Job search is a lot of work, and it takes a mental or emotional toll on the job seeker. Getting rejections emails after every application, getting informed that you were not employed after having a seemingly good interview session, etc. After a while, you begin to doubt if you are as good as you think you are.
I recently listened to a podcast on “Job Hunting and Unemployment in Nigeria” and it inspired this post. The conversation was very balanced- they spoke about the mental health of job seekers, the societal pressure on job seekers, what it’s like sitting at the table as a Recruiter or Potential Employer, some of the things that make employers reject candidates and things candidates can do better to better their chances. You should listen here.
Here a few things you can do:
- Socialise: Socialise, no matter how bad your self-esteem may be affected. I am sure you have heard of the saying “people hire people.” So let your friends and family members know you are job searching, they could be able to put in word for you in their organisation. Socialising is also a good way to laugh and just have fun. You will find it psychologically beneficial, and it will help you combat the isolation that many job seekers face.
- Intern or Volunteer: Find a place to volunteer your services or apply for internship opportunities. It will give you an opportunity to learn/job shadow someone, and that could be your way into an organisation. Volunteer and internship opportunities are impressive ways to establish professional and social connections and add professional experiences or skills to your CV.
- Maintain a cheerful outlook but know what the job market stats are: Approach your job search with a positive mindset but also know what the numbers are-The recent statistics show that 1 out of every 3 Nigerian is unemployed. Sometimes, your CV is really bad and your job interviewing skills need to be brushed up on but also recognise the job market is very stiff, the hiring process is very subjective, there are hundreds or even thousands of people that are applying for the roles and being ghosted or overlooked is not a reflection on you.
- UpSkill: While you keep applying or waiting for the good news, improve yourself. Learn a skill, apply for online courses, there are loads of free ones online, start a side gig, just ensure you are keeping busy and improving on your skills. Starting a side business or taking a course is an effective way to acquire both soft skills and hard skills.
- Leverage the skills you have/consider remote jobs: There must be something you are already good at, interested in or know how to do so while waiting to get a job. Prepare a good portfolio or CV, and leverage that skill by considering remote jobs. Upwork or Fiverr is an excellent place to start.
- Stay away from bad vibes/bad energy: Society puts pressure on a lot of job seekers by asking anxiety-inducing questions about your search. Some of them mean well and they really do not mean to make you feel anxious but if there is that one aunt or uncle or friend that is consistently making you feel miserable about your unemployment, stay away from them or reduce your exposure to them as much as you can.
- Create time for yourself: Rejection deflates your ego whether you want to admit it or not. Therefore create some time to care for yourself. Do something fun, go out for long walks, start exercising, read books, ensure you are sleeping well, or take up yoga. This influences your mood and gives you something to keep you busy and also improve your morale.
- Seek help: Even though reaching out to ask for help isn’t always easy but ask for help when you need to. Ensure you have at least one optimistic person in your corner that you can to especially given that there’s a stigma around unemployment. Having someone to talk to helps reduce the sense of pessimism or despair that can come from prolonged unemployment.