College basketball isn’t the only kind of madness happening this month. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that a little over 2 million students will graduate from undergraduate and graduate programs in the U.S. This means a bunch of job seekers will flood the market hunting for competitive salaries and other perks. To top it all off, graduation is only two months for most colleges and universities. Remember when two months seemed like forever?
The pressure to land a job is real. Federal loans give you six months before you have to pay back your borrowed cash plus interest. And those of you with angel financiers, they are equally as excited to get you on your feet and out of their pockets. No matter how you paid for college or grad school you don’t want to disappoint your family or default on your loan. The problem facing many new job seekers is their inexperience in the new data-driven job market. Computers are now reviewing resumes making it difficult to be more than a few bullet points and a summary on a page. To add to that, the question; “So what are your plans after graduation?” doesn’t alleviate the stress.
With all this at stake, it is no wonder job seekers burnout a few weeks into their search. But as I said at the jump, this is the month for madness. And much like collegiate ball players— this game is won in your head and not on the court. The fact is the burnout and intense depression that follow have the biggest impact in your job search. Fortunately, how you feel and respond to depression and burnout are completely under your control. Your mindset is the key to conducting an effective, targeted and successful job search. Here’s why and it is simple.
Your thoughts become words and your words become actions—whether you realize it or not. Here is what I hear from my students and friends:
“OMG, I’m never going to find a job that pays more than the one I’ve got.”
“No one will ever hire me to do that job. I’m just not that smart.”
“I’m so stupid! I forgot to put my resume in Helvetica, not Times New Roman.”
You better believe that these terrible limiting thoughts show up in your words and actions in interviews and networking events. If these two pieces are negative, critical and judgmental, you will never land the job of your dreams or get the introduction that can make the difference.
Now, we are all human beings and are subject to this kind of stinkin’ thinkin’. So how can you tame the chaos of the job hunt? My top three are:
- Accept the process: No single part of the process is going to land you a job. Remember this, your resume gets you a phone interview. The phone interview gets you another interview. The final interview gets you the offer. And you only need one offer. Your goal? Progress through the process swiftly, consistently and gracefully. If you aren’t getting to the phone interview stage, consider hiring a coach or career advisor to give you solid actionable feedback on your resume. Best money you’ll ever spend. Promise.
- Play the job search game to win: Know that you will find a great job in a place where you can grow, learn and contribute. This is where a mindset of positivity will help. Creating positive outcomes in your mind, speech and actions will train you to see opportunities where others see challenges. Put Post-Its on your mirror that say things like, “I am talented, brilliant and an asset to any team. I can do anything well.” Or “I will find a job that brings me a great salary and a team that supports my growth.” Say them every morning before you brush your teeth. You won’t feel it the first time you say these things. You will–it just takes time.
- Surround yourself with people who bring you up: It is easy to gravitate and commiserate with those who feel your pain. But you need people around you who believe that the struggle is real and provide you with encouragement and inspiration. Remember, a good friend is someone that reminds you who you are when you forget.
The madness of the job search will never stop, but how you show up and respond to it will make all the difference in your professional and personal endeavors in life.