If you feel like the career search is one of the most stressful times you’ve ever experienced, you’re not alone. Whether you’ve suddenly become unemployed and are racing against your savings running out, or you don’t want your crappy 9-to-5 finding out that you’ve been poking around LinkedIn from 5-to-9, there’s a general sense of fear and uncertainty that looms over the job hunt.
It is a monumental challenge to stay positive during this period of not knowing. How you manage your mindset, however, is one of the most important factors in getting you through this time and landing your dream job. Defeatist attitudes stemming from pessimistic thoughts can be a hidden factor that’s keeping you from securing your next role.
Don’t Let the Rejections Get You Down
The first lesson every job seeker has to learn is how to overcome rejection. It can be heart-wrenching to apply for a job at your dream company, painstakingly edit your resume, pour your heart and soul into a cover letter, and receive…
A rejection. Not. Even. An. Interview. Just an automated response from HR telling you that they’re pursuing other candidates.
After receiving a couple of these types of rejections, it can feel like you’re never going to land a job. The reality of the job hunt, though, is that you’ll get dozens of rejections for every one interview request. A rejection from a company is by no means an evaluation of you as a candidate, let alone a person. Let it roll off your back and keep going. Better yet, examine the rejection and determine how you can view it as an opportunity.
Three Key Areas Where Mindset Can Hold You Back:
Being excessively negative about the job search process. No one likes the job search. Candidates dread writing cover letters and inputting information they already have on their resume into a Workday form. Meanwhile, the hiring manager on the other side has to look through 500 resumes before lunch and somehow pick out the top ten.
Job searching sucks, but you have to play the game to win. Being negative only makes you dread the process more and makes you less likely to apply for more jobs or go the extra mile in your application. This ultimately harms your prospects.
Being consumed by self-doubt. Self-doubt and impostor syndrome is a beast within itself. Too often, we find ourselves not applying to jobs that we would be a great fit for just because we might not check a couple of the boxes.
You might not have much luck applying to Chief Sustainability Officer positions straight out of college, but your beliefs about your qualifications will affect your prospects, for worse or for better. The stories you tell yourself about your capabilities become your reality. If you’re looking at yourself through the lens of self-doubt (e.g. “I don’t have this on my resume” or “I’m too old to be applying to these companies”), that is what you'll look for in job descriptions, interviewers' questions, and anywhere else you can find an excuse.
Plus, a good company will be more interested in your work ethic and enthusiasm than whether or not you meet every single qualification.
Climate change negativity. A lot of environmental professionals succumb to climate change fatigue to some extent. They get frustrated that all of their hard work is not amounting to anything, or they look at the state of our world and feel that changing the course of our planet is impossible. Although climate change fatigue will probably plague you at one point or another in your environmental career, this attitude will be a turn-off for employers. It’s up to you to find opportunities within the challenge and to be on the right side of the fight.
Bringing in any of these negative attitudes will reflect poorly on you and lead to missed opportunities. Remaining positive about the process, your capabilities, and climate change will be imperative to keep you going during the career search.
Pave Your Own Path
I see a lot of job seekers getting anxious because their career search is not going as planned or is taking them longer than expected.
It’s important not to compare yourself with others who may have been in your situation. There’s no timeline for the job search or one right path. Even if it’s taking you a while to find a job, remember that this won’t last forever. As long as you’re dedicated and intentional with your efforts, you’ll eventually find a role that doesn’t make you dread Monday mornings.
If you find that your job search has seriously veered off track, check out our 8-week online course to create a job search action plan that works for you!
How to Cope With Job Search Anxiety
If you find yourself dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety during the job search, just know that is completely normal. Coping with stress in a healthy way is a big part of maintaining an optimistic mindset.
There are so many methods that can help you unwind: exercising, meditating, journaling, spending time in nature, and more. Try out a couple and see what works for you.
I find it tremendously helpful to find a job search partner— someone who understands what you’re going through because they’re on the hunt as well. They can hold you accountable as you continue with this process and listen if you need to vent.
If you’re starting to feel the pressure of the job search, consider looking at the ENVIROlocity™ Daily Journal. This writing and reflection journal was designed to help keep job searchers motivated and uplifted during the arduous career search. With daily reflection prompts and weekly check-ins, it can act as a pseudo job search partner and help you document your progress.