10/26/2016 Steph Anderson

5 strategies to survive the job-search waiting game

shutterstock_405214933Virtually everyone experiences a smorgasbord of emotions during their job search. One day you’re excited and optimistic, but the next you’re stressed and worried. Whether you’re waiting for a recruiter’s phone call or the results post-interview, it can go back and forth many times before you finally land the job you really want.

Patience and positivity are key for a successful job search. However, as the saying goes, “It’s easier said than done,” and a job search journey is full of ups and downs. What can job seekers do to maintain momentum and manage those stressful emotions? Consider these five proven strategies:

Manage expectations

You’ll likely apply for many jobs. Odds are you won’t get as many invitations to interview. It’s important to manage your expectations and concentrate on the positives of each experience. Every interview allows you to fine tune your answers to important questions. The people you meet could be valuable additions to your professional network. The job you ultimately turn down because it’s not a great fit could lead you to your dream job.

Hold a power pose

Amy Cuddy of the Harvard Business School points to research that shows, “simply holding one’s body in expansive, “high-power” poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone that can, over time, cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss).”

Focus on what you control

You can’t control everything during a job search. Hope and prayer can’t get your resume through the applicant tracking system. You will never know the qualities other candidates bring to the table. You have no influence over the mood the recruiter is in when you speak to him or her. Instead, focus your energy on the things that you can really impact, such as fine tuning your resume, attending industry events and using LinkedIn strategically.

Maintain structure

With so many steps involved in a job search, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When you crave control and end up with chaos, it’s time to reevaluate. Get your files in order, create step-by-step processes and make a daily schedule for your job hunt. For example, spend the first hour of each day on critical job hunting tasks and then give yourself a break for the rest of the day.

Be self-aware

Think about the moments that stress you most during a job search so you can mentally prepare for those situations. Is it the night before an interview? Is it when you haven’t heard back from a recruiter? Stay motivated by figuring out ways to deal with stress when those events occur.

For example, ask people when you can expect to hear back so you can track those deadlines and follow up as needed. On interview days, try relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation or deep-breathing exercises. If something unexpected occurs, give yourself the day off from job searching activities and start again tomorrow with a fresh mindset.