Looking for a new job can be a time-consuming and at times very frustrating process. If you know yourself and the value you bring to an employer, you are right to be picky about the types of jobs you apply for. That means ensuring that any potential new role matches your skill set, your desired salary, and has the right company culture to suit your needs.
If you have been looking for a while and things are not going your way, here are some tips to keep you motivated in your job search.
It takes time to find a new job
When we decide to change roles, we sometimes expect to find another job immediately, but that is not the case for most of us. Unless you are headhunted by another company or have connections which lead to an immediate interview and job offer, it will take time to find a new position with your ideal company. After all, you can only apply for roles as and when they come up or through speculative applications. It can take anywhere from two to six months to find a new role depending on your chosen industry and your experience, so you need to exercise patience. For this reason, it is best to begin your search two to six months before you plan to leave rather than waiting until you are at your wits’ end. Otherwise, you may develop a scarcity mentality and become frustrated and demoralised quickly if you feel as though your search is taking too long. A scarcity mentality can lead to the temptation to accept something that isn’t one hundred percent right or failure to negotiate the right salary.
There's no such thing as a perfect job
Perfection does not exist in life and at work. If you believe you have found a job that ticks most of your boxes, you had a great interview and feel good about the company, then that is good enough. As you are being interviewed, you should also be assessing if the company is right for you. Once you start your new job, you can make it your own and inject your personality into your new team and your executive’s life. Trying to find the perfect job is a futile experience because the perfect anything doesn’t exist, but you can make it perfect for you. No matter how much you love your job, there will always be things that you don’t like and wish were different or better.
Rejection is not always a bad thing
Rejection is hard, and hearing you didn’t get the job you really wanted after working so hard can be devastating. However, I am here to tell you that sometimes rejection is the best thing that can happen to you. Yes, you heard me and the most important thing is how you deal with it. Blaming yourself and focusing on your faults is not the way forward. Constructive criticism is good. It is always a good idea to look at your weaknesses and see how you can improve so you can go into the next interview better. If you were not chosen for a role then maybe it wouldn’t have been the right fit for you anyway. When one door closes, another opens and there is something better waiting for you.
It’s a numbers game
Job hunting is a numbers game and you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. It is essential to have criteria for your job search but don’t be too restrictive. If you only target two to three companies and they reject you, what then? For this reason, it is best to have an element of flexibility. For example, if you want to work in a creative environment, your search can include brands, magazines, PR, advertising, design, or events/production companies, so keep your options open. Roles in some industries can be scarce and include fierce competition, so restricting the type of roles you apply for will take much longer and decrease your chances significantly. Naturally, the more applications you fill out, the more chances you give yourself to land your next role.
Looking for a job is a full-time job
Be honest with yourself about how much time and effort you are putting into your job search and assess whether you need to double your efforts. Looking for a new job is a job in itself. You have to look at dedicated career sites on a regular basis, do research on each company you apply for, tailor your cover letter to each role, and fill out application forms. If you are applying for a job once in a while, then chances are it will take much longer to find a new role. Therefore, you need to ensure that you put in the level of effort for the outcome you want to achieve.
Ask tough questions
Ask yourself if you are struggling because you have set your goals too high. Are your salary expectations too high for the market? Does your experience match the roles you are applying for? These are self-critical questions that are important to ask to gain control over your situation. For example, you may discover that you need more experience before you land your dream position, in which case a sideways move might be best to take you where you want to be in the long run. If you need a broader range of experience, working for a smaller company can broaden your range of skills so that you have more to offer when you want to upgrade to another role.
Adopt a system and stay prepared
To ensure you stay motivated and endure the duration of your search, it is best to adopt a system that you can stick to no matter what, especially when you feel demotivated. Create a weekly schedule and follow it. Dedicate a specific amount of time to focus on your job search. For example, you could commit to 45 minutes, six times a week. If you write down what you need to achieve and your goals are specific, you are more likely to stick to it, which will help you stay motivated.
Sample: Job Search Schedule
Send 5 speculative applications
Contact 3 agencies in my field
Apply for 3 new jobs
Esohe Ebohon is an executive assistant who is passionate about supporting senior level executives in the fashion industry. She recently launched The Fashion PA Club to connect with other EAs, PAs, and assistants in the fashion industry. She hopes to use the website to create a space to network, collaborate, and share ideas. Outside of work, she enjoys playing tennis, learning languages, and travelling.