Seven Life-Hacks to Ease the Job Hunt
“Motivation, such an aggravation” – well said, Sum 41 (probably referring to a lack of self-motivation during the job hunt)!
In my recent job hunt it was a daily struggle to wake up on time, and feel ready to put in a ton of hours at the library to land a job. Facing low response rates and constant rejection certainly did not help, though I did figure out some clever little “life-hacks” to motivate myself to put in the effort.
Staying motivated is essential if you even want to consider competing in an intensely crowded applicant market. According to InterviewSuccessFormula.com the average number of people who apply to a given job is 118, and only about 20% get an interview. So, you need to stay focused and send in quality applications on the reg.
So, here are my top seven “hunt-hacks” in no particular order (that’s a lie, #7 is key) that helped me stay on track. Of course, motivation works differently for every person so make sure to self-explore and find what works for you.
1) Create a music playlist to make you feel awesome. For me, this is comprised of cheery fast EDM mixed with some oldies (Diana Ross, The Temptations) because I like to dance for my laptop screen and I don’t care who knows it. Listening to various forms of music either motivated me, kept me confident, or provided me with some much needed de-stressing throughout the process. While writing cover letters I listened to my favorite dance music (link to Spotify playlist here) to literally and physically feel different to write a better sales pitch. When I read about company profiles I listened to classical music given its nature for helping you memorize information.
2) Design your own mini-rewards system for completing essential job hunting steps. Did you just send out 10 informational interview requests to complete strangers on LinkedIn? Have a cookie. Literally, I would only allow myself to eat one of the cinnamon rolls my girlfriend hid from me for every cover letter I wrote in the beginning of my hunt. Looking forward to that little treat (or taking a break, watching a show, etc.) kept me going during lull-times with no recruiter interaction or interview invites.
3) Humans need routines, so create one with goal setting for your daily job hunt. Work often gives us that structure – we go in, get on the phone, complete a report, check email, get coffee, whatever. The freedom of working solo feels amazing but for me, it was also preventative. When I created a weekly goal for # of informationals conducted, cover letter reviews edited (thanks Dad!) and new “leads” found and proactively filled my calendar with these meetings or events I felt like I had more of a routine in place to rely on. That prevents you from letting your groggy morning create a haphazard schedule.
4) Environment is key. I was surprised to find that hipster cafes were NOT my best atmosphere for applying – I simply wanted to read whatever books they had laid out next to their suede couches. Instead, I started going to the library because I was surrounded by quiet hard-workers and I believe that that atmosphere reminded me of the daily effort I needed to put in.
5) Breathe in, breath out – meditate! I could and want to write a separate post about the benefits of meditation. It will help realign your job hunting goals, give your cluttered mind some rest, and provide lifetime physical benefits. There are even motivation meditation guides on popular smartphone apps to provide better advice than I’m providing in this post. Try it! How millennial do I sound?!
6) Explore how landing a job could help people OTHER THAN YOU. For me, I knew landing a job would mean my friends wouldn’t offer to buy me dinner because of my unemployment, or I would stop complaining every day to my girlfriend. If you can’t figure that out yourself you can always…..
7) Seek out external motivation via a friend or perhaps…an MBA-graduate coach to help nudge you along! You knew it was coming, we were going to make this pitch. A friend could maybe promise to not play FIFA with you until you get a job or apply to 10 (this is a polarizing motivation tactic that would definitely work for me when I was 20…or probably now too). Or your roommate can help check-in on your goals each week.
Still, there is a lot of bias there and discomfort asking for help (and maybe your friends are less qualified to coach or edit your effort). That’s why we’re here -- to help provide you with an accountability partner that keeps you confident and focused though we know you are already capable on your own. Hopefully the tricks above help you while you work independently, and if you’re looking for more of that #7, we’re here to chat.