What’s Really Causing Your Job Search Frustration?

Job search frustration seems to come with the territory. The lack of response from employers, rejection emails, and interviews that lead nowhere can be unsettling, especially when this happens over and over.

It’s not a secret that employers love hiring positive people. If you’re stressed or overwhelmed with your job search, your state of mind will reveal itself – no matter how hard you try to hide it. As a career coach, I see it often. Desperate and frustrated candidates take longer to find jobs, while optimistic candidates get hired right away.

Identify the source of your frustration

What’s really driving your job search frustration? Sometimes circumstances can be less than favorable. Maybe the market demands have changed, or you’re lacking enough experience, or there aren’t many jobs available in your field.

What I have discovered in my years as a career coach is that current market conditions are rarely the main cause of job search frustration. The biggest effect on your attitude is typically related to something that happened with your previous or current employer. Often, we choose to avoid or ignore negative situations, with the hope that finding a new job quickly will fix it all. It rarely works that way.

You may feel negative if your previous position was terminated or eliminated, you were too miserable to continue working there and quit, or you are still employed there but desperately want to leave. Things like this affect how you approach your job search. They even make a difference in your confidence as well as your ability to position yourself as a valuable candidate.

And naturally, if you’re in a prolonged job search, this negativity can grow over time. I believe it’s best to express your feelings instead of pretending they don’t exist, or worse, don’t matter.

Relieve frustration by setting process goals

Arthur Markman, a professor of psychology and author of several books on career management including Bring Your Brain to Work and Smart Leadership, advises job seekers to quell frustration by setting goals. In his book, Smart Change, Markman differentiates between two types of goals. An outcome goal is a specific state that you hope to reach in the future whereas a process goal focuses on a set of actions you can take now.

Sure, your overall goal is an “outcome goal” – finding a job.  But in addition to that, you can set smaller process goals for yourself, such as, I’m going to reach out to three former colleagues next week; I’m going to update my LinkedIn profile, I’m going to apply for two jobs this week. “You are likely to be less frustrated about the job search when you are paying attention to the specific actions you need to take,” Markman advises.

Discuss Your Frustration with Someone

Having strong emotional support is essential during this process. Find someone who can listen and really understand what you’re going through without any judgments or expectations.

Consider a Professional Job Search Coach 

Engaging with someone who is not your significant other or a friend allows you to get a fresh perspective and provides you the opportunity to be candid about what you’re experiencing. A career coach can remain neutral and won’t blindly advise you on what to do. And, these professionals are experts at modern jobs search techniques and the automation that recruiters use today, so you’ll receive advice and tips you likely haven’t considered.


Surround Yourself with People Who See Your Potential

Above all, you need to feel acknowledged, validated, and valued. Connecting with people who see your potential can change your perspective, keep you motivated, and ward off that job search frustration. Taking time to evaluate your situation and get honest about what is behind your exasperation is a revealing exercise. A positive attitude is essential in your job search – not only for your personal well-being but also for your success in landing your ideal job.

After you put your finger on the real issue, you can better manage your attitude and take actionable steps to further amplify your positivity. And all that positivity will put you on a faster road to success!

For more than 30 years, IMPACT Group has guided both companies and their employees during major transitions, from small separations to major downsizings. We’re here to help you navigate change. Learn more about our outplacement services and 1:Me approach today.