am learning that it’s ok to be me, that it’s safe territory to be me. Me is ok.
I’m also learning that I can make the choice to not let all these rejections be about myself and my self-worth, and instead focus on what the companies who have rejected me are missing out on by not employing me!!! There are so many things in life that are out of our control, and so it’s important to see the power and beauty in what we can control, and the things we are able to learn from each and every experience we have, even if it’s a negative one. It’s important that we step back and allow ourselves to breathe and learn from those experiences in a positive way so that we can move forward in the best and most productive way.
I would love to work for a company that embraces that growth mindset culture and encourages learning and growing amongst their staff so that we can become happier people as a whole, better at our jobs, more productive, more focused, less stressed – and yes, it is part of the “whole package” when employing someone. If employees or candidates aren’t interested in all that jazz and personal growth stuff, that’s of course fine too, but we all as humans have an innate need to experience joy and connection. It really is of interest to the employer and will make a happier, healthier workplace which makes all the difference as people do spend a lot of their time at work.
“Connection is why we are here. We are hardwire to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” Brene Brown
A positive, work environment that takes account of the fact that we are all human and have our own individual needs that need to be taken care of. It is an environment which employees can thrive in, so by addressing these needs for good staff wellbeing at work, then it can surely only lead to good – a better workplace, a kinder world and a more joyful environment to be.
Joy is important and I think that employers do play an important role in providing that joy to their employees to help improve motivation, focus, sense of well-being and good health, happiness and productivity. It also gives people a sense of community and human connection that people do need to feel on a regular basis, both at work and at home. This is what makes us tick and feel alive!!!!!!!