I was recently consulting with a corporate client that asked me to sit in on a few final selection interviews. In those interviews, I noticed that one uniquely qualified candidate had an air of desperation and lack of confidence. In speaking with her and reviewing her resume, I realized that she had been out of work for some time. Of course, I don’t know why this candidate was not seeming as strong in this late stage of the hiring process, but I can only imagine that extended unemployment and my client’s drawn-out hiring process was probably taking it’s toll.
That encounter reminded me that no matter how qualified you are, lack of confidence or the perception of desperation can be your undoing during the hiring process. Here are a few tips for maintaining your sanity during extended unemployment so that you can move through your job-search process with your sanity – and confidence – intact.
Keep a schedule – Do this from day one. Immediately set a schedule and stick to it. As tempting as sleeping in until noon (and spending the day in sweat pants watching YouTube videos) may be, that sort of inactivity has a gravitational pull that is very difficult to recover from.
Volunteer – It can be very easy to slip into a ‘poor me’ mindset when you’ve been let go or are having difficulty finding work. That makes sense. But self-pity is a fast track to inaction. So gain some perspective and volunteer your time. Not only will this elevate your self-esteem, it is a great way to network with like-minded people. Additionally, it is a low cost way to interact with people and get out of the house.
Stay Active – I know I’m not breaking any new ground with this tip, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Few things are as good for your self-esteem as exercise. Oh, and before you say that you don’t have the time to exercise, remember that that long standing excuse no longer holds weight.
Limit Social Media – Studies show that people who spend lots of time on social media tend to be more depressed. That should come as little surprise. Don’t waste away your time focusing on other people’s idealized versions of their lives.
Learn a new skill – It is very easy to let your mind atrophy when you are out of work for an extended period. It is also easy to let your skill set become less and less current, which can make it even more difficult to find employment. So use your time to either learn a new skill or stay up-to-date on your current skill set.