Ways to Stay Positive When Job Searching Post Graduation

Sep 3, 2021

When the excitement of graduating subsides and homework and exams are behind you, it’s time to hit the job boards! It’s intimidating to enter the workforce, to say the least, and finding a job is no small task.  

Maybe you’ve already heard the horror stories of the endless job search. The process can be daunting if you allow it to be; it’s a constant cycle of networking, CV-building, interviewing, follow-up emails, and unfortunately rejection. Job searching takes resilience and perseverance, that’s why being in the proper mindset can make all the difference in the end.

Ways to Stay Positive when you are on the hunt for your first position.

Manage Expectations

First, and foremost you have to prepare yourself for what you’re getting into. You’ll want to fuel yourself with a sense of direction and purpose. Set career goals that align with your interests, experience, and future plans. Do your best to paint a picture of what you’re looking for in both a company, and the role you’ll be performing, but remember to be flexible and adaptable. Try writing down characteristics of yourself and what you’re looking for, and keep track of the types of jobs you’re applying to that align best with your work ethic.

You’ll want to find the balance between limiting yourself into a specific niche, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Based on your experience and knowledge, you’ll want to identify the job that you feel you have the best chance at being hired for.  However, if something piques your interest that isn’t your exact expertise sometimes it can be worth taking a chance on. Overall, if your search is too narrow you may struggle to find opportunities, but at the same time, you’ll discourage yourself if you’re constantly applying to jobs that just aren’t a good fit for you. It’s all about finding a balance.

Other tangible goals and expectations that you can set include the amount of time you put aside for searching and the amount of jobs you want to apply for each week. Setting realistic expectations for how often you should be looking will help you stay motivated and give you objectives to work towards that aren’t specifically earning a job offer.

Set a Schedule

Once you’ve laid out what you expect from yourself in your job search, building out a routine can be a great way to get ahead of the job hunt. As author and philanthropist Tony Robbins said, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” As part of your day-to-day, set aside dedicated time to search for jobs in your field, tailor your resume, and fill out applications. 

To help beat feeling overwhelmed you can break up the tasks and schedule them throughout the day or week. By designating time and intention, you’ll keep the job search from consuming your thoughts, and you’ll be able to gain perspective on how much you’re putting in and getting out. 

Without a schedule, you may end up with a misguided view of your time; thinking you’re putting more or less into it than you are. If you think you’re not doing enough, or if you think you’re doing too much with no results it’ll be easy to get discouraged.

A helpful tip is to set a timer for each task to keep you on track and focused!

Use Meditation and Positive Affirmations

Apart from the physical tasks that will keep you on track, it’s also important to check in with your thoughts and emotions.  Keeping a positive mindset in times of challenge takes work. Meditation is a great way to connect with and ground yourself, especially in times of uncertainty. It’s a useful tool for stress management, attitude adjustment, and can even offer a boost in energy. 

Either through meditation or on its own, another great tool to use is positive-affirmations. Taking the time either at the start or end of the day to empower yourself can be a great way to keep a positive outlook, and improve self-confidence. This is important in a job search especially if you’re receiving rejections, or you’re dealing with nerves and doubt. Taking the time to remind yourself of your value and strengths will help you remember you are an asset to the companies you are applying to work for. 

When faced with rejection, work to frame it in a more positive light. Any successful leader will tell you failure is part of growth, consider this quote from entrepreneur Robert F. Smith, “With the process of discovery, you fail a lot…and you learn a great deal from those failures, so the next time you can avoid those mistakes.” When it comes to not getting the job, avoid internalising any rejection. Instead, recognise that each interview is practice for the next, and you’re continuously learning and improving.

Stay Connected to Passions and Interests

Through this process, make sure to set aside time for the things you love. This can be both outside of work or even within your desired field. If your passion aligns with your career goals, continuously find ways to remind yourself why you enjoy the field you’re in. Whether it be building out your skills, or learning more on a new idea, you’ll be able to connect your motivation to more than just finding a job, but to your passion as well.

If you have passions that don’t align with your career goals, taking the time to connect with the interests that make you happy is still important. It’ll help you to keep positive and upbeat and break up the monotony of your day-to-day search. 

Focus on Controllable Tasks

The best way to stay positive in a job search is to focus on the things that you have control over. You can’t control the response of the employers: whether they will hire you or not. You can’t really control how long this process will end up taking you. Whether you find a job tomorrow or six months from now, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take control of your process and your mindset. 

Intrinsically, take the time to check in on your expectations and what will come of your job search, and keep track of your overall feelings through the process. While you’re putting in the work to make things happen and managing a schedule that fulfills your needs, remember to take time to breathe, ground yourself, and validate all that you’ve accomplished up to this point.

Remember any company would be lucky to have you as part of their team! Through all the nerves embrace how exciting this time can be post-graduation. There is nothing but opportunity awaiting you and you’ve got everything it takes to seize the day!

Concluding thoughts

It’s important to prepare yourself to enter the job search with a clear, positive mindset and a well organised plan. This is a time of transformation and change, but it will open you to new possibilities and could be the start of an incredible career. Remember to stay in control, do your research, and keep on schedule, all while using your passions and other interests to stay centered and grounded. 

When you are ready to make the job search your own you can rely on the good advice of a graduate career coach. This can be the extra push you need, and a guide towards your best direction.

Embrace this time in your life as you continue on your way to success and remember you will be unstoppable!

Featured photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

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