by Sean O’Brien, former Head Editor, INALJ Colorado
previously published 10/10/13
4 Things to Keep in Mind during a Difficult Job Search
I have been trying to avoid writing this sort of posting for some time, mostly because the other article authors have done a pretty good job discussing it. However, I know that the job hunt can really take its toll on a person’s patience, and that this is a topic that is on everyone’s mind right now, including my own. This is something that has hit home as a friend of mine has been struggling with the pressures of a grueling job search. So, with that in mind, I wanted to write a little about what I told him, and what I would tell anyone else.
1) Try not to take each rejection personally…
I know that it can feel like every rejection letter or unanswered application is a slap in the face. But you have to understand that there are a lot of hidden factors at play in the hiring process. Maybe the employer already had an internal candidate in mind. Maybe you were beat out by someone with a little bit more experience, or a slightly better interview. Sometimes it’s helpful to, as much as you can, step back and know that some things are just beyond your control. Life is always going to involve disaster. Sometimes the only thing you can control is how you react.
2) …but examine if there’s something you can improve.
All of that aside, it is also important to look and see if there’s anything you can improve. If you’re sending out tons of unanswered applications, maybe it’s time to redo your resume. If you don’t seem to ever make it past the first interview, maybe look at the questions you’re being asked, and see how maybe you can answer them better. Heck, maybe email contact someone who didn’t call you back for the job, and see if maybe they’d be willing to tell you where you went wrong. It’ll sting your pride, but maybe not as much as more failures.
3) It’s never too late to network.
Stay active in the librarian community. Get on listservs and message boards. See if any of your classmates or coworkers have any useful connections. If you play your cards right, you can even turn an offerless interview into a chance to get your name out there. Sometimes all the difference needed is for someone on the hiring committee to look at your resume and say, “Hey. I know this person.”
4) As much as possible, stay positive.
I know “stay positive” isn’t always the most welcome advice, because deep down it seems to undermine what a person is going through. But, the truth is that if you’re getting bitter or desperate, it will show up in the interview. Each person’s way of dealing with this is going to be different, but it helps to utilize any support systems you may have, such as friends, family, or even colleagues. If you’re feeling completely burned-out by the whole process, maybe even consider taking a break for a little while. In short, do whatever is necessary to take care of yourself. It’s rough out there sometimes, so do what you have to do.