woman sitting on couch with computer in lap typing with coffee next to her

The 5 Stages of Job Hunting

For better or for worse, I have recently found myself back in the job hunting world. While I did recently go through the job hunt and get hired, this is the first time I’m going through the job hunt full-time since I graduated from college approximately 4,394,483 years ago (read as: 6 years ago, I just feel super old). Now, with nothing but the job hunt to occupy my time, I’ve started to see patterns arise as I apply for jobs. 

I’m sure that you’ve heard that there are 5 stages of grief. Well, I’m going to share with you the 5 stages of job hunting:

Stage 1: A World of Possibilities

A whole new woooooooooorld…

A whole new world that’s full of jobs…

This may just be my optimistic personality (**cough cough** and the fact that I live with my parents and have savings to fall back on **cough cough**), but starting the job hunt was exciting for me. I find change to be incredibly scary, but I find new possibilities to be thrilling. Plus, sometimes I struggle to make a change if all I have is internal motivation. When there are external forces causing the change, I just have to embrace it! I knew that I’d find something good that fit my skills and personality.

I start every day off with this mindset. I search for jobs that only have tasks that I would thoroughly enjoy with companies that absolutely thrill me. I know that I’m going to get the perfect fit, so why try shoving a square peg into a round hole? Only perfect fit applications for me!

Stage 2: Broadening Horizons

As the day goes on and I don’t hear back from any of the jobs that I applied to first thing in the morning (are time zones even a thing?), I start to open my mind up a bit more. Does a job posting have some tasks that I like but some I hate? Yeah, sure, I’ll throw in an application, why not? Does a company seem like an okay-ish enough fit? I guess I’ll send over my resume. This is where negotiables and non-negotiables become important. Make sure you’re considering them before throwing in applications. For instance, I would rather do almost anything for a startup or a small company than do marketing (my primary skill set and field of interest) for a large corporation.

Stage 3: Lowering Standards

Every day of job hunting gets me to a point where I’m applying to way more positions than I should. The desperation always sets in some time after lunch, and I start to feel the weight of the job hunt bringing me down. What once was an exciting task full of possibilities now feels like the most draining process in the world. I’m throwing in applications left and right and feeling depressed because the thought of any of these ill-fitting jobs makes me think that life may not be worth living anymore. My current objective is to not get to this point and to stop applying to jobs on any given day while I’m still in the previous stages, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet…

Stage 4: Refresh Your Email Way More Than Necessary

As we all know, I can be a bit impatient. I don’t like the feeling of being in limbo, so I’m refreshing my inbox every 5 minutes or so hoping that someone has gotten back to me. It’s also hard for me to sit still while my future is in limbo, but there’s only so much applying you can do in one day (as evidenced by the previous stages). Refreshing my email at least makes me feel like I’m doing something

And yes, right after I typed the last sentence, I went to refresh my email. No, no new emails have come in during the last 2.5 minutes.

Stage 5: #teamnosleep

Oh boy. Welcome to Insomnia City, population: you. No matter how I felt about the job hunt when going to bed, it seems as though the panic likes to set in right around 3 am. While I am no stranger to insomnia, this has been different. I’ve been waking up basically in a panic. It’s almost like when I drink coffee before bed, then wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing. On the bright side, I no longer have to get up early, so I suppose it evens out. My guess is that the insomnia and poor sleep are also related to the crick I now have in my neck, but I suppose only time will tell…

Then, these stages just loop over and over every day as if you’re living the movie Groundhog’s Day, but instead of getting out of the loop by becoming a good person, you get out of the loop by eventually getting hired. Ideally.

Here are some reminders/tips for you if, like me, you’ve found yourself unexpectedly in the job hunt:

  • You have more experience and skills than the last time you were job hunting. While you may not have been as successful last time you were applying to jobs, you now have new skills that you’ve acquired either from another job or just living life. Leverage them.
  • Speaking of which, don’t think that all of your time needs to be spent applying in order to get ahead. If you see a lot of jobs you’re looking at require a skill that you don’t have, find an online course about it! The internet holds a wealth of knowledge that you can use to set yourself apart. Also, it can be good to take a break from the job hunt every once in a while. The internet also has a wealth of cute puppy pictures. Just something to keep in mind.
  • Make sure that your resume and LinkedIn profile are updated! You may have updated them with your latest job and responsibilities, but what about your latest skills and courses? Those are just as important to have listed and make it easier for the right people to find you.
  • Your network is your greatest asset. Tap the network that you have for leads and cultivate a larger network of people who work in fields you’re interested in. The last time I was job hunting, I started cultivating a stellar network, and I’ve been able to tap into that network now.
  • Allow the job search to take you in different directions and get off the beaten path to find the perfect thing. I like to search for one brand/type of brand that I like in Google and see what other brands populate under the shopping tab. Soon, I have 20 more companies to check if they’re hiring!
  • Inspiration can come from the strangest places. If you’re looking to work for a company that makes products like I am, pay close attention to Facebook and Instagram ads. These ads are called “targeted” for a reason. See every ad as an opportunity to apply somewhere! The more ads you interact with, the more targeted ads you’ll get and the more companies you’ll learn about!
  • Everything happens for a reason! If you don’t get 9/10 jobs you apply for, that’s because something better is on the way. If you put your authentic self forward, only people who vibe with you will respond positively. And that’s a good thing.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m saying this more for you or for me, but the most important thing is to not lose hope! The right thing will come along, and the right people will find you. That doesn’t mean that you don’t actively look for them, but when you’re looking in the right direction, odds are good that you’ll manifest the right opportunities.

You’ve got this.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

11 thoughts on “The 5 Stages of Job Hunting

  1. This is so applicable to me because from next week I’ll be job hunting in a new country. Honestly, at this stage I’ll take almost any job. I don’t want to sit at home the whole day.

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Feeling isolated at home is definitely a challenge. I’m trying to schedule coffee breaks with friends to stay sane 😅 but also, living with Dan and my parents helps, because it means I’m rarely alone — I would struggle more if I was alone all the time. I hope the tips help you land something great and keep up hope during the process! 🥰


  2. Remember about elevator pitch – a quick compelling speech about yourself that is used to evoke interest in a person, project or people. It highlights your ideas, your values, what makes you different, and makes the prospect want to hear more from you. More tips about job interview you will find here – net-boss org/how-to-pass-any-interview, it’s a guide which was written based on the experience of the HR workers.

    Liked by 1 person

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