The job search can be a daunting thing and often brings with it a wide range of emotions. It’s crazy, isn’t it? One day you’re flying high because you found a listing for your dream job, and the next, you’re eating a tub of ice cream in your sweats while inwardly (or outwardly!) weeping because, despite your highly personalized cover letter and well-organized resume, you haven’t received a response.
Yep, this is the job search. And honestly? Sometimes it really sucks.
With all of the ups and downs, it’s important to take care of yourself while you’re searching for a job. You might expect me to start listing practical tips on how to job search—and we’ve offered a lot of advice on the career search on this very blog—but that’s not what this particular post is about.
Today I want to talk about tips for dealing with the emotional rollercoaster that is the job search.
Some people never have trouble quickly moving from one job to the next, but for a lot of us, that isn’t the case. And when you’re switching careers, the job search can feel even more stressful. You might wonder if you made the right decision, or whether it was worth it, after all, to invest in your bootcamp.
For those who are continuing a job search longer than you'd like, this post is for you.
Here are my top tips for taking care of yourself during the job search.
There’s a lot to be said about having a steady routine! Even if you aren’t working, having structure in your day is important.
Research shows that maintaining a daily routine will help battle symptoms of anxiety and depression by adding an element of consistency and order. A lot of the stress of the job search is that there’s so much that is unknown or out of our control, so it makes sense that having a rhythm to your day would help you feel calmer.
So if you’re someone who likes to wake up early in the morning to get a head start to your day, continue to do so. If you enjoy working out at a certain time in the day, keep it up. Regardless of whether you have a 9-5 job to go to, maintaining these daily habits will wire your brain to know what to expect.
Essentially, when you are in a place in your life where there are days where your life feels anything but orderly, look for ways to add consistency. It sounds simple, but keeping up good habits is a great way to lift your mood.
It’s Okay to Feel Discouraged
Let’s face it: There will be times during the job search where you will feel discouraged. I say that you should let yourself feel upset if you need to. It’s okay to feel upset if you don’t get a job you really want! And frankly, having to continue to send cover letters in the face of rejection can really suck.
What’s not okay is to get stuck in being upset, or to keep up a “smile through the pain” attitude.
While I’m a huge advocate of mourning the loss of a potential new job (because yes, it really is a loss), I’m also a strong believer in getting back up and trying again.
Some people may clinch the job after missing out on one other opportunity they wanted, but for others, the job search may require you to recover a number of times.
But let me tell you (and this is one of the most important takeaways from this post): Your self-worth and value are not tied to getting the job.
Need to hear that again? Okay.
YOUR SELF-WORTH AND VALUE ARE NOT TIED TO GETTING THE JOB.
Being rejected for a job does not take with it your skills, perspective or anything else that makes you uniquely you. So yes, cry it out if need be, and sit in your sweats and eat that pizza. But tomorrow, get up again, put on your professional attire (literally or figuratively) and start applying once more.
(Real talk: There may come a point where you truly do feel despair and depression during the job search. If that’s the case for you, reach out for help.)
Fake It Til You Make It
No, I don’t mean pasting a fake smile on your face until you get the job. What I mean here is that whether you’re currently transitioning careers, have been laid off, or are simply on the job hunt for the first time (or not-so-first time), there are ways to stay sharp and prep for the job you are looking to fill.
For example, new coding bootcamp grads must continue to practice coding in order to keep their skills sharp and stay relevant in the field. This might mean that they do any or all of these:
create new projects and polish their portfolio
seek out a more advanced peer or a mentor for advice
continue networking and attending events
take a free course to learn something new
Ultimately, the question you need to ask yourself is, “What would I be doing if I were at an office job right now?” and then do that.
Talk About It—Or Don’t
While it can relieve some stress, talking about every step of your job search with friends or family isn’t always going to make you feel better.
Why? In a job search, there are many emotions flying around. (There’s that emotional roller coaster again.) The job search can be intense, and reliving every detail can be exhausting, both for you and for the people acting as your sounding board.
By all means, share your experiences to work through it when you need to, but keep in mind that in some cases, talking it out can have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for.
Ever heard that good news sometimes is best kept to yourself? Well, in this case, it just may hold true. If you’re excited about a lead but want to avoid the added pressure from others checking in (even though they have the best of intentions), maybe you should take the route of not talking about it! It’ll make it all the sweeter when you pop that bottle of bubbly in celebration of landing a job.
If you do want to talk it through, the usual rules apply: Don’t monopolize conversations with the minutiae of your search, and read the cues your audience is giving you. If their eyes are glazing over, it’s time to discuss something else. Even if you’re focused on finding a new role, you’re still someone with interests and hobbies to share!
Look Toward the Light at the End of the Tunnel
If there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that our capacity to rebuild is astonishing. Your ability to adapt and learn goes deep, so remind yourself that the job search does end and you just may find yourself pleasantly surprised about where you end up. When you’re on the other side of the job search, you’ll find yourself with a new role and the life lessons that this process brought with it.
How DigitalCrafts Helps Coders Land the Job
As a DigitalCrafts student, you'll receive career support as part of your bootcamp. Along with the rest of the team, I’ll do everything I can to help you get ready for the career search, whether that’s teaching you how to create a killer resume or showing you how to organize your portfolio to make a great impression on potential employers. We’ll also arrange for mock interviews and talks from industry leaders, in addition to student-only webinars.
Got a question about our bootcamps or want to start your application? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or download our curriculum packet today to see how we can help you launch your coding career!