8 Ways To Make The Job Search More Fun
Searching for a job is stressful. You put yourself out there to be judged by strangers, you deal with the sting of rejection, and unless you’re working, you’ll find your funds rapidly diminishing. It’s a rough time, and as a result, many people become depressed and begin living unhealthily.
Don’t let this happen to you. While you can’t control every aspect, you control your approach to it and find ways to make it more enjoyable. Here are eight ways to make the job search more fun.
1. Exercise And Be Mindful
The job hunt is chockablock with stressors, but exercise and mindfulness will help you keep calm under that pressure. Stretching reduces the muscle aches associated with tension. Walks and fresh air increase energy and alertness, while mindful breathing flushes your head of those nasty stress hormones.
You can’t enjoy the job search—not to mention life—if you’re freaked out. A little exercise and mindfulness can be just the ticket.
2. Get Together
Socializing isn’t just a fantastic networking technique—it’s a lot of fun too. Take some time to have coffee with a friend or family member and enjoy their company. During the conversation, bring up the job hunt and see if they have any leads.
You can also join professional groups and organizations to make acquaintances in your field. At these kinds of meetings, the conversation will naturally flow toward work.
3. Discover Something New
Now is the time to learn something new. You can pick up a career skill you’ve always wanted but didn’t have time to pursue. Or you can go back to school for a credential or accreditation to strengthen your application.
It doesn’t have to be directly career-related either. Subjects that seem frivolous at first glance can gain you desirable soft skills. A creative writing class, for example, offers you an opportunity to strengthen your communication and presentation skills.
4. Volunteer Work
Volunteering is a wonderful way to make the job search more fun, especially if the activity is in a field that interests you. You could join a work party for environmental conservation or offer your services as a youth basketball coach. These experiences can be fun and rewarding in their own right, but they also provide you with a means to demonstrate your skills. (If you can get an eight-year-old to remember to stay on point guard, what can’t you do?).
And since most volunteer work is community related, you can get in some more networking.
5. Gamify Your Output
Gamification is trendy in business, education, and customer engagement. If you enjoy a little friendly competition, you could give gamifying your job search a try.
Develop a point system where you earn marks for performing job search tasks: networking, reading job listings, submitting resumes, and so on. Then set daily and weekly goals to strive for. If you know someone else on the hunt, perhaps you could turn it into a friendly competition.
Important note: Don’t set goals that are out of your control (e.g., get five callbacks a week). The point of gamifying your job search is to create benchmarks of success that are in your control and empower you to future successes.
6. Reward Yourself
What game is complete without a reward? Create an award system to go with your gamified job search. The key is to have big rewards for weekly accomplishment, while sprinkling in small daily rewards to keep you going.
For example, you could reward yourself with a 15-minute break if you work on your resume for an hour. Then if you manage to send off more than five resumes this week, you treat yourself to a few extra episodes of Atlanta this weekend.
You should also include whole days off in your reward structure. No, not every day is a day off when you’re between jobs. You still need personal days to recharge your mental batteries and prevent burn out.
7. Change Your Look
Kind of like a reward, but different. You’ll have moments in any job search where you’ll feel stagnated. Doing something that creates a physical change will help you overcome that motionless ennui and remind you that you’re moving forward. It can be a new haircut, a makeover, or a fresh style. As a bonus, these can bolster your confidence and presentability when used as part of your interview prep checklist.
8. Outsource The Worst Of It
There are some aspects of the job search that you will loathe. Utterly and completely. Nothing you do will prevent that cringe rolling up your spine before you even start. So why do them? Outsource it instead.
If you hate pouring over every detail of your resume, hire a resume doctor to spruce it up. You can also try automating. Don’t like perusing the job listings? Sign up for an account on a job board that sends you applicable job alerts.
Whatever you can do to weed out these pesky tasks, do it. You’ll enjoy yourself much more that way.
Of course, you can devise your own ways to make the job search more enjoyable. Anything that reduces the stress of the search (exercise), increases your motivation to get on it (gamification), or makes you feel accomplished (rewards) will increase the fun factor. Looking for similar opportunities is the first step toward taking control of your approach to the job search and making it a productive—healthy—time in your life.