When Downtime is the Best Thing for Your Job Search
Feeling the pressure of a job search? There are multiple factors to consider, responsibilities to manage, and needs to address on your quest for the best role. Stress can mount, especially if you have been unemployed for a while or are anxious to secure income.
If all of this has left you feeling overwhelmed or stuck, taking a step back and a deep breath might be the best thing for your job search right now.
“As a job search coach and yoga instructor, I encourage people to take care of themselves,” shares Regina Moser, Career/Transition Coach at IMPACT Group. “It is a delicate balancing act. To practice self-care, you ultimately have to give yourself permission to do so.”
Self-care won’t be a priority until you know what you need.
“What is helpful and healing for you?” Regina asks. “For some, it’s being around other people. Especially little children! They can change our perspective.” For others, it’s time alone reading a book or time outside playing with a pet. It’s impossible to prioritise time to recharge unless you know what recharges you.
Making time to pursue something you are passionate about can spark creative energy and refresh you in new ways. Think about something that brings you sheer joy and puts a smile on your face. When was the last time you spent time doing that thing? Instead of spending a few more hours on your résumé / CV, perhaps it’s time to tap into that thing again to boost your confidence, energy, or creativity.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real challenge for some.
Do you feel pressure to attend multiple networking events a week? Are you scheduling meetings with people who don’t align with your career goal – just in case? Do you apply to multiple job postings you aren’t truly interested in so you can have the satisfaction of getting your résumé / CV out there?
Ask yourself what is driving the hectic pace you have set for your job search. Some will say they are scared of missing an opportunity. Once you’re aware of why you’re doing it, you can reprioritise your to-do list to be more strategic and efficient, freeing up time to focus on replenishing activities.
We often see and reconnect with more people during the holidays than any other time of the year. The topic of your job search may come up frequently. “If you need a break, be willing to share that with others.” Someone may want to share a job opening with you, but if you simply aren’t in the right place mentally or physically to present yourself well during a meeting or interview, it’s okay to say so. Regina recommends saying, “I’m taking a sabbatical. Can I get back with you in January?” Confirm you have their current contact information so you can connect with them when you are ready to move forward.
Schedule you into your routine.
“When I first speak with a client, I ask how they are doing. If they say, ‘Devastated!’ or ‘I did not see this job search coming,’ I encourage them to make self-care a part of their routine,” Regina shares. “Create a schedule that includes both your job search goals for the week and time for you to recharge.”
During a job search, some individuals begin to feel less than or inadequate. “Taking time to care for yourself allows you to present yourself in a positive light and makes you feel at the top of your game.” As Regina reminds clients, “It is in the pause and silence that we can reflect, listen, and learn what our next steps are.”
Taking time away from your search seems counterintuitive; however, it is likely the refreshing time you need to better focus on your goal and be strategic about how you pursue it. Listen to your inner self when he or she tells you it is time for a break.