The Marathon Job Search: Keep Submitting Resumes No Matter What

If your job search has gone on for longer than you’d like, you may be starting to ask yourself a few common questions. Why is this so hard? Are you doing something wrong? Are you being edged out by better candidates or are you just facing challenging odds? And if you’re like most job seekers, you may be wondering if it’s time to just give up, lower your standards, and start focusing on other aspects of your life.

The simplest answer is no…keep going! Giving up won’t get you anywhere, and if you forge ahead, you’ll eventually land the job you’re looking for. But of course this is easier said than done. Here are a few ways to stay motivated and keep working on your resume even when the going gets rough.

1. Scale back, don’t stop.

Submitting 20 resumes a day for six months at a time can be exhausting. There’s no way around this. And if you become discouraged, it may be easy to let 20 resumes per day become zero per day. A few years later you may still be working in the job you accepted as a placeholder, with your resume gathering dust somewhere and no further plans to make a change.

So don’t let this happen. Instead, scale back from 20 to 5. Finish your submissions by noon and focus on other projects for a few weeks until your energy and ambition return. But don’t stop altogether.

2. Express your frustration.

Before you stop submitting resumes, share your feelings. You’ve been working hard to stay positive, and it may seem awkward to abruptly drop the forced smile and bare your heart to your mentor, friends, and professional connections.

But before you walk away, go ahead and vent your feelings at least once. Your cry from the heart may be just loud enough to bend the ear of someone who can help you, and at this point you have nothing to lose.

3. Play.

You may be rapidly forgetting the original passion, curiosity, and love that attracted you to this field in the first place. So take a day off from the job search to forget about your resume and immerse yourself in something that restores that forgotten feeling.

Re-watch the movie that first inspired you, or visit a place that makes you feel connected to this work (visit a relevant museum, or take a factory tour of a facility that produces the product you design or sell). Just relax and exist in the moment for a while.

4. Remember what drives you.

While you remind yourself what you love about this work, remember why you’re looking for work in the first place. If you need a job for the sake of your children, take those children to the park. Leave your resume behind for a few hours. When you come back, your document will still be there waiting for you and you’ll have a chance to look it over with fresh eyes.

Your Resume Is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

The job search may be a long and winding road, but on this journey, your resume serves as an asset, an advocate, and a friend. Not an obstacle or a burden. If you start to forget this, it’s time for a short break and a perspective shift.