If you browse through LinkedIn and other job sites, you will find many success stories and motivational posts intended for job seekers. Perhaps you have stumbled across one of the typical comparisons: one job seeker who never stops, another who “doesn’t try hard enough.” The first relentlessly applies to over three-hundred positions, and after all their hard work, they secure their dream job. The latter will apply to a few jobs, but then, discouraged at the lack of responses, they take a break to watch Netflix. If they have time to watch Netflix, surely they shouldn’t be complaining about being unemployed, right?
Why is it so frowned upon to take a break?
Granted, if you are binging Netflix show after Netflix show without doing any job searching whatsoever, you are practically guaranteed to not find a job. If you are making an effort every day and taking steps to find a position, however, there’s no harm in giving yourself a break: you deserve it. For me, “breaks” can even lead to an epiphany where I realize something to alter or research later. Breaks can help as long as they do not take up the majority of your time.
Small breaks are not a determining factor on whether you find a job; multiple factors go into job hunting. Of course, persistence is necessary, but even if you are the most determined person on the planet, other factors can inhibit you from landing a job. There’s your career field, your experience, your resume, your network, your location, your budget, etc. Some sites require you to pay to network and search for jobs, and that’s not always feasible for someone who is currently receiving no income. Additionally, almost everything is online these days, and some people may not have access to computers or the internet 24/7.
The coronavirus and its economic impacts certainly do not help the situation either. If someone does not have internet access or a computer at home, they can’t simply run over to a public library to utilize a computer until public places start opening up again. People may be wary of returning to the workforce, especially if they (or their family members) have medical issues that make them a higher risk for the virus. Some companies may list their positions as remote even when they are searching for local people, and some companies may list positions that they are not looking to fill until a later date. It can be difficult to navigate through all of this to find a position that meets your needs.
Instead of dismissing a job seeker’s complaints, why don’t we focus on assisting them?
Some people are still unsuccessful after submitting 100+ applications. They put in the work but receive no results. Even after completing many applications, it can be difficult to obtain an interview instead of an immediate rejection letter. I’ve been there, and let me tell you: it sucks. Doing the same thing over and over again is frustrating and does not produce enlightening results. This is why I would suggest trying something different.
Create a new resume. Have a friend or professional look over your cover letter. Use a new site to look for jobs. Try a new job-searching/networking tool. Learn a new skill that you consistently find in job descriptions. Establish a new job-searching routine. Speak to a career counselor. There are so many ways you can mix things up, and you never know-it might be the change you needed to land a job.
It may take many changes; it may take just one. Regardless, something is bound to work. If you have no idea what you can change: research. There are many podcasts and articles out there about job searching. Some may even have conflicting advice, but if you want to try something, go for it. You never know what will work until it does.
Due to the pandemic, there are also plenty of adaptations being made to turn the job search process virtual. There are virtual career fairs, and some companies also offer webinars on their application process. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to virtually connect with new people and expand your network, and email continues to be an essential tool to reach out to people. Don’t let the pandemic halt your job hunt and look into these options.
If you are looking for a job, best of luck to you. If you aren’t but know those who do, support them because it is not an easy task.
While yes, it’s good to be determined, it’s also good to be smart and to continuously look for opportunities despite the circumstances. Do not compare yourself to others and feel as if you need to burn yourself out to find a job. Job searching is like a full-time job that you do have to spend time and effort on to be successful, but after putting in the work, you do deserve the time to sit back and relax for a moment before delving back into job boards and interviews. Keep your head up, and look for improvements everywhere you can. As long as you stay motivated and keep going, you will find a job eventually.