How to Maintain Confidence During at Long Job Search
Most of us start the job search with enthusiasm. We have a successful work history, one backed by a team of top-notch references and a resume that stands out from the crowd. Any employer would be lucky to hire us, and soon a lucky one will.
Then comes the lack of responses, dead-end leads, and admitting to friends and family, “No, no, still looking.” The longer this cycle continues, the more at-risk we are of losing our self-confidence. That is a problem, too, because when the opportunity arises, we need to project confidence to convince any hiring manager to trust in our abilities. Thankfully, there are ways to replenish your confidence during a lengthy job search.
This time with gratitude
Rejection is a bitter but inevitable part of any job search. While a rejection results from any number of reasons—many having nothing to do with you—it still stings of rebuff. To reduce rejection’s dip into your confidence reserves, reframe your mindset.
Instead of focusing on the application that fell through, focus on the one you are working on. Consciously acknowledge your accomplishments before bedtime, both present and life-long. And engage in gratitude training. This training draws your mind from emotions like envy, regret, and dejection and re-centers it on more positive ones—which research shows is excellent for your health, too. Try gratitude meditation or keeping a journal.
Remind yourself of you
One reason the job search drains confidence is that we tend to entwine our jobs with our self-worth. Jobs are a source of pride, an outlet for creativity, and a place where we help others. Being between jobs leaves a hole where we usually found self-validation.
To bolster your confidence, consider the valuable roles in your life: parent, spouse, sibling, child, friend, mentor, confidant, or even guildmate. These roles bring value to your life and the lives of others. Recognize that value and take this time to re-invest in those relationships.
A mind-and-body problem
You need to exercise, eat healthily, and enjoy plenty of sleep. Study after study after study has shown the benefits to this trinity of healthy living. Research has also linked the trio to reduced levels of depression, and depression is a major drain on confidence.
Unfortunately, job searches often detach us from a daily schedule. Days of networking, tailoring your resume, and hunting down leads begin to bleed together, while interviews and phone calls can disrupt routines. This can lead us to unhealthy habits, such as quick bites at Wendy’s or late nights binging Schitt’s Creek (again). As such, be extra conscientious of your daily habits, especially once the search devolves into a grind.
It’s dangerous to go alone
Job searches tend to be isolating. It’s just you, your desk, and a resume database to scour. This loneliness can siphon confidence when it removes you from people—those we can talk to, those who will listen, and those we just enjoy being with.
So, get out there and be with people! That can mean socializing, spending time with family, taking a side gig, or volunteering your time. Being with others invigorates your sense of connection and community, which boosts those feel-good hormones in the brain. And with those, confidence.
However, if your job search has resulted in a deep and long-lasting depression, you may want to seek professional help. Someone you can talk to, so you don’t have to go it alone.
The confidence trap
Confidence is not a character trait; it’s not something you either have or you don’t. It is a frame of mind, a way to see the world and your place in it. The above suggestions aren’t grand gestures. They are small, daily activities, but they accumulate over time to reframe your mindset and refill your confidence reserves.
A lengthy job search is painful. But you will succeed in the end. It only takes time and effort. Not only will these suggestions help you maintain confidence, but they can make the interim just as meaningful and fulfilling as when you finally land the job.