💜 Staying Mentally Healthy
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
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
The job search process can bring about various challenges, including competition, rejection, a lack of job opportunities, uncertainty, time commitment, stress and anxiety, and difficulty in preparing a strong resume and practicing for interviews. However, these challenges can be overcome by taking care of your health, seeking support, staying organized, and having a positive attitude.
- Set realistic expectations: Job hunting can be a lengthy process and it's important to keep in mind that finding the perfect job may not happen overnight. Try to focus on making progress each day, rather than on finding the perfect job immediately.
- Stay active and exercise regularly: Physical activity can help reduce stress, improve mood and boost confidence.
- Stay connected with friends and family: Having a strong support system can help you feel less isolated and provide you with emotional support during the job search process.
- Practice self-care: Make sure to take time for yourself each day to do things you enjoy and that help you relax. This could be reading, meditating, or engaging in hobbies.
- Limit time spent on job search activities: Spending too much time on job search activities can lead to feelings of frustration and burnout. Set aside specific times each day for job search activities and try to stick to that schedule.
- Focus on what you can control: Job hunting can be unpredictable, but focusing on the things you can control, such as your resume, cover letter, and interview skills, can help you feel more in control of the process.
- Seek support if needed: If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support.
Remember, job hunting is a journey, and taking care of your mental health can help you stay focused, motivated and increase your chances of success.
Some General Tips for Managing Stress:
- Writing in a journal: This can be a great way to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper. You can write about whatever is on your mind, and there's no need to worry about grammar or structure. Just write whatever comes to mind.
- Drawing or painting: Some people find it helpful to express their emotions through art. You don't need to be an artist to do this – just grab some paper and a pen or some paints and see what comes out.
- Talking to someone: Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk to someone about your feelings. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist. Just having someone to listen and offer support can be very comforting.
- Exercise: Physical activity can be a great way to process emotions. Whether it's going for a run, hitting the gym, or taking a yoga class, getting your body moving can help you feel better.
- Meditation or mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, and can also help you learn to let go of negative emotions. There are many different meditation techniques you can try, such as deep breathing, body scans, or mantra repetition.
Additional Recommended Techniques for Managing Stress:
- Therapy and Techniques Panic Attacks: Shut All Down
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Stress: Box Breathing
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Stress: Alternative Nostril Breathing
- Breathing Practices -Humming Bee Breathing (Anxiety)
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques (Breathing Practice): Bridge Over Water
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.
Watch: Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Job Loss: Ball Of Forgiveness by Tori Warren
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.
Watch: Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Anxiety: Radical Acceptance
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 on Centered: 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:
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Anxiety: Self-Compassion Pause
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Anxiety: Encouraging Self Talk
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Confidence - Person in the Mirror
- Therapy and Coaching Techniques for Trigger: The Belief Buster
📝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 :)