· Practicing interviewing. Once I had the invitation for an interview, I knew I should practice by actually saying answers to questions out loud. I felt really uncomfortable with the idea of mock interviewing so I didn’t take advantage of that and I probably should have. Instead I used my daily 45 minute commute as practice time, recording the entire trip on my phone, asking and responding to questions out loud. Later I would play the recordings back to identify areas or questions I needed to work on.
By the time interviews came around, I felt well prepared which alleviated a lot of the nervousness and stress. However, the most difficult part was not the interview itself, but the emotional piece that went with the dealing with rejection to being constantly on edge waiting to hear something. It took me awhile but I slowly found ways to cope:
· Identifying a support system. In my situation this was mostly my family and my mentors. I actually found it kind of difficult that the rest of my friends and classmates were going through the process and often didn’t turn to them to support. It was too likely that we would start comparing or trying to one up each other in misery points.
· Keeping busy and remembering I still had a job. Because I was a student, my internship supervisor was very supportive of my job search but after about a week of spending all my energy and focus on my search, I realized I needed to refocus my energies back to my work projects. That actually worked out well because it helped keep me distracted.
· Setting up search process rules. When I first entered this stage I checked my email almost every ten minutes. My phone was either on my desk where I could see it or on vibrate so I could hear it. I was as jumpy as a cat. Once I realized I could not continue this way, I instituted a rule that I could only check my job search email every two hours and my phone stayed in my purse on silent only to be checked during breaks. It may sound ridiculous to have rules, but I think I was a much better functioning human being for it.
· Staying organized. Again, the job search process involves a lot of lack of control so by staying organized I was able to have some sense of ownership. It was also helpful once several applications were out there. After a while all the job descriptions started to run together so having things organized made it really easy to review everything if I did get invited for an interview.
· Widening my search. By April, I was still waiting to hear back about two jobs but all the others had come back very clear “nos.” It didn’t seem like any new positions were being posted to my regular circuit of HR websites. I was going to go crazy if I didn’t do something so I decided to start looking outside of my ideal area. This meant widening my scope from working at a college to working for anything related to education or non-profit organizations. I revisited my skills and tried to think about how they could be utilized in different areas in addition to starting to scope out different job postings sites.
April was a rough month. Even though I had an in person interview that went great, the pressure was beginning to get to me. In addition to the search, I had the Comprehensive Exam for my Master’s degree, my husband and I were making regular trips to Wichita to find a place to rent, we were making concrete moving plans, and work was getting busy with not only projects but the added work of preparing to transition all of these projects to a new person. This sort of limbo lasted for about a month and a half and almost every day I had to remind myself, that eventually, something would work out.