Articles about the job search do this thing that annoys me: they treat the process like a puzzle, like all you need to do is tweak your LinkedIn profile or your cover letter and the job offers will come rushing in. That’s why I like James Caan’s article on LinkedIn, How To Stay Motivated When Job Hunting: he’s an optimist, but also a realist. He acknowledges the uphill battle and the tough odds, but also manages to give some good, uplifting advice all the same.
Some of the stuff resonated with me because it aligns with what I’ve always thought: that it’s important to look at the big picture rather than falling in love with a single job posting; that you need to take breaks from filling out applications or else you’ll go crazy. He also brings up some great points I never would have thought of, like asking for some feedback after a job rejection. Why not? The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t respond.
But the article does suffer from one issue that seems endemic in the career advice industry: easier said than done syndrome. Yes, it would be great to block all negative thoughts, but can you? No. And that’s okay. You just need to TRY to avoid all negative thoughts; then some will slip through, but not nearly as many. I think of it like when I say to myself “no snacking for a week” or “no going out for coffee until the weekend; I gotta save money and brew it at home.” You know what happens? I fail. I snack a little bit and I go out for coffee once. But not as much as I may have otherwise because I essentially rigged my brain with an alarm. By setting up a rule, it forces you to ask yourself, do I really want to break this? That’s enough to keep you on track a lot of the time.
So anyway, read the article with that in mind, and who knows, maybe some of Caan’s advice will be what helps you stay alert, mentally tough, and land your first job!