Mentally Preparing for the Job Search Process: A Comprehensive Guide


The job search process can be a daunting and challenging journey. Whether you find yourself unexpectedly laid off or you are choosing to make a career change, it is crucial to be mentally prepared for what lies ahead. In this article, we will delve into the mental obstacles and challenges faced by individuals in both scenarios. We will also explore the average time it takes to find a job, the importance of rejection, and the need to release expectations. So, let’s dive in and discover how to mentally buckle up for the job search process.

Unexpected Job Loss: Navigating the Healing Process

For example, if you were going to embark on a journey to prepare for a marathon to run a marathon before you sign up for that, you need to understand what is going to be required from a mental standpoint, physical standpoint. What kind of time is going to be required? What financial investment is going to be required. You want to look into all of that before signing up for a marathon training set of months. Right? Usually it takes several months to prepare for something like that. Same thing for the job search process.
When faced with an unexpected job loss, the mental challenges can be overwhelming. The shock and disbelief can leave you feeling numb and unsure of how to proceed. It is essential to take the time to process your emotions and heal before diving into the job search process. Just as you would prepare for a marathon by understanding the physical and mental demands, you must mentally prepare for the job search journey.
So, as I mentioned, it was an unexpected job loss. I remember when I was heading to Italy, just feeling kind of numb because I didn’t even know how to feel about it. I think I was still in a state of shock. I couldn’t believe that it happened. It really was not on my radar at all. I had just been recently promoted. I had very positive feedback from my project. And, I just mentally couldn’t really believe what had happened.
Processing the emotions that come with unexpected job loss is crucial for moving forward. It is essential to seek support from a therapist or mental health practitioner to help navigate the difficult emotions that arise. Journaling, taking walks, and allowing yourself time to heal are also effective ways to process the emotions associated with job loss.
You cannot move forward confidently, especially into a job search, if you’re still looking backwards. Okay. And that’s with anything in life when there is an obstacle. Obstacle that we’re facing. There’s some kind of loss. I’m going to give you the example of like a breakup, right? If you’re not over your ex, if you’re still thinking about them, if you’re still looking them up on social media to see what they’re doing, if you’re still mentally stuck there trying to figure out like, well, what did I do wrong? And what went wrong? And like trying to diagnose and. Like, why was it me? Like, why couldn’t you choose me? Like, if you’re obsessed, become obsessed with that. You know what you’re not doing, you’re not taking intentional steps forward to figure out who was the next, best option for you. And so you can’t do that if you don’t go through the healing process.
It is important to prioritize healing while simultaneously engaging in high-impact job search activities. While it may be tempting to throw yourself into the job search process to distract from the pain, it is crucial to take the time to heal and process your emotions. By doing so, you will be better equipped to move forward confidently and make intentional decisions about your career.

Choosing to Make a Career Change: Overcoming Mental Obstacles

So, you know, you might think, well, it’s my man. It must be so easy for those people. Right? Like they already have a job. They have a lot of leverage, especially with salary negotiation and being picky and all those things. And that’s true. That’s definitely true, but I’ve worked with a lot of people who are employed. And I actually think that this group of people, they have a different set of challenges that I also can become major mental obstacles to making a career change.
While individuals who are employed and choosing to make a career change may have certain advantages, they also face unique mental obstacles. The common excuses of being too busy, tired, or overwhelmed can hinder progress in the job search process. Balancing work and other responsibilities can make it challenging to find the time and energy to focus on the job search. Additionally, feelings of guilt and people-pleasing tendencies can create a sense of obligation to stay in a current job, even if it no longer aligns with one’s goals.
And so, there’s a lot of like pull in. In terms of, I should probably stay here and there’s a lot of people pleasing going on with that as well. So people pleasing. A lot of excuses around not having enough time and energy. And so the urgency is just lower on naturally. I think because as humans, we’re always trying to be very efficient with our energy and we don’t want to do things that require too much energy. And our brain really wants us to like, stay in the same place. So for people who are employed, that’s their biggest obstacle.
Overcoming the mental obstacles faced by individuals choosing to make a career change requires a shift in mindset. It is important to prioritize the job search process and allocate intentional time and energy to it. Recognizing that the current job may not align with long-term goals and understanding the value of investing in a fulfilling career can help overcome the challenges of feeling too busy or overwhelmed.

Real Talk: The Job Search Process

The average time to fill a role is 55 days. This is a metric that you can see across all hiring across all companies. It’s the average. Okay. When we think about time to fill. This is from the day that a job posting goes live. So it’s posted officially on a website for people to submit their application all the way to extending a job offer to someone and they accept it and the position is officially closed. So that average time to fill time for any given job posting is 55 days. So it’s about two months.
Understanding the average time it takes to fill a role is crucial for managing expectations during the job search process. On average, it takes approximately two months from the day a job posting goes live to extending a job offer and closing the position. However, it is important to note that this is an average, and individual experiences may vary. Some individuals may receive job offers within five weeks, while others may face a longer process of four months or more.
The average job search, if you Google it online, takes about six to 10 months. And when we are in a flooded job market, which we are in 2023, there’s been so many layoffs, lots of companies making cuts, lots of hiring freezes. There’s even fewer roles available, which makes the process take even longer for people. So what would normally take six months might take people 10 months. Some people have been in the process for 12 months or even longer than a year.
In a flooded job market, the average job search can take longer than usual. With layoffs, hiring freezes, and limited job opportunities, individuals may find themselves in the job search process for six to 10 months or even longer. It is important to recognize that these timelines are not set in stone and can vary depending on individual circumstances and efforts.
Another piece of job search real talk is that there will be a lot of auto rejection emails. A lot, a lot, a lot. You know, when I started my job search process earlier this year, of course, I started to apply to jobs and I started to get a lot of rejection emails and I’m not going to. Lie to you. Like I’m a career coach. And it stung. It really did steam a lot, like the first few times, not even the first few times, like, I want to say the first few weeks. When I was getting all those auto rejection emails, I was like, oh, like this, this does feel personal. Like I am taking this personal.
Rejection is an inevitable part of the job search process. It is important to recognize that rejection emails are not personal and should not be taken to heart. Even career coaches experience the sting of rejection. However, as you become more selective in your job applications and desensitized to rejection, you will realize that it is a natural part of the process. Embracing rejection and learning from it will ultimately lead to success in finding the right job opportunity.
People don’t get hired because they’re the smartest or the best qualified they get hired because they were able to cut the line of applicants. And interview really well. They’re able to do the two things that I mentioned. Number one, they know how to generate interviews very quickly. And number two, once they have those interviews, they know how to sell and market themselves by using their communication, right. The way that they answer questions, their nonverbal communication, they sell the other person on how they are the best person for this role.
Securing a job offer is not solely based on qualifications or intelligence. It is crucial to understand that individuals who are successful in the job search process are those who can generate interviews efficiently and excel in the interview stage. Effective communication, both verbal and nonverbal, plays a significant role in selling oneself as the best candidate for the role.

Releasing Expectations: A Path to Success

It is really important to release your expectations about how you think it’s going to go. How you think it’s going to go? You think it’s going to be like, you’re just going to submit some apps online. You’re going to get some call backs, then you’re going to get invited to the next stage. And in a few weeks, you know, you’ll get that offer letter and you’ll negotiate and basically, your brain expects like best case scenario. It’s kinda like when you, are leaving your house to go somewhere. And if you don’t plan enough buffer time to get to your next destination, you’re kind of assuming like, oh, I’m just going to get a green light on the street. Like for everything. You’re assuming that there’s not going to be any traffic. You’re assuming that there isn’t going to be like an accident that slows you down. You’re assuming that, the gas tank is going to be full when you get in the car. You’re assuming that, there’s not going to be a very long train on the railroad. And so you’re assuming like everything’s going to go really well. And so you’re like, oh, all I need is 10 minutes to get there. And then you end up being like, 20, 30 minutes late to where you were supposed to go because you didn’t build in that buffer time. And so it’s the same thing with the job search process. Interestingly, we have this like vision for how it’s going to go. It’s a super linear path. Everything should work out. For us. And then we’re severely disappointed when we do run into the accident or we do run into the real road train that is taking like forever, or there is no gas or whatever. Right. And so. You know, the job search process will really throw you for a loop, like things that you think you’re going to work out are not gonna work out. Things are gonna grow and sprout from the most unexpected places. And so you really need to have an open mind about that and release a lot of your expectations.
Releasing expectations is crucial for navigating the job search process successfully. It is important to let go of preconceived notions of how the process should unfold and embrace the unexpected. Just as you cannot predict traffic or delays when leaving your house, the job search process is filled with uncertainties. By releasing expectations, you open yourself up to new opportunities and possibilities that may arise from unexpected sources.
The job search process is a challenging and often unpredictable journey. Whether you find yourself unexpectedly laid off or are choosing to make a career change, it is crucial to be mentally prepared for the obstacles and challenges that lie ahead. By prioritizing healing, overcoming mental obstacles, understanding the average time it takes to find a job, embracing rejection, and releasing expectations, you can navigate the job search process with confidence and resilience.
Remember, the job search process is not solely about finding the perfect job; it is about personal growth, self-discovery, and finding the right fit for your skills and aspirations. Embrace the journey ahead, stay resilient, and keep pushing forward. Success awaits those who are mentally prepared and willing to put in the effort. Good luck with your job search!

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