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Finding the job hunt tough? Science says you should talk about it

By Charlotte Grainger

Just a few conversations can help you re-energise your job search.

Hunting for the next step in your career ought to be an exciting time. You’re ready to take on something completely new and feel eager to move forward. Sadly, though, there is another side to this process ‒ one which can be frustrating, difficult and tiring. If you’re finding it tough to land that dream role, it could be time to change tack and try this simple hack to up your game.

Looking for a new role can feel lonely

Whether you’re currently unemployed or simply looking for a step up, job hunting can be a long and lonely task. From revamping your CV to filling out countless application forms, it can be hard to keep your head above water. You spend hours on end hooked to your computer screen, dealing with the numerous admin chores that finding the perfect role entails.

To add salt to the wound, when you get a lead that doesn’t go your way, dealing with the ultimate rejection can be excruciating. While some job seekers attempt to counter this problem by reaching out to those around them, many of us retreat back into ourselves and hide away. If the latter scenario sounds familiar, it could be time to change your ways and start talking openly about your search.

How talking about your job search helps

Talking about your job-hunting progress may do more than simply relieve your stress levels. Research from Missouri State University suggests that co-rumination and talking about your job search could help you to intensify it. That means that the more you reach out and let people know what you’re going through, the more likely you are to try harder when it comes to looking for a job.

If you’re in the midst of looking for a new role and finally have a spare moment to socialise, talking about your situation may be the last thing you want to do. However, the underlying reason for the results of this study could be more obvious than you imagine. For example, one theory as to why talking about your job search helps you could be that it makes you accountable for your actions. When you tell someone what you’re planning to do, like finding a new position, you have more pressure to follow through and do it.

Three tips on how to reach out to friends and family

Needless to say, taking the plunge and talking to those around you may be harder than it first sounds. If you’re a naturally introverted or shy person, the idea of discussing this topic with people may be enough to send shivers down your spine. What’s more, you may worry that those close to you will simply tell you what you want to hear, which can often be unhelpful. With that in mind, how can you reach out to those around you and start a meaningful conversation about your career?

1. Keep calm and don’t panic

Job hunting can be anxiety-inducing, especially when you feel as though you’re not progressing fast enough. However, when it comes to reaching out to friends and family members, the last thing you want to do is create a high-stress situation. Before speaking to anybody, take a moment to collect your thoughts and consider what you want to say. Talk calmly about your situation, the steps you’ve taken and what role you hope to gain in the future.

2. Be open to advice

When presented with any type of problem, people naturally want to offer answers and solutions. Don’t be surprised if the people around you respond with advice and tips. When they do so, you need to keep your mind open and consider what they have to say. While it’s often easier to get defensive and brush it off, you should absolutely hear them out. You might find that there are some real gems in what they have to say.

3. Ask them for a follow-up

At the end of your conversation, ask for one small favour – a follow-up. You essentially want someone to hold you accountable for your plans and check up on your progress. It doesn’t have to be overly formal; simply ask your friend or family member to send you a text or give you a call in a week’s time. At that point, you can give them an update on how things are going and the progress you’ve made.

Conclusion

Finding your next challenge isn’t something that you have to do alone. With any luck, you have a strong social support network around you including your friends, family and loved ones. Speaking up about your ambitions and job search may feel difficult, but it could be a huge benefit to you. A problem shared is a problem halved! Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts about finding a new role.

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