How do you keep your sanity during job search?

(39 Posts)
Winterflower84 Thu 24-Aug-17 21:30:09

It has been well over a year since I started applying for jobs after a career break. It is just so distressing. How do you keep being motivated?

OP’s posts: |
Nasreen Fri 25-Aug-17 18:07:32

It's tough isn't it? I've been looking and applying since January and haven't been successful as of yet. I do voluntary work at my local CAB. Can't afford to work for nothing, but it keeps me sane! It's the nearest thing to being in a real work environment, as I have to work in a team, deal with the public and use a computer.

What type of work are you looking for? If you are getting interviews, then keep asking for feed back. You are bound to strike lucky in the end, but to be honest, I'm beginning to think career breaks are not such a good thing! Make sure your IT skills are up to date and you have some recent work experience to talk about at interview?

In sure lots of positive job seekers will be along soon though.

Best of luck.

EscapingAdultLife Fri 25-Aug-17 18:11:55

I'm feeling your pain slightly. I've only been looking for work for the past 6 weeks. It's tough going, I'm more then qualified for a lot of the jobs I apply for and my c.v has had some good feedback however, I took a career break and I've been told that doesn't look good to employers! It's ridiculous, they should see this as a positive as they now know I've had a career break and am eager to get back to work. I must apply for at least 3 jobs a day with a 50 mile radius of my home but I'm hitting a wall and getting no response for any interviews.

I've kept myself from going insane by doing DIY.

I wish you good luck!!!

Winterflower84 Fri 25-Aug-17 21:10:05

Thank you for the replies and encouragement!

Nasreen I think I should do volunteering as well although it will be tough with childcare costs. I am looking for a job in PR and media relations but am also thinking of other industries where I could transfer my skills and experience. Would you ask for feedback if you hadn't been shortlisted for interview or it is pointless? May I also ask how you approached your local CAB? Via a volunteering jobs website?

Escaping maybe what employers immediately think is that the career break was for raising a family and now we may have more important commitments in life and job is not going to be our priority. That's so unfair! My UK Master's Degree doesn't count apparently because most of my work experience comes from another country and what's worst, I had a one-year break to raise my daughter. That's enough to be out of competition. Volunteering is the key but it is going to be so difficult mentally, practically and financially.

Best of luck to both of you x

OP’s posts: |
EscapingAdultLife Fri 25-Aug-17 23:52:14

I took a career break to travel. The industry I work in (oil) is really bad at the moment, I've tried transferring my skills and am being told I'm too specilised! Taking a break to raise a child shouldn't penalise a person. I really thought we had moved on from that small mind mentality!!

PaganGoddessBrigid Fri 25-Aug-17 23:55:34

It's tough. I deliberately took the summer off for the sake of my sanity. When the DC go back to school I need to get back in to the search. But it just seems like I'm never the best candidate. My employment history has been sporadic over the last decade. I'm in my 40s. It's really tough. I will need strategies for staying sane.

BetterEatCheese Fri 25-Aug-17 23:57:17

I'm in the same boat and am part way through a degree with bits and pieces of work behind me - it's hard. I don't have a profession or sector, serial administrator with high hopes for the future.

Very hard to stay positive

PaganGoddessBrigid Sat 26-Aug-17 00:00:02

I think I will not talk to friends about it as their advice is rarely helpful. They either forward links to jobs I'm not qualified to do or jobs that are 80 miles away or they say ''tailor the cover letter to the job'' or ''you need several different versions of your CV'' don't they think I'm doing all of this already or they tag me in recruitment agencies' posts for jobs that I'd like, but those same recruitment agencies have done nothing for me despite my chasing them. Or they suggest I volunteer. Brilliant. Just what I need a job that doesn't pay me any money when I'm a single parent and I've done my fair share of volunteering already So my friends' helpful tips really depress me. So that's one strategy for staying sane. Talking about it only doubles the length of time the subject of job hunting takes.

Winterflower84 Sat 26-Aug-17 21:00:27

I just feel completely abandoned by luck confused. Trying to find my confident, enthusiastic, determined self. Nowhere to be seen smile

Pagan I also sometimes take time off and completely detach myself from job search. But then it's all the same again.

Escaping believe you me, that mentality is still there. What they expect us to do is to volunteer, get recent experience and then apply for paid jobs, But how to work for free if childcare costs are outrageous???

Didn't really want to start mourning but talking about this helps!

OP’s posts: |
Horispondle Sat 26-Aug-17 21:37:56

I'm not sure I can offer useful advice but posting to wish you luck and say a career break doesn't always count as a bad thing. I took 3 years; fell pregnant between jobs, by the time I was ready to go back industry had crashed (oil). Have since relocated and applied for jobs in a different industry where I have no experience. I had 4 interviews for different jobs and not one did they mention the career break. I got the impression they were scared to ask incase it came across that it would influence their decision (every interviewer was male) and they were accused of unfair treatment.
It is tough going and I found the constant checking phone/email when I've nothing else to distract myself the worst sad
I think I have a job now but have been waiting forever for an actual contract and start date confused

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 26-Aug-17 21:51:37

I think you are right to look at other jobs to which your skills are transferrable.

A year out is a long time of looking. Well, actually that depends on how hard you've been looking. How many applications a week? Are you going through any agencies?

I'd also look at joining a local career search / skill refresh / interview skills group or class. Everywhere has something like that. Or buy a couple of hours with a life coach. You are doing something wrong so the faster you find out what and fix it the better.

I've had career breaks. I work in industries that aren't generally considered good for women. I've never had anywhere near that long looking and not getting. That said, my meeja friends tell me traditional PR and media jobs are outrageously unfriendly to returning mothers, and so almost all of them made sideways moves.

Good luck.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sat 26-Aug-17 21:53:04

Temping or short term contract work tends to be a good way to get back in, in my industry anyway.

Nasreen Sun 27-Aug-17 11:57:54

Hi Winterflower
Regarding CAB, I literally walked in off the street, mainly in frustration at not securing employment immediately, after my last job came to an end. The recruitment manager contacted me sometime after and arranged for me to attend the mandatory training sessions. To be honest, there are a couple of us in the same boat i.e. looking for paid work, but feel we need some recent work experience under our belts. I do enjoy CAB even though it can be very challenging at times.

If I wasn't shortlisted for a job, then I probably wouldn't ask for feedback on my application, unless I knew I fitted all the criteria perfectly. A friend of mine asked for feedback on an application she had submitted and was told simply 'it was down to sheer volume of applications' that she had not been shortlisted! So obviously others had that bit of extra something which she didn't.

I know voluntary work isn''t always ideal because of the childcare costs (my children are schoolage, so I volunteer then) and it's not always as case of 'well if you can't get paid work, you need to volunteer'. I have done my fair share of volunteer work in my life (started when I was 17) and almost feel a tad annoyed that I don't have paid work. I am constantly reminded by OH that it was me who left the teaching profession 10 years ago and instead of concentrating on either retraining or securing a decent job for the future, faffed around after having children, so only me to blame I guess.

Did I read on another forum that you are in touch with a very good careers advisor? Hopefully you will strike lucky very soon.

PaganGoddess I am in a similar boat to you. In my forties and a sporadic employment history over the last decade. Kind of feeling I am not fit for anything much right now, except cleaning the house and keeping the cupboards stocked! Very depressing! Where in the country are you based? (If you don't mind me asking).

Winterflower84 Mon 28-Aug-17 14:41:53

Thanks for your responses.

RunRubbit I'd say I have been looking as hard as I can really, dedicating all of my evenings (after DD goes to bed) and most weekends (when DH can help with DD) to job search/applications. I have been in touch with agencies but am very disappointed. I attended an Employability Course in June which was somewhat helpful. I agree with you that I am doing something wrong - a year of job hunt with no result is ridiculous. I think it is the lack of any recent (voluntary) work experience on my CV.

I am increasingly being convinced that I should make sideways moves too but I am not sure where I would be welcome.

Nasreen you are absolutely right, I am in touch with an advisor from National Careers Service who has been helpful so far by helping re-write my CV and reviewing my statements. Yet again her main advice was gaining some recent experience by volunteering.

OP’s posts: |
MyPatronusIsAUnicorn Mon 28-Aug-17 22:35:09

I have been out of work for 13 years and just got a job. Slightly different circumstances as mine was due to a chronic illness. I have done some volunteering (nothing to do with the job I've actually got) and done some basic courses, all of which were below my level if I'm honest, but one was in the area I wanted to get into and 2 were IT so I can prove I'm IT literate. The job is also below my ability level but I see it as a way in and I can work up hopefully.

So, volunteering, courses and something maybe a bit lower than you would normally go for.

blueshoes Mon 28-Aug-17 23:00:31

Just want to wish you all that one lucky break that will set you on your path. Long term job hunting is dispiriting sad

I won't repeat other posters and you might already have tried this so sorry if this sounds obvious. When my job search stalled, what helped was to apply for something you never thought you would ever consider, either in that sector or role or company. Try a fast growing area, even if you do not completely understand what it is. You may have to start full time, do unsocial hours or temp or maternity cover, but just get that foothold in and your next move once you have re-tooled will be more suitable.

I moved into compliance, which may sound horribly dry and dull, but there is so much legal development and change in this area it is just crying out for skill sets at all levels.

malificent7 Thu 31-Aug-17 13:53:48

I would do agency work pt whilst applying. Keeps your toe in the door. Im an agency care worker atm and i love it although i dont see it as a longterm option due to low pay and weird shift patterns.. v rewarding though.

PaganGoddessBrigid Thu 31-Aug-17 14:00:42

I nearly lost my sanity yesterday. I got a job offer and potential new employer sent a form to the last place I worked, (they were awful, so I didn't give them as a reference). I gently tried to dissuade potential new employer by saying ''oh really, that was a temp job, I didn't name them as referees''. But they say it's what they do. I had to ring rotten old company to explain why they'd be asked, because they might think I was silly enough to name them. I know they hated me confused I spoke to the woman and she was all sanctimonious integrity, she ''couldn't lie''. No, but she can be a party to shitting on me a second time. Lovely. So honest. I wonder if I'll ever work again. I must take that rotten job off my CV, but then there will be a massive gap on my CV.

PaganGoddessBrigid Thu 31-Aug-17 14:07:06

Nasreem, I'm in Ireland. They say there's work here again but i think it's offered to younger people. Even in that awful job I hated they were trying to get a whole load of younger people in to freshen up its image. I was an exception, in my forties. A lot of women there were nearing retirement, and the new staff were 18-24 so I was neither one thing nor the other. It was tough. Another woman I know who's been in her job a while told me that she feels they'd like to squeeze out older women to make room for younger ones, even though she's been doing a tough job and doing it well and has coped that she can 'take it'. Makes no sense.

Cailleach666 Thu 31-Aug-17 14:15:54

Do you want a job?

I gave up my career 20 years ago and I am so glad I did.

Once the kids started school I started looking at ways of earning money from home.
It was fantastic having the freedom to try new projects and over the years I have earned a good part time salary.
None of my ideas have failed, none required much investment and have been a useful addition to the family finances. The only struggle has been to decide on which venture to pursue.

I have now settled on one project, I only work 20 hours a week and earn £50K.

Can't see me ever applying for a job again.

Lobsterquadrille2 Thu 31-Aug-17 14:27:11

I'm in the same boat. As for motivation etc, I keep my days as structured as possible. I get up as if going to work, get dressed and ready etc. Then give one to two hours to emailing, searching, checking all my email alerts (around 30 per day), phone calls if applicable.

Once a week I volunteer at Oxfam.

Every day I make sure that I a) get out for some air and b) actually see someone in person. I tend to have people round for coffee rather than expensive lattes etc. Routine helps me enormously but DD is at university so no childcare costs!

Nasreen Thu 31-Aug-17 14:32:05

20 hours a week earning 50k? What is it you do Cailleach666? I am intrigued!

Pagan, you never know, the reference might not be as bad as you think? Is the new job subject to references? I really hope you crack it soon. Forties isn't old, but I get where you are coming from. I can well believe that they would want to squeeze that older lady out, but goodness knows why abs if they did, they may cone to regret it!

I've almost given up, can't think of a business venture, can't decide what path I want to take, it's just a nightmare! How I have ended up this way?

Cailleach666 Thu 31-Aug-17 14:34:11

Nasreen I make and sell craft items.

PaganGoddessBrigid Fri 01-Sep-17 15:41:06

Wow. Well, I got a job offer today shock

Get out the defibrillator. {clear} [Administering] shock

Cailleach666 Fri 01-Sep-17 15:46:34

Well done pagan

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