Kat Boogaard

Dear Kat: How to Keep Your Chin Up During a Long Job Search

Blog Post created by Kat Boogaard on Mar 17, 2017

You’re sending out resume after resume. You’ve filled out so many online applications, you feel cross-eyed. You compulsively refresh your inbox day after day, and still there’s nothing but radio silence.


It’s frustrating, right? All you want is to land a job with an employer who will appreciate and value your skills and expertise. But, you’re not hearing anything back. And, if you ever do finally get a response? It’s usually one of those “Thanks, but no thanks,” form letters.


A job hunt that’s seemingly so fruitless and impersonal can be isolating, discouraging, and disheartening. However, know this much: You aren’t alone. Pretty much every job seeker has been there before—including the submitter of today’s “Dear Kat” question:


“Dear Kat, I’ve been putting my all into my job search, but it just keeps dragging on and on. I’m to the point where I feel like it will honestly never end. Do you have any tips for staying positive, even when my hunt for a job seems completely hopeless?”


First, I won’t deny that it can be tough to keep your chin up during a long job search. Constant rejections (or, worse, not hearing anything back at all!) can be a real blow to your ego. However, allowing yourself to spiral into a cycle of negativity won’t do you any favors in the end.


So, implement these four tips, and you’ll be able to keep moving forward—and eventually land a brand new gig!


1. Take a Moment to Vent

Staying positive doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to take a breath and recognize the fact that you’re frustrated. You’re discouraged (and you have every right to be!), and sweeping those feelings under the rug will likely only lead to a larger blowup later down the line.


So, go ahead and take an hour to vent to a friend or just be in a generally sour mood about your empty inbox or your latest rejection letter. Getting those negative emotions out will help you move on to the next steps with a clearer focus and a refreshed attitude.


2. Switch Up Your Approach

When your job search isn’t going well, it’s tempting to project all of the blame on the employers—after all, they’re the ones who don’t recognize what they’re missing out on, right?


However, it’s important that you also take some time to analyze your own approach and determine what you could do differently. You don’t want to keep doing the same things and expect different results.


Do you need to start tailoring your resume for every job you apply for (yes, that’s something you absolutely should be doing!). Do you need to brush up your LinkedIn profile? Do you need to write a more attention-grabbing cover letter?


Jot down some things that you could adjust in your job search, and then give it a go! It’ll give you a renewed focus and sense of excitement—and maybe even help you make some progress.


3. Get Out of the House

You’re throwing yourself wholeheartedly into your job search—which means you spend hours upon hours parked in front of your computer.


This might seem like a surefire way to be as productive as possible. But, in reality, you’re running the risk of burning yourself out and potentially even missing out on some other opportunities and beneficial connections.


You need to make a concerted effort to get yourself out of the house on a frequent basis. Join a book club, head out to a networking event, or sign up for an industry association. Taking a break from your computer monitor for a little bit will instantly boost your mood. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet (and what other connections and potential opportunities they have!) when you’re out and about.


4. Ask for Recommendations

A fruitless job search is enough to send your self-confidence plummeting to an entirely new low. So, it’s time to figure out how you can boost that back up again—while simultaneously benefitting your chances at employment.


The best way to do that? Ask for some recommendations! Whether you want to beef up your formal reference list or request some additional recommendations on your LinkedIn profile, asking the professional acquaintances that are in your corner to tout your skills and accomplishments is a surefire way to lift your spirits.


And, the best part? It also elevates your professional reputation—thus upping your chances of catching a hiring manager’s attention and finally landing a new job.

A long job search can be frustrating (and that’s putting it lightly). But, allowing a foul mood to overwhelm you will only slow you down in the end. So, take a deep breath and implement these four tips. You’ll be ready to pick your chin up, dust yourself off, and keeping moving forward in no time!