6 Steps to Staying on Track When Job Hunting

Do you find it difficult to stay on track when job hunting?

It can be tough sometimes.

Follow our 6 steps to help make it better:

1) Try to stay objective:

By: Lotus Carroll
By: Lotus Carroll

You’ve been job hunting for a while now, and it feels like pushing a boulder up-hill.

The economy is awful, no-one’s hiring, if they are it’s for terrible hours and pay.

The situation seems bleak.

But try to remember that everything is subjective. Situations by themselves cannot be inherently good or bad. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are adjectives that we bring to situation via our perceptions. “Nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” as Shakespeare put it.

Don’t let the “bad” feelings overwhelm your senses. Try to step outside of yourself: think about the advice you would give your best friend if they came to you in the same situation you’re in. And try and follow it for yourself.

2) Control your emotions and keep an even keel:

Go ahead and feel your emotions, bottling them up is unhealthy. But so is associating a situation with these emotions in the same way we associate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ situations. The best way to do this is to defeat emotions with logic in the form of questions and statements as follows:

Statement: I’m really struggling to find work.

Question: Did you expect that to happen when you left university/your last job?


Have you explored every possible avenue yet?

Not necessarily.

So there is still opportunity out there, right? How could that be so bad?

Although doing this will not necessarily change the situation, taking a step back and looking at things rationally will allow your emotions to settle. Try having these types of conversations with yourself when you feel overwhelmed and see how long these extreme emotions hold up.

3) Revert to the present moment:

The future is such a massive concept that often it can be incredibly overwhelming. At the end of the day, the present moment is all we really have. Endeavour to take the trouble you’re dealing with in the present and use it as an opportunity to focus on the present. A way of doing this is to focus on one small thing you can do today to move you closer to your dreams. This can be as small as reading a newspaper article to as big as starting a blog. Just one thing a day will take you step by step in the right direction, instead of staying paralysed by the enormity of your task. The problem isn’t where will I be in ten years’ time, its where can I go and what can I do right now? There are many other ways to pull yourself into the present: strenuous exercise, a walk in the park, meditation, getting a dog – they’re a constant reminder of how pleasant the present is.

4) Steady your nerves:

There are always people out there looking to get at you. To intimidate you, to rattle you, pressure you into making decisions. It could be scaremongering journalists reporting on the doom-inspiring job market, your parents pressuring you (against their best intentions), the expectations of your friends and the comparisons you put on yourself. Everyone wants you thinking and acting on their terms, not yours. The question is, are you going to let them? Nerve is a matter of acceptance: Well, I guess it’s on me then. I don’t have the luxury of being shaken up by this or replaying close calls in my head. I am too busy and this is too important. Every time someone gets in your face about your job hunt, just remember that you are in complete control, and no-one else.

5) Ignore the limitations of your peers:

FedEx, Walt Disney Company, Revlon, Hewlett-Packard, UPS, United Airline, Microsoft. Impressive, established and successful companies that all got their start in a depression or economic crisis. The founders of these companies were not scared off by the failings of their peers and neither should you be. So if other graduates around you are bemoaning their fortunes, just know that they don’t have to be yours also. Focus on yourself and no-one else.

6) Amor Fati:

The ancient Roman idea of amor fati – loving everything that happens – will stand you in good stead as you move forward in your job hunt. Take a lesson from Thomas Edison, who saw his entire life’s work burn to the ground before his very eyes. Instead of getting angry or upset, he turned to his son and said “Go get your mother and all her friends… They’ll never see a fire like this again.” Instead of indulging himself in woe, Edison kept a level head and took advantage of the situation and built up his business again to be almost $200 million more profitable. You can do the same with the challenges in your life by discarding your expectations of how things should happen, embrace what is really happening and accept that there are certain things – especially the bad things – that are out of our control. We don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we feel about it and how we react to it. The goal is not to look on the bright side of everything, but to embrace the good and bad of everything: I feel great about this situation because if it happen, then it was meant to happen, and I am glad that it did when it did. I am meant to make the best of this.

Author: Ryan Holiday is a media strategist, best-selling author and ex-Head of Marketing for American Apparel.

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