Today, I’m here with tips on how to stay sane during a job search! I just finished my first full-time job search and thought I’d share my conclusions. Before I dive in, I feel like a few things should be mentioned. First, as a millennial with almost zero obligations (no kids, very few bills) who could live with my parents during the search, I didn’t have as much pressure as others who have to do a job search while working full-time, etc. However, I hope my tips will be helpful no matter what your situation!

  1. Concentrate your search
    1. Instead of widening the net to every single application that you’re even slightly interested in, consider concentrating your search so that you only apply to jobs that you are reasonably excited about and have a reasonable chance of scoring a phone interview.
    2. When you find a job posting, consider the following questions:
      1. Does this job align with my goals?
      2. Does it provide what I’m looking for (opportunities, salary, benefits)?
      3. If it requires a compromise, is it a compromise I’m willing to make?
      4. Will I enjoy the day-to-day tasks of this job?
      5. Can I succeed in this position?
      6. Will I thrive in the work environment (size of the company, type of office, etc.)?
    3. Narrow your list
      1. Putting together a tailored cover letter takes a lot of time and energy. Instead of casting the widest possible net, try to focus on a select few applications at a time (if you’re not in a rush). At the very least, work on narrowing down your list, so you don’t waste your valuable time.
  2. Tailored Cover Letter + Resume
    1. I had a good response rate to the applications that I sent out, and I think this is largely because I really worked hard to tailor each letter and resume to the position. Always look over your resume to see if you should remove something that’s not important to the position, or perhaps you should add something!
    2. Your cover letter should include a story about how you think you’re the perfect person for the job. What inspires you? How does it align with the company’s mission? What are the skills you will contribute? Technical as well as soft skills are important to highlight here.
    3. Make sure to read the company website thoroughly and get a feel for the company’s culture. How will you fit? What new things will you bring?
  3. Take Breaks!
    1. It can be depressing, tiring, frustrating, and so many other things to go through a job search. Make sure to take breaks and recenter yourself. Remember, everyone goes through the job search. It can take a long time, however, remain positive. Take a moment to recognize that there are thousands of jobs out there (especially in larger cities), it’s only natural that it’s taking a while for you to find the perfect position that fits your interests and skills!
    2. Other suggestions for destressing:
      1. Eating/making food. Bake! Make some pasta! Make dinner for your friends!
      2. Take a walk, go hiking, explore the neighborhood.
      3. Change the scenery: Work on your apps at home one day, at a cafe another day, and maybe at a park on another!
  4. Chat with others on the job search
    1. Another thing I found helpful was connecting with people who were also on the job search. It was a good way to get a reminder that I wasn’t alone in the quest, and that we could all support each other (either through moral support or suggestions for open job applications). We’re all in this together!
  5. Interviews are Fun!
    1. Okay, I know not everyone shares this sentiment. But I’m someone who genuinely enjoys interviews. I love chatting with my prospective employers and colleagues. Remember that this should be a semi-positive experience. No one is going to ask you to invent something out of thin air – it’s about assessing the fit and understanding your current knowledge/abilities.
    2. Still, I get SO NERVOUS before an interview. A reminder for you (as well as for me), the interview shouldn’t be a terrible process. Remember, you’re interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. You’re trying to find the best fit.

So breathe, try to remain positive and complete your job quest! Good luck!