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From Unemployment to Insights: Navigating Job Search Disappointment

As a job seeker, I can attest to the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with unemployment and job search. From the initial excitement of finding a job post that aligns with your skills and interests to the disappointment of receiving rejection emails or worse - being ghosted, the journey can be both exciting, nerve racking, anxiety inducing and just plain tough. In today's employer driven job market, it's essential to equip yourself with strategies to cope with disappointment and maintain a positive mindset throughout job search. That doesn't mean you won't have a bad day or few days. That doesn't mean fake it. It means, do your best to find the positive when you can. When you cannot, process it and do your best to move forward once you have. I am not a therapist or licensed medical or mental health provider. I am just a recruiter who happens to have Positivity in my top five (Strength Finder IYKYK! FWIW, my top 5 are: Activator, Input, Ideation, Positivity, Maximizer). Being a positive person doesn't mean you're oblivious to negative or do not encounter it. It can mean you're able to find sweet amongst the sour. Doesn't mean the sour isn't happening and doesn't suck. Again, I am not a mental health professional. I am sharing from my own personal experience. I'm not perfect at following this. But when I catch myself falling to far in one direction, I do try to catch myself. I won't lie to you, you know that. It's all easier said than done.

I am fully prepared for the potential backlash this post may cause. I hope it does not, but the reality is, there are job seekers out there that are well over 365 days into their job search that are feeling they have little to no prospects. I want to be sensitive to everyone. This post is either for you or it isn't and that is okay. Maybe if it isn't for you, it is for someone else in your network. Again, easier said than done. I've done this for me and stayed on the path most healthy for me. But even in just 5 weeks or so it hasn't always felt healthy. I'd imagine 6+ months into a job search or much more would make all of this even harder. Just another reason to double down on the selfceare and strategy of your job search equally.

Let's explore some tips on how to navigate through the challenges of job hunting and prioritize self-care in the process. I cannot promise these will work for everyone in every situation but I do hope you're able either see that, "Oh I do that or I am doing that" and/or "Maybe I will try that" or "Maybe I will share this with others".

Understanding the job market is so helpful for job seekers for several reasons. Before diving into the intricacies of dealing with disappointment during job search, it's crucial to have a realistic view of the current job market landscape. The state of hiring in the United States is constantly evolving, influenced by many factors such as economic conditions, industry trends, and technological advancements. And let us not forget that 2024 is an election year. Election years historically have always impacted the job market. On top of understanding the job market, understanding what's going on with your local and national economy is must. By staying informed about the state of hiring, job seekers can set realistic expectations and tailor their job search strategies accordingly the best they can.

How? Research, networking, ask people you trust about it, ask other job seekers and recruiters about it.

I've personally learned and witnessed with other job seekers that managing expectations is paramount. Job seekers must find a balance that works for them when managing expectations. One of the common sources of disappointment during the job search is mismatched expectations. It's natural to envision landing a job immediately, but the reality is often different. The job market today is an employer's job market and it is competitive. From my vantage point and discussing it with other job seekers and recruiters, the hiring process went from rapid pace in 2021 and 2022 to back to being lengthy AF in a lot of cases. Employers are paying less than they historically have in the past few years and experience/qualification requirements seem to be increasing. Applying for a role and waiting for a call or email is going to hurt every job seeker's feelings (including mine!). Applying and networking are important. In a job market like today's, your network is your best bet to help you land your next role. Do not be afraid to ask for introductions, etc. By managing your expectations and understanding that setbacks are a part of the journey, you can approach the job search with a more resilient mindset.

I wouldn't be your recruitingSHEro if I didn't remind you the importance of self-care during times of unemployment and job search. You do not need to job search and network 24/7. Make sure you're filling your own cup along the way. Especially during a stress inducing time. Lack of communication from employers leaves job seekers riddled with uncertainties. Self-care looks different for each of us, but it can literally be an activity someone enjoys or finds peaceful or positive. Like going for a walk or some type of exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, or spending time with hobbies. Focus to find your center. Being unemployed can and likely will have or has impacted every job seeker financially and some to the point where they can't do things that cost money or are afraid to. Find what makes sense for you and your situation. I am not a financial advisor or mental health professional. I am just a recruiter who knows it is crucial to take care of your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health - ALL OF YOU - during your job search to prevent job search burnout and to stay as motivated as you can through it. 

Speaking of burnout, before you get to burnout or at any stage honestly, seek support from your network. Having people around you whether you want them to be there or check in with you or not is important. I don't speak for every recruiter or job seeker but I do imagine every job seeker has navigated disappointment during their job search or even felt isolated. Its super important to remember that you're not alone as a job seeker. I mentioned earlier in this post about managing your own expectations as job seeker. Do not be afraid to reach out to your network, whether it's friends, family, mentors, or fellow job seekers, for support and who knows you may find some encouragement and actionable information to help your job search. Sharing your experiences and challenges with others can provide valuable perspectives and insights to help you navigate through tough times. This blog series isn't called From Unemployment to Insights for nothing. 

In a competitive employer driven job market, it's essential to remain flexible and open to exploring alternative opportunities that may not align perfectly with your initial expectations. I am not saying you should reinvent the wheel or yourself. I am not saying to change your profession, although the possibilities could be endless I suppose. I am say to keep your mind open. Do not allow yourself unconsciously to double down on a fixed mindset and not consider the possibilities. Consider temporary or contract positions, freelance work, volunteering to keep you active and to show your abilities to an organization, or upskilling opportunities to broaden your experience and increase your chances of landing your desired role in the future. I am not saying if you're an engineer who has been unemployed a few months to go back to school and become a plumber (we do need more plumbers and people in trades - shout out to the people doing their thing in school or on the job in trades!). I am just saying maybe take a contract or 1099 type work. I am just saying not to limit yourself temporarily because it could impact you long term down the road.

Keeping that P.M.A. is not always easy when you've been ghosted, given the run around and job searching for far too long. Dealing with disappointment during the job search can test your resilience and optimism. However, maintaining a positive attitude and staying persistent in your job search efforts are key to overcoming setbacks. Celebrate small victories, such as securing an interview or receiving positive feedback, and use them as motivation to keep moving forward towards your career goals. I've had some tough days in the past 4-5 weeks. I have spent whole days in bed over the weekends due to low energy from not hydrating and getting the exercise and nutrition I needed. Depression for sure is what it feels like. If this post helps one person, this blog post is a success. I just want you to know that whether you're a couple of weeks into job search or over a year in, your time is coming. When you're ready try to recenter yourself and be open to your network's help.

Have I rambled on enough? But seriously, job search is not like it has ever been before. What I mean is that as job seekers we cannot approach it like we've always approached it in the past. Not even like we approached 2020. This 2024 job market in the United States is definitely filled with minimal ups and an overdose of downs, but how we navigate through disappointments can shape our resilience and determination. By understanding the current job market, managing expectations, practicing self-care, seeking support, exploring alternative opportunities, and staying positive and persistent, job seekers can effectively cope with disappointment and stay motivated on their career path. Remember, each setback is an opportunity for growth and learning, leading you closer to finding the right job that aligns with your skills and aspirations. Stay resilient, stay positive (that doesn't mean things aren't bad), and keep pushing forward in your job search journey. Thank you for taking the time to read this almost through.

Join me as I share my surprising discoveries and either confirm or debunk my own assumptions about job search and the job market along the way. I invite you to not only follow my job-seeking blog series but to be part of it by sharing your experiences by sharing below in this blog post's comment section. 

Whether it is day one of your job search or day 382, let's buckle up, and survive this job-seeking journey together! In my next post, I will discuss my overall thoughts and experience after one month of unemployment and job search. And of course any new surprising truths I uncover along the way. I do hope this post is helpful to someone. If it is not, thank you for stopping by my blog regardless. Writing this specific post has been a form of accountability for myself. Thank you joining me.

Recruitment and candidate experience are what I am most passionate about professionally, so if you've read to the end and you're not a recruiter, thank you. Hope you got a chance to hear the new PJ track above as well. If you are a recruiter, employed or not, thank you. We're all in this together. Comment below and let me know how you're doing after you've read this post.



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