6 steps to beat graduate job search procrastination
55 days are lost every year to procrastination. If you're graduate you're probably very familiar with time lost putting things off. Maybe as a graduate you passed your undergrad exams with flying colors albeit studying for them the night before, or wrote papers the morning of whilst missing a few other classes to get a A- in your efforts. But the habit of procrastination in student life can often carry over and put a major dampener post-graduation. It’s important not to let the prolonging habits stop you from landing that dream graduate job. Due to the lack of time constraints and not having a specific deadline for a graduate job search like you would for an exam or paper, it can become one long process, and days can turn to months.
Often attributed as the underlying reasons for procrastination are fear, perfectionism, lack of energy and lack of focus. As a graduate there’s the fear of perceived rejection, fear of not liking the graduate job, fear of leaving your cushiony couch watching Black Mirror to get started. How do we confront the fears, lack of focus & energy?
Have a Clear & Uncluttered Space
A messy working space can often result to confusion and irritation. Many individuals are known to start cleaning or rearranging workplace settings instead of sitting down and doing what needs to be done? An uncluttered setting creates ease mentally, leaving your precious brain energy on the most important thing: the graduate job search.
Be Comfortably Dressed Up
Wearing comfortable but dressed up clothes boosts overall mood. The confidence of wearing nice clothes but being comfortable makes you feel good and this feeling translates into your graduate job search actions such as phone interviews. Feeling good has major impact on what you do, so dress up for your job hunt to feel good.
Put on Music for Winning
Put together a “get stuff done” playlist and let this motivate you through your nerves and post-grad blues. Music takes the mind off the fear and when it’s a good playlist the music itself will be motivating to get things started and be on the move.
Have a Plan of Attack
Personally, I designed a document to remind me what I was aiming for when I was feeling less than stellar during my graduate job search and felt like watching Netflix instead of getting down to business. Let your plan of attack included a timeline for polishing your profile on LinkedIn, editing your CV, putting together a basic shell for your cover letter that you can tweak for each role your applying for and the number of applications you want to submit to. Make an inventory of what you want and give yourself some deadlines or times constraints- maybe spruce it up with a few motivational images or quotes of what you’re aiming for and follow through.
Commit to the Time
There’s a lot of advice telling graduates on the job search to treat the day like a work day- applying 9-5 (8 hours) but let’s be realistic. Most often in a work day research suggests that only 3 to 4 hours of an 8-hour day are productive hours. So, schedule the 3-4 hours like work into your day. Show up and get it done and regularly schedule in that time as job hunting time.
Keep Yourself Accountable
The graduate employment world is hard. Why not team up with a buddy who is also looking? This way you can keep each other accountable, set goals together and help keep one another motivated through the search. Manage to interview at a dream role, only to freeze? It’s okay, it happens. Having a job search buddy who can relate in the process can help you through the downs and someone to celebrate and motivate when there are wins!