Waiting to hear back from recruiters and hiring managers who have the potential to change your career path is excruciating. No matter how confident you are about your professional brand, no matter how perfectly polished your resume is, no matter how perfect you are for the job, things feel utterly uncontrollable once your future is in someone else’s hands. Plus, it always takes longer than you think to secure new employment.
Every time I applied to a job on LinkedIn, I would spend the next hour — and sometimes the whole day — refreshing the “Who’s Viewed My Profile” page every two minutes to see if the hiring manager looked at my profile. I devoured any article that might entertain or distract me. I ran errands — any errands — for my friends, just to keep my mind off the applications I’d submitted. I wasn’t just waiting; I was wasting my time. If you’re going crazy while waiting for meeting confirmations from a recruiter, feedback from a hiring manager, or — ideally — an offer letter, these five quick tips can help you de-stress while you wait for a recruiter to call.
Winning the Job Search Waiting Game
Make Yourself More Marketable
At this point, you’ve probably already spruced up your resume, cover letters, Linkedin profile, and social networks (if you haven’t, I highly recommend that you do). But don’t stop there. There are plenty of other ways to make yourself more marketable.
- Take a professional education course
(there are many great free online courses available through sites like Coursera or edX).
- Sign up for a public speaking or leadership class.
- Brush up on classic strategy books.
industry blogs and trade journals.
- Volunteer for a worthy cause.
These activities will do a lot more than just keep you busy. They’ll make you a more attractive candidate and keep you fresh and ahead of the game for your future employer.
Network Outside Your Network
Coffee meetings with a former boss or colleague are easy and comfortable. You know they’ll most likely take the meeting, and it’s not too difficult to strike up a relaxed conversation about job opportunities, common interests, and happy hour memories. But while these types of meetings during your job search are valuable, reaching out to people outside your network can be just as eye-opening and productive. Darmesh Shah, Founder and CTO of Hubspot, wrote a great article about How Anyone Can Create Their Own Luck. Check out #1.
Attack Your Procrastination List
Have a closet that needs reorganizing? Finances to get in order? Pictures you’ve been meaning to hang? A sister-in-law whose apartment you promised to help decorate? While you’re waiting, these types of side projects provide ample distraction and give you a pretty great sense of accomplishment in the end. So get going!
Revisit Old Hobbies and Explore New Ones
When was the last time you spent more than an hour doing something that makes you as happy as your warmest childhood memory? Cooking, spinning, digital photography, West Wing TV marathons, live comedy — it really doesn’t matter what you get yourself into as long as you get yourself into it. Getting back into a hobby once or twice a week will certainly help get your mind off things.
This may sound like an odd piece of advice, but it’s scientifically documented that breathing is a significant stress reducer. If you Google “stress management,” you’ll find many of the top articles support breathing as a primary technique to quickly alleviate physiological tension. The best part: you can do this anytime, in any environment. I’ve found that just taking a few deep breaths for only a minute can have normalizing effects. Try one of these and figure out what works for you.
In the beginning of my job search, I was obsessed with responses from hiring managers and recruiters. I laser-focused on how long it took to get each response and over-analyzed their feedback. In short, I was driving myself crazy. But after I subscribed to the above techniques, the stress began to melt away. I hope these tips help you better manage any stress you encounter while you wait. Good luck!