Staying healthy during the job search and interview process is crucial for maintaining a positive outlook and staying focused. By taking care of your health, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges and stress of the job search and interview process, and increase your chances of success.
I’m sure you’ve all heard plenty of tips around getting enough sleep, managing stress through relaxation techniques, staying positive, staying organized, and taking breaks from job search and interview activities, etc! But in this guide, we tried to get really practical with journal prompts, techniques and tools.
So funny story! Before starting Leopard, Lexi (Leopard’s Founder/CEO) and Carolina (Leopard’s Head of Ops) built a mental health startup called Centered, where they created over 100 mental health techniques taught by top coaches and therapists. You can use the library any time by following these playlists, but we also integrated the videos into this guide :)
✌️ Getting Mentally Prepared
Looking for a job can be tough with all the competition, rejection, and limited opportunities out there. But don't worry, there are ways to tackle these challenges! Just make sure to take care of yourself, reach out to others for support, stay organized, and keep a positive mindset.
To succeed in your job search, it's important to set realistic expectations and not get discouraged if it takes some time. Also, don't forget to take breaks and exercise regularly to reduce stress and boost your mood. Stay in touch with friends and family for emotional support, and don't forget to practice self-care by doing things you enjoy.
Remember to balance your time and not spend all day job hunting. Focus on what you can control, like your resume and interview skills, and seek help from a professional if you feel overwhelmed. Just keep at it, take care of yourself, and you'll increase your chances of finding that perfect job!
Some General Tips for Managing Stress:
Dealing with your emotions during a job search can be tough, but there are many ways to cope. One option is to write down all your thoughts and feelings on paper without worrying about grammar or structure. Another creative outlet is to try drawing or painting, letting your emotions flow onto the paper or canvas.
Talking to someone, whether it's a friend, family member, or therapist, can also provide relief and support during a difficult time. Exercise is a great way to process emotions and release tension, so go for a walk, run or try some yoga. If you're looking for inner peace, meditation or mindfulness can help you focus on your breath and become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. There are plenty of different techniques to try, from deep breathing exercises to calming mantras.
Remember, it's okay to not be okay sometimes, and there are many ways to take care of your emotional wellbeing during a job search. So take some time for yourself, try out some of these techniques, and don't hesitate to reach out to others for support!
Additional Recommended Techniques for Managing Stress:
If you’ve been Laid Off
The first thing you need to do after being laid off is, if you are able to, to give yourself time to grieve and process the impact of this loss. This is a big life change, and it's natural for you to need some time to adjust.
Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up—anger, sadness, fear, relief—without judgment. Be sure to give yourself time and space to process these emotions. Talking to a therapist or counselor can also be helpful.
One of Lexi’s favorite concepts to share with the Leopard network is Radical Acceptance, a Therapy technique that involves fully accepting and embracing a situation or experience, rather than trying to change it or resist it. This can be difficult, especially when we are faced with difficult or unpleasant situations. However, practicing radical acceptance can help us cope with difficult emotions and situations in a more healthy way.
To practice radical acceptance, try the following:
Acknowledge your feelings: It's important to allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your emotions, whether they are positive or negative. This means accepting that you are feeling upset, angry, frustrated, or whatever other emotions you may be experiencing.
Accept the present moment: Try to let go of the idea that things should be different than they are. This means accepting the reality of the present moment, even if it's not what you wanted or hoped for.
Practice mindfulness: Pay attention to the present moment, and try to let go of judgment and evaluation. Instead, try to observe your thoughts and feelings without reacting to them.
Let go of the need to control: It's natural to want to control our environment and circumstances, but sometimes we don't have control. Practicing radical acceptance can help us let go of the need to control things that are beyond our control.
One of the most important and yet under invested aspects of a job search is positioning yourself. We often tell our network that they should try to find roles they’ll be one of the top 10% most qualified candidates for. Now this goes against a lot of common trope around job applying, ie “Women only apply for roles they are 100% qualified for.” We’re seeing in 2023 that rings true – but the trick is making sure people can see how qualified you are through your resume and personal positioning.
We pulled together some self-reflection prompts to help you identify your strengths:
What tasks or projects do I find particularly enjoyable or rewarding?
What feedback have I received from others that suggests I excel in a particular area?
What are the compliments I most often receive from others?
When do I feel most confident and capable?
What do I do that others often ask for help or advice on?
What am I naturally good at?
When do I feel most energized and motivated?
What have I accomplished that I am most proud of?
Determining Your Goals for your Job Search:
Your ideal role should have a great mix of what you’re good at,what you like, what you already know how to do and what you want.
Don’t bend too far towards what you are qualified for – and make sure to also know what you are aiming for in your next role. Here are some Self-Reflection prompts that may help you determine your goals in your job search:
What are my values, both personally and professionally?
What am I naturally good at? What do I enjoy doing?
What are my long-term career goals?
What do I want from my job? (e.g., work-life balance, the opportunity to make an impact, the chance to learn and grow)
What are my dealbreakers? (e.g., long commute, lack of work-life balance, toxic work environment)
What industries and roles am I most interested in?
What types of companies align with my values and goals?
What skills and experiences do I have that make me a strong fit for my preferred industries and roles?
Watch: Understanding Your Values
One of the biggest challenges we see in the Leopard network is when candidates waste their time on impostor syndrome, aka self doubt, feeling insecure, feeling like a failure, and just generally being too hard on yourself.
If you think you might be struggling with impostor syndrome, you probably are :) Luckily, we have some journaling exercises that may be helpful:
Make a list of your accomplishments: Take some time to reflect on your successes and write down a list of your accomplishments. This can help you see that you have achieved a lot and can be a great way to boost your confidence.
Practice self-affirmation: Write down a list of positive affirmations that reflect your strengths and abilities. Read these affirmations out loud to yourself every day, and try to internalize the positive messages.
Seek support: Talk to someone you trust about your feelings of impostor syndrome. This can help you feel less alone and can also provide an opportunity to get some perspective on your thoughts and feelings.
Practice mindfulness: Paying attention to the present moment can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions. This can help you see that your feelings of impostor syndrome may not be based in reality.
Additional Techniques for Managing Imposter Syndrome:
📝 During The Interview Process
Once you have found a job opportunity that aligns with your skills and experience, you will likely face a technical interview as the next step in the job search process. The technical interview can bring its own set of challenges, including the pressure to perform, difficulty in answering technical questions, and stress.
Prepare well: Preparation is key to feeling confident during a technical interview. Make sure to study the topics and technologies that are likely to be covered in the interview, and practice answering common interview questions.
Focus on what you know: Technical interviews often focus on specific skills and technologies, but it's important to remember that the interviewer is also interested in your problem-solving ability and overall approach to solving technical challenges. Focus on highlighting your strengths and don't worry too much about areas where you may have less experience.
Stay positive: Technical interviews can be nerve-wracking, but it's important to stay positive and focused on your strengths. Surround yourself with positive people and engage in activities that make you feel good to boost your confidence.
Take care of yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and take breaks to recharge and get ahead of stress.
Seek support if needed: If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support, or ask the Leopard team for a pep talk :)