There’s no sugar coating it: Times are rough across the board.
If you have a job, you might be living in constant fear that you’ll be one of the unlucky ones in the next round of layoffs. If you don’t have a job, you might be sending out multiple job applications a day and only to be met with radio silence.
Neither situation is fun, but this is the economy — and the world — we’re living in right now. So, what the heck are job seekers supposed to do?
Well, my advice to you is two-fold, and it doesn’t just involve the job hunt itself. While you’re frantically looking for a new job, you can’t neglect your own well-being — it’s important to stay sane and centered when everything around us feels out of control.
So let’s start with that, shall we?
Self-Care Tips for Job Seekers in the COVID-19 Economy
Neglecting your mental health during these times is only going to make job hunting, and life in general, much more difficult. So, here are some self-care tips for job seekers.
Keep some sort of routine
Trust me, I know how easy it is to get lured into the trap of sleeping all day and doing absolutely nothing when you’re unemployed. But keeping some sort of routine can really be beneficial for your mental health, especially if you’re prone to depression.
You don’t need to have a full-on regimented schedule. It can be something as simple as committing to cooking a healthy breakfast, going on a walk after you eat, and then spending an hour doing something devoted to your job hunt. Keep your routine simple so it will be something you actually stick to.
Use your support network
Now isn’t the time to put on a brave face and keep all your stress to yourself. It’s totally and completely normal to be stressed out, anxious, depressed, or all of the above right now. Opening up about this to your support network — whether it’s your friends, family members, or your online therapist — can really help.
Your loved ones are there for you! They want to help. We can all use a little extra love and humor these days, and that’s what your friends are for. Chatting with other friends in your shoes who are also job hunting can be great support, too. You can commiserate and offer each other advice, support, and encouragement.
When you’re feeling stressed and miserable about the job market and the pandemic, it’s easy to forget to have fun! We have to do something that we enjoy to lighten the mood and lift our spirits. Everybody’s idea of fun is different, so do what’s most fun for you: video games, sports, crafting, playing an instrument, hiking…you name it. Fun hobbies will give you something to keep you busy with while also boosting morale.
Practicing acceptance is easier said than done, but with practice, this skill can be very helpful. Think about it: no matter how much we curse the universe for bringing about this pandemic and job market, wishing things were different, we can’t change it. We can’t wish the situation away, and doing so is a waste of your probably already depleted energy. You have no choice but to accept the reality of the situation and make peace (or something like peace) with it. Accept the new reality and put your energy towards adapting to it.
Get back to the self-care basics
There are so many little things you can do everyday that can make a big difference in how you’re feeling. To name a few:
- Remember the health basics: drink enough water, get enough sleep, and eat a balanced diet
- Exercise, not just for your physical health, but for your mental health, too
- Use relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation in moments of heightened anxiety
- Try journaling to put your thoughts onto paper and externalize your feelings to help make sense of them
- Practice gratitude by listing a few things you’re grateful for everyday
These tips are important even when there’s not a pandemic on, but following these suggestions should put yourself in good shape mentally and emotionally for the job search.
Job Hunting Tips For Our Current Economy
Now that you know how to take care of yourself so you’re in the right state of mind for job hunting, here are some job hunting specific tips.
- Spread the word that you’re looking for work. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about if you’re out of work right now, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed being vocal about it — there’s something like 30 million people out of work at the moment. Let your friends and family know that you are looking for work, and let them know what kind of positions you’re open to. To broaden that reach, you can even post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You never know who might be hiring or know somebody who is hiring. Additionally, if someone hears about a job opportunity in your field, they will know that you’re looking and be able to connect about it.
- Use your professional network. Yes, good old fashioned networking. People love to stress the importance of networking, but that’s because it works! Having a network of professionals in the same or similar field as you can be very helpful when you’re job hunting. Even if you don’t have a network, per se (yet!), head to LinkedIn and make a profile. Connect with old coworkers and managers from past jobs. Shoot them a nice message wishing them well, and ask if they know if their organization is hiring.
- Join niche Facebook groups. There are so many Facebook groups out there made for networking within specific industries, interests, or locations. A quick Facebook search for your industry or interests, plus your location, and you’ll likely find a bunch of options. You might have to fill out a little questionnaire when you request to join and it might take a few days to be accepted, but it’ll be worth it. Once you’re in the groups you can check out job postings by others and form both professional and personal relationships with other group members.
- Explore all avenues. There are so many ways to find open positions. Don’t make the mistake of just looking at one job board. Here are some ideas of where you can find job listings.
So there you have it! Take care of yourself and be patient with the job hunting process. Even in pre-COVID times, finding a job was no easy feat. So be patient. Also, one bright spot — so many organizations have gone remote that you may be able to land a dream job far beyond the limits of your current location.
If there’s one thing that can bring us a little bit of comfort, it’s that we’re all in this together, and eventually, this will turn around.