The stresses of your final exams are over. Now the excitement is building over securing that first big role after university. But after that initial period of anticipation and positivity, you realise that searching for a job might take a lot of perseverance, hard work… and rejection.
How will you keep your energy levels up? How will you react when yet another ‘Thank you for your application, but…’ email lands in your inbox?
In this blog I’d like to show you how you can pre-empt a slump in your overall mood and build a little resilience into your search so you can stay upbeat and on track when it comes to finding a job after university. I hope you find it helpful!
1. Find the right balance
There are so many jobs out there, and it can be tempting to apply for everything. What’s that saying, “Throw it against the wall and see what sticks”?! Rather than applying for anything that sounds vaguely within your wheelhouse, take some time to sit down and list YOUR specific skills, attributes, and interests. This way, you can narrow down which roles are a good fit for you and which ones aren’t. Applications take time, and there’s no point wasting yours on a position in which you won’t feel happy or fulfilled.
At the same time, it’s important to be flexible. If your search criteria is too narrow, you might not find enough roles to apply for or quickly dismiss roles that either could be of interest or will push you out of your comfort zone for long-term benefit.
It’s about striking the right balance.
2. Build a routine
Sitting down at 9am to begin your search and logging off at 5pm might not be a sustainable way to approach your job search. But it’s important to create a routine you can realistically stick to.
For example, you could choose a specific part of the day or a day a week to devote to checking LinkedIn or other job websites. You could also decide when to complete job applications or check in with recruiters. Whatever works best for you. Creating structure around your search will help you keep on track and feel more in control.
3. Focus on the positives
The first rejection email comes in…. “Ah well, that company wasn’t quite right for me anyway.”
Rejection number two… “Hmmm, I’m a bit disappointed. But onwards and upwards.”
However, by the 5th or 6th rejection, your self-esteem may start to take a bit of a battering.
Although it may go against your instinct that’s telling you to sit and wallow, try to focus on the positives, such as how many useful connections you’ve made on LinkedIn or applications you’ve managed to submit. There will be many achievements along the way, and it’s important to recognise them and be proud of the hard work you’re putting into your job search.
Why not take this a step further and create some positive affirmations to bolster your self-confidence? For example:
- I’m ready for a new, fulfilling job.
- New job opportunities are coming my way.
- I am getting attention from recruiters.
- I’m open to unique opportunities.
- I’m confident I’ll find my dream job soon.
- I’m a capable candidate and can do well in an interview.
- I’m ready to excel and perform well in a role.
4. Don’t forget your hobbies
Job hunting can be monotonous! Don’t let it dominate every waking thought and every conversation you have with family and friends. Remember to indulge your interests and passions to get a break from it all and give yourself some much-needed headspace.
It’s incredible how many good ideas flow when you step back from what you’re doing and stop thinking about it for a while.
5. Focus on what IS in your control
Enter your job search prepared for what IS and what ISN’T within your control.
You CAN control your outlook, the quality of your CV, job applications, interview preparation, interview demeanour, and how you demonstrate your soft and hard skills to a hiring panel.
You CAN’T control whether you will hear back from a job application or if the final hiring decision goes your way.
Use your energy and focus on the areas you can control instead of dwelling on those you can’t.
6. Use your time to upskill
A great way to boost your confidence is to increase your skills. Are you a confident IT user? If not, why not take an online course to brush up on your abilities?
LinkedIn has thousands of free tutorials, seminars, and online courses, perfect for increasing knowledge and skills. Attending events like these is also a great way to get your name and face out there and interact with prospective companies and hiring managers.
7. Connect with family and friends
And lastly, remember to connect with family and friends if you’re feeling down in the dumps. As with positive affirmations, spending time with our loved ones can be a great way to get a much-needed lift. They want the best for you and will try their hardest to offer helpful advice and make you feel better about yourself and what’s in store for you.
Ready to find a job after university?