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Avoiding Job Search Frustration: 5 Tips to Stay Motivated and Get Hired

A woman sitting at a coffee shop searching for jobs.


Avoiding Job Search Frustration: 5 Tips to Stay Motivated and Get Hired

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Finding a new job is never easy. In addition to the hard work and attention you have to devote to the job search itself, the longer the process goes on, the more likely you are to deal with job search frustration. While 35% of job seekers find work within five weeks, unfortunately another 35% spend fifteen weeks or more job hunting. Is it any wonder most job seekers are on the constant verge of burnout?

The Basis of Job Search Frustration

If you’re in the thick of looking for a new position, you know that some days it feels as if there is no end to job search frustrations.

  • Unreliable communication. Some hiring managers take a whimsical view of deadlines, leaving you to suffer in silence.
  • Changing market demands. Unreliable communication. Some hiring managers take a whimsical view of deadlines, leaving you to suffer in silence.
  • Changing market demands. Due to fluctuating needs, jobs openings might be here today, gone tomorrow.
  • Unrealistic requirements. Entry-level positions requiring ten years of experience? What is going on?
  • Low compensation offers. Knowing your worth and value makes lowball offers even doubly frustrating.
  • Constant stress of the search. “No days off” shouldn’t apply to looking for a job. Yet for some people, that’s exactly how it feels.
  • Exhaustion with the process. At some point in every job search, you’ll find yourself saying, “I’m so tired of this! I just want a job. Any job!” You’re so ready to be done, but you can’t stop yet.

Though job search frustrations feel never-ending, by far, the hardest aspect of job searching is having to deal with rejection.

Handling Job Application Rejection

Though rejection is part of the job search process, it doesn’t have to derail you from making progress.

Job application rejections are never easy to deal with, but one of the best ways to deal with them is to learn from them. Use what you learn to level up your next application.

We recently connected with Tanja Sternbauer, CEO and co-founder of The Female Factor regarding how to handle job search rejections

She believes many rejections are due to applicants failing to take into consideration the latest technologies; namely, how Application Tracking Systems (ATS/ATMs) work:

Especially because of the rigidity of some ATMs softwares, any small frill of your CV can sabotage your chances of being selected.

Make sure your CV is ATM friendly. Some basic things to take into consideration:

  • Use web friendly fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri.
  • Don’t overuse italic, bold or underline.
  • Make sure you stay away from any tables. ATMs hate them.
  • Make sure you upload your CV in both PDF and doc/docx. Some ATMs still don’t see the PDF.

Sternbauer also recommends that the process will feel less frustrating if you’re able to exercise patience. At the same time, she believes you should make the best use of your time while waiting to hear back from hiring managers: “Take a course which will make you stand out, or get into an internship, even if it is not directly related to your desired position. The more coverage you get in the workforce, the better, and you can benefit from this greatly.”

This is wonderful advice.

Unfortunately, no matter how much attention and care you invest in the hiring process, some potential employers will still reject you.

The best response to being rejected is to submit a new application elsewhere.

When Potential Employers Ghost

You’ve been communicating with a potential employer and then suddenly, nothing. When it comes to why potential employers ghost, sometimes the problem is not with you. It’s them. Their staffing needs or hiring approach may have changed. Informing you may be low on their to-do list.

In any case, trying to determine why a potential employer has ghosted may be futile. Instead, you’d be better served focusing your attention on how to handle your feelings in the wake of a fresh ghosting.

When a potential employer stops communicating, here’s what you should do:

  • Follow up. Recruiters and hiring managers fall ill, go on vacation, and suffer technological setbacks just like the rest of us. If they haven’t answered one email, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve ghosted. Be sure to follow up again and politely request a status update.
  • Recalibrate. While it’s not always your fault when a potential employer ghosts, you should take advantage of the opportunity to improve before moving forward with new opportunities. Perhaps your resume could use a stiff edit. Do your interview skills need some work? Consider how you can make a stronger impression next time.
  • Press on. Applying for jobs is like spinning plates. Until you’ve signed on the dotted line, you should always have an application in process with the next best option on your list.

Staying motivated in the face of ghosting and rejection is never easy, but there are strategies you can put in place to help you manage your feelings and stay engaged in the process for as long as it takes to land a job.

Avoiding Job-Search Frustration: 5 Tips Stay Motivated and Get Hired

Staying motivated in the face of job search rejection isn’t easy. Yet with the right mindset in place, you can deal with the hurdles when they arise. Though the job hunting process can be frustrating there are certain strategies you can put into place to help you cope. No matter how many openings you apply for, and no matter how long the process takes, remember this: you only need one yes.

Avoiding job search frustrations require tips to manage the self.

Tip 1: Align your search with your passions.

Finding out what you’re passionate about and aligning your job search with your passions can be key to keeping you motivated over the long haul.

How do you find a job you are passionate about?

  • Think about the activities you enjoyed most as a child. When you were a kid, you would routinely spend hours invested in your favorite activities, with no thought of pay and no desire to quit. Reconnecting with these passions can help point you toward a career path you will find personally rewarding.
  • Try something new. Before you make a career leap, spend some time trying new avenues and activities, perhaps even volunteering to see how certain roles might suit you. Many people have stumbled upon their passions this way without experiencing the pressure of having to perform for a paycheck.
  • Work with recruiters. In addition to connecting you with new opportunities, recruiters sometimes offer job coaching as well, helping you prepare strategic answers to interview questions, giving you tips on dealing with hiring managers, and walking with you step-by-step through the job search process. As recruiters get to know you, they also may be able to weigh in on how you can best pursue your passions.

A major advantage of aligning your job search with your passions is that the motivation to do what you love can help carry you through the long waits between offers and the inevitable job application rejections.

Tip 2: Clock in and clock out.

Sometimes when you’re looking for a job, the process can bleed into your entire day. You’re scrolling through job search sites over lunch, answering recruiter emails in bed at night, and checking for updates as soon as you open your eyes in the morning.

This approach will not only lead to burnout, but it will also ratchet up your job search anxiety exponentially.

Instead, treat your search like a part-time job. Clock in and clock out of the process at set times during the day. Give yourself permission to focus on other things and enjoy some rest while you’re “off the clock.”

Tip 3: Include others into the process.

There’s an old African proverb that states: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Often, the speed of the job search process is not something we can control. Because we have little say in the timing, we can become anxious and discouraged.

One way to handle job search frustration is to seek support from others. Keep friends and family updated on your job search process. Share the highs and lows, and express your feelings to others.

Online communities and message boards for job seekers can be great places to connect and network with others going through similar experiences.

Tip 4: Solicit feedback.

If possible, seek feedback from prospective employers who interviewed you but, decided not to hire you.

Though it can be tough to hear why you were passed over for a job, you can learn and grow from the answers you’re given. The changes you make in light of feedback can boost your confidence in your next interview.

Tip 5: Schedule breaks.

One of the best ways to prevent job search burnout is to schedule breaks.

According to the American Psychological Association, breaks are absolutely vital for persevering over the long haul: “Taking regular breaks helps us to be more resilient when stressors arise, and they function as an intervention to help us deal with the daily grind.”

A break from the search can give you just the energy you need to power up and try again.

Ready to Put Your Job Search Motivation to Work?

Now that you’re equipped to deal with job search frustration, check out these resources and further prepare yourself to land a perfect job offer:

Is Technology a Good Career Path in 2021?

Queer Careers: How to Get a Job and Be Your Whole Self at Work in 2021

Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Cosmetology

Team Lensa
Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

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