I can’t find a job and I’m freaking out!
What should I do?
Career Advice if you’ve lost your job.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

This is a question I’ve been asked a lot recently, due to the situation caused by Covid / Coronavirus. To help answer this and reach as many people as possible, my friend Chris and I started a new career advice channel.

The first video was to answer precisely this question:
“I can’t find a job and I’m freaking out! What should I do?”

The below is our advice, in discussion form.
I hope you find it useful. If so, details at the end of the discussion!

“I can’t find a job and I’m freaking out! What should I do?”

Chris: So today’s topic, we’re going to talk about the feeling of disappointment, frustration when you’re not hearing back from job applications and how do you stay positive.

Obviously, there’s fewer jobs out there right now, which means more people applying. But people are going to start to feel a sense of rejection. Maybe that’s going to affect their interviews. But (Francis) what do you think?

Francis: I am the king of job rejections, like either applying for the wrong job or applying way above the level that I am. But basically, I’ve applied for so many jobs in my life, been rejected so many times. I’m going to answer this from a positive mindset perspective.

Now, as I’ve just said, keep your mindset positive. What I mean by that is everyday keep making progression. Keep moving forward, even if it’s a tiny step. So keep applying. Don’t be disappointed. It’s part of the application process.

But also, in the meantime, figure out how can I improve? How can I network more? How can I reach out to more people? How can I get better connections? What may I be missing from the jobs that you’re applying for? What strengths do I need to build on? What are my weaknesses? Should I learn more about that industry, that topic? (You definitely should). But how to build on that? That will help you stay positive.

By making tiny steps and tiny progression everyday. Don’t dwell on the negative or the rejections because that’s part of the application process. And you knew that while you’re applying. That’s the mindset side, Chris.

Chris: Yeah, I totally agree. To put it into perspective as a recruiter, we might consider, maybe for each job, anything up to 100 applications and only one person gets the role. That means that 99 people would have applied, had their hopes up, believing that they might get the opportunity. And ninety nine will not. Probably from those hundred, maybe ten will get first interviews. And then those people obviously believe that they’re going to secure the role and they won’t.

So I think just be aware of some of the numbers that are there. Doesn’t mean that you won’t be the one person, but ultimately give your best shot to everything you go for. But be realistic about the role you’re applying for. I’d also add to that you need to be realistic about the caliber of the company that you work for and how strong your CV is.

So if you’re thinking about the company that you’re in, in the way of a league table against their competitors, is your business in the top half. Are you the business or working for the business that has the greatest level of innovation, that gets all of the industry accolades, is the company that everybody talks about. Because if you are, you could pretty much apply for anyone in that league table of companies. If you’re not, don’t be surprised if it’s hard to get into those upper echelon companies and be realistic.

If you’re making 100 applications and you’re applying for businesses that you’re probably not going to get a look in, you’re going to feel pretty despondent when you don’t hear back.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a great person in a less dominant company. And you’re aware probably by looking at your relationships with your colleagues, looking at how your career has grown within the organization, perhaps you are the talent and the business that you work for is not reflective of your ability or capability in the future.

So I think with that in mind, there’s, of course, an opportunity to step up. We can, of course, move into better companies, better roles. But I think be realistic. There’s a lot more people looking for work. And so you need to be applying for roles that you’re absolutely going to get. But bear in mind that if you’re applying for roles, you stand a good shot for, other people probably do too.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t give it your all, but you don’t allow yourself to get too committed emotionally securing a role when you don’t know for sure that you’re going to get it. And that that would be my thoughts on the topic.

Francis: Absolutely. Now, I just want to say, don’t undervalue yourself, of course. And always stay positive and go for roles that you want to do. But as Chris said, make sure you’re suitably qualified.

Now, the only way to know about that, again, as I mentioned, is you’ve got to network with the people. And if there’s someone that you know or that you can connect with on LinkedIn who already works at the company that you want to join, maybe you can ask them for what’s involved, what they normally do, what skills are required. Because if you are applying and overshooting for roles that you absolutely have no way of getting, then of course you’re going to get rejected. As I mentioned, just keep building on your skills. Stay positive. Keep applying. Keep trying and improving.

Chris: Yeah, and things are going to improve. There’ll be more roles out there with more roles is more opportunity. So stay positive. That’s the key message. Any comments or thoughts, drop them below.

— — —

I hope you found it useful. The channel we started is called Career Couch.

This channel is presented by Chris Frost (CEO for APAC of Cogs Agency) and myself, Francis Fung (Career Coach).

We aim to give practical advice for all stages of your career journey.
More than a static series of lectures, we hope to create a community discussion that engages professionals in a variety of industries about the issues most relevant to you today. We would love to hear your thoughts on these videos and what topics you would like us to cover in the future.

Here is the YouTube channel video link (below) for those interested and wanting to learn more. Thank you for reading, and do comment / send in questions if you have any!

Stay well!

Japanese Business Communications Consultant. Cross Cultural Strategist. Professor at Temple University Japan. www.sloanejapan.com