While job search can often feel like another job and while it does take significant time and effort, it shouldn’t be entirely dreary. If you’re not enjoying certain elements of the process, it could be a useful signal for you to take a step back and rethink if your strategy is optimized in your favor, or if you’re slowing yourself down by pursuing a direction that isn’t aligned with you. I recently heard a client tell me, “I wasn’t enjoying the job search process. There wasn’t joy or excitement in the job hunt.” That’s when she knew it was time to reflect and pivot.
First, let’s make clear how you’re slowing your job search down if you’re uninterested in your direction:
- You’ll sound robotic and lose out during your interviews. This is palpable to any interviewer when you’re telling them what you think they want to hear, verus being truly engaged, genuine, excited, authentic, and compelling in why you’re going to be a standout person on the team who not only can get the job done but wants to get the job done, and will have fun doing it.
- You’ll be acting in a “check the box” way: If we see job applications or interviews as something to just check off the list, proving you care little about that opportunity, there is little chance we will go above and beyond to make ourselves known to that company.
- You’ll dread the day, impacting your productivity: What are the odds you will be energized and focused for multiple hours per day if you’re not enthused about the work you’re applying to?
- You’ll create more excuses: Now I’m going to ask you — Is it that you don’t have the time, or do you not have drive? Lack of time will no longer become an issue when your inherent drive and interest takes over.
- Your mind won’t be open to creative ideas and avenues: A successful job search requires a candidate to stand out by proving their thought leadership and genuine interest in a role and company. The only way to go above and beyond is to truly care about the opportunity and the work ahead of you.
- You’ll deteriorate your own mental health: Job search requires patience, persistence, and resilience. It is a difficult endeavor, and you’ll make it quite unsustainable and risk burnout if you’re hating every minute of it.
What exactly should feel fun during my job search?
- Networking and interviews are a mirror into the work you’d be doing: Consider who you want to talk to, and about what. What problems do you care about or find important and interesting? What problems do you want to help solve, how, where, and why?Researching: Learn how research can be an opportunity for you to gain more self awareness, clarity, and strategy in your job search
- Skill Development: This is yet another opportunity for you to decide which skills you’d most enjoy honing, learning about, or adding to your repertoire. Learning about the roles you want to pursue, and what skills they entail, is a great way to ask yourself, do I even want to gain that skill? Would I enjoy learning that skill or using it everyday? You can explore creative self-driven projects that open your mind up to decide what type of work would be interesting for you to delve into on your own, and potentially get paid to do.
So how should I adjust and find joy in my job search so that I can see better outcomes?
- Reflect and ready yourself for a change: Ask yourself: How do I feel about my job search? How do I feel about my direction? Am I interested in it? Do I think it would have an impact if I felt aligned with the direction I am pursuing?
- Recognize that pursuing multiple directions is your downfall: I usually say that if you’re “open” or are actively pursuing more than one role or more than one industry, it’s because you’re likely not sure yet which one of those is the best fit for you. If you’re not sure which is the best fit, how would an interviewer be sure?
- Understand the impact of clarifying your path before you jump back into job search
- Pursue the process of career exploration: Career exploration is a process that is distinct from and a precursor to the job search, including a series of steps of practical learning and self-reflection in order to compare, contrast, and clarify which career path you are confident in pursuing. This can take about 1–3 months depending on how committed you are to putting in the time to this process.
- Once you feel confident and clear in your direction, then pursue job search. Usually I start by finalizing your personal branding materials first, to strengthen them in accordance with your ideal role and industry, and then jump into balancing the various activities that go into job searching strategically and effectively.
Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, Columbia University, WeWork, and Project Activate.