At some point in your life, you’re going to start hunting for a job. And so begins one of the most stressful and topsy turvy processes in your life. You’ve decided on a career path, and you’re ready to go. However, are you ready for what lies next? Today, we’re going through the five common stages of hunting for a new job. The majority of people will go through these stages, so it helps to know what lies ahead!
The 5 Stages of Hunting for a New Job
Stage 1: Initial Excitement
Whenever you start a new job search, you will be filled with excitement. If this is the first time you’ve ever looked for a job, it is a very exciting time. Maybe you’re fresh out of school or college and are so keen to start your life as an independent adult. No more relying on mom or dad for money; you can finally earn a living, move out, and live the life you’ve always wanted. Likewise, if you’re quitting a job and searching for a new one, it’s just as exciting. It’s time for a fresh start, a new beginning; you can’t wait.
You spend a lot of time looking at different jobs, preparing your resume, and creating different applications. To put it simply, you’re buzzing at what the future will hold for you. Right now, you’re reading job descriptions and imagining yourself in those roles. You’re thinking about what it can mean to your life and how much things will change with this new job. It’s so easy to get carried away, but the key is to keep your expectations realistic. Part of the reason you go through the next couple of stages is that you set your expectations so high. You got overly excited and felt like you’d have the job of your dreams in a matter of days. This rarely happens, and most people end up experiencing the next stage.
Stage 2: Impatience
After your initial excitement, you start getting really impatient. You sent off dozens of job applications, you spent ages crafting the perfect cover letters and resumes for each role. From your side of things, you’ve done everything you can possibly do at this stage. A day or two will pass and you’ll hear nothing from any of the jobs you applied for. That’s fine, you tell yourself, this is normal.
When a week or two goes by with no word, you start getting really impatient. You want to hear something, anything; you want to know if your application was accepted or not. Will you be offered an interview? There’s a lot of sitting around during this stage, and you can also stop applying for jobs. This is why you needed those realistic expectations in the beginning. Understand that a lot of companies advertise jobs weeks or months in advance of conducting any interviews. Yours isn’t the only application they read – they might have to go through hundreds before they whittle it down to the most appropriate candidates. You should expect to wait a while before you hear back from someone, but don’t give up hope.
You should also continue applying for jobs while you wait to hear from others. It’s never a bad thing to apply for loads of jobs – you give yourself more choice if multiple companies end up coming back to you. Also, you could send an email to the companies you really like, asking if they received your application as you haven’t heard back from them. It shows initiative and eagerness to work for them, which they’ll like. They should email you back informing you of the situation. In fact, some people speculate that employers specifically don’t contact applicants until they are contacted by the applicant. It’s an unofficial vetting process to see who really wants the job!
Stage 3: Frustration
You’re already feeling impatient, but now your impatience becomes frustration. You’ve still not heard back from some companies, but you have heard from others. Unfortunately, it’s not great…
You’re seeing a lot of emails in your inbox with the words ‘We’re sorry’ at the top of them. You sigh yet again, clenching your fists to avoid unleashing your rage upon the world. How many unsuccessful applications can you get?! It’s literally one of the most frustrating things you can ever go through, especially when you feel more than qualified for a job.
Unfortunately, this happens to lots of people, particularly new college graduates. You’ve got your shiny degree and a lot of student debt, you meet the qualifications for all the jobs you’ve applied for, yet you’re still unsuccessful. Most of the time, people say your lack of experience lets you down. This only frustrates you more as there’s no way of gaining experience if nobody will hire you because you’re inexperienced!!
You need to avoid getting overly frustrated in this situation. Accept that you will receive many rejections, and that’s part of searching for a job. Instead, you have to stay motivated to keep plugging away. One of the daily quotes on Everyday Power the other day is really relevant for a situation like this. It said something along the lines of “the bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” In essence, you are always in control of your own situation.
Yes, you’ve had some rejections, but you are still in control. Ask why you were rejected, look at any feedback you receive, then build on it. If everyone says you’re inexperienced, look for ways to gain experience. This can be through volunteering, internships, or going down the freelance route to get some work done. Work on why you’re being rejected, and you should start seeing more success in the future.
Stage 4: Nervous Excitement
Eventually, your frustration will clear as you do start getting a few successful applications in your inbox. Companies are thrilled with your application and want to invite you to an interview. Or, they have a test for you to do to see if you’re a good fit. Whatever they choose to do, you’ve basically made it to the next stage. Now, here comes the nervous excitement!
You’re excited at the prospect of finally getting a job, but nervous at the thought of seeing it slip through your fingers. Here, your best course of action is to be as prepared as you possibly can be. Do as much research as you can into the company and the job you’ve been offered. Now the business inside and out – understand the company culture and vision. There are loads of common interview questions you can find online as well, which might help you prepare some answers.
Try to think of your own questions to ask as well – employers love it when you ask them questions and turn the interview on its head. Again, it shows initiative and drive, an eagerness to know everything about the company and the job. If you are prepared, you have nothing to be nervous about as you can only do your best. They either like you or they don’t, which leads us to the final stage…
Stage 5: Elation/Disappointment
Finally, you will either enjoy success or disappointment during this stage. You could be offered a job, meaning your weeks or months of trying have finally come to an end. In a few days or weeks, you will be starting your new job. Finally. All you can feel at this point is sheer elation. You’re on top of the world; you no longer have to keep logging into various job websites or checking your emails, the stress is finally over. Now, you can look forward to what life will have in store with your new job, and plan for what happens next.
Or, you might be bitterly disappointed. The sad reality is that someone will always be disappointed at the end of a job interview. Only one candidate can get the role, and it might not be you. This is a very hard pill to swallow as you finally had a successful application, only for the interview to let you down. If you’re in this situation, you have to keep your chin up. Again, be realistic about the situation; somebody has to be disappointed, it’s just a shame that it’s you. But, there’s still time for you to find a job. Who knows, losing out on one job might mean you continue searching and a better job pops up a few days later. You could apply for that and get it!
While most people will follow these stages exactly as they are set out, some might be luckier than others. You might get that initial excitement and instantly jump ahead to stage four or five. Some may enter stage two and then skip stage three – it all depends on the jobs you’re applying for. However, the important thing is to understand how to deal with all of these stages. Learn what you should do when you’re feeling any of the things mentioned above, and it will help you have a more successful job hunt.