So, you’re fresh out of university and you’re ready to dive into a career. The next few weeks (or even months) go like this: after scouring the best job portals around, you send out job applications and start getting through a bunch of interviews. Some might have even left you feeling good about yourself. But then a week passes. Two weeks. When the email finally comes back to you, you find yourself facing your first rejection. In a competitive market, this period of constant rejections may persist for quite a while. Jobseekers who continually get turned down often end up experiencing mild depressive feelings. Uncertainty, after all, is not anyone’s cup of tea!
As a fresh graduate, you have many years ahead of you to flourish and develop yourself! It’s important that you don’t give up during your job search. The uncertainty and anxiety may seem overwhelming at first, but these things, too, shall pass! Here are four major tips you can keep in mind to cope with career uncertainty.
#1: Routines are love, routines are life
Being free of school sounds like the ultimate dream, doesn’t it? It’s the extended school holiday you’ve always wanted back when you were still drowning in 1000-word essays and group projects. That’s all well and good, and you deserve to relax and unwind, but beware of the danger that comes with a lack of structure in your life. This is especially important if you’re someone who’s been looking for a job for months now, with no end in sight.
You might end up sleeping in. Mornings will soon start at 4pm for you, and responsibility will be a thing of the past. Complacency and inactivity can really cripple a person, so routines are EXTREMELY important during your job search. To tackle uncertainty, you must take control of what you can change. And that means time management.
Maybe you can dedicate the mornings to sending out job applications every day before taking a break in the afternoons. Evenings can be spent bookmarking and making note of interesting job postings and offers, or even polishing up your CV! Successful entrepreneurs often share what they do with their days. Structure your day and you’ll be well on your way to getting that next job.
#2: Stay active
Exercising (regularly) opens you up to a lot of positivity and energy. Hit the gym or look up some instructional videos on YouTube and get moving! You can even follow that old Great Singapore Workout video that’s mysteriously resurfaced online for some reason. Bottomline: there are plenty of resources out there for you to make use of in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. And there are no excuses valid enough to get you out of this one.
The key idea is to staying active and physically fit to help balance off the negative feelings that come with uncertainty and riding those endorphins to a positive attitude every day. So, get your gear on and get moving!
#3: Support systems and networking
It goes without saying that emotional support is paramount to surviving uncertainty in long job searches. Some people tend to internalise their anxiety and worries, which is something you should not be doing. Instead, open and speak up to those closest to you, be it family members or best friends. Let people know how you’re doing so they’re able to support you as best as they can.
Networking and talking to professional contacts can also help greatly. Being frank about where you are in life can lead to meaningful discussions and even the next great opportunity. The key idea here? Don’t isolate yourself. Job searches aren’t always independent endeavours.
#4: Keep it positive
Lastly, protecting your mind and emotions from the downside of a fruitless job search is key to making it through the night. This doesn’t just mean smiling 24/7. It means keeping good mental habits and thought habits – this includes waking up and injecting yourself with positivity and gratefulness for the morning (or late afternoon, depending on who you are as a person) and constantly affirming yourself throughout the day. Change the voice of your thoughts into an encouraging, hopeful one.
You can also consider putting up motivational or inspirational pictures around your room. Stick encouraging post-it notes to yourself on your mirror so you can look at them every day – assuming you check yourself out often enough, that is. Journal actively about your career goals and reflect throughout your job search. Make your environment as encouraging as possible and keep your head up, and stay grateful.
The job search may yield more uncertainty than job confirmations, especially in a competitive market. The important thing is to keep your mind on the light at the end of the tunnel and press on no matter what! Ben Bernanke shares some insights on that journey. Keep yourself healthy, hydrated, and happy. These four tips will help you to cope better during this time, and soon enough you’ll find that perfect job.