When applying for jobs, you may have rejection after rejection... and sometimes you don't even get a reply, which can knock your confidence. In this article, we go through six ways that you can keep yourself motivated while job hunting.
Firstly, it’s good to have a plan, as there's so much going on when you're job hunting. There are many elements that you are not going to be able to control. So if you have a plan, you have a focus that’s in your control.
To start, think about your employer hotlist. Write down five or so people/organisations that you know you would like to work for. Next, research the individuals within that organisation. When looking at your hotlist of organisations, write down why you want to work for them. Think about what is it that excites you about them? Is it a shared value? Or is it you know people that work there and you could learn a lot?
There are times when you might send an email, and you don't hear back from anyone. And you're going to need to power through that wall and keep going. Write those things written down, as you will need to come back to them at some point to remember the reason you need to keep going.
So now you have your plan, and now it’s good to give yourself targets. Whether they be daily or weekly targets, this is important because you know when you get up in the morning and think, well, I've got to apply for five jobs today. So then you jump on the internet, you scour the job boards. You have a look to see what's out there and think, “ I've got to find five jobs”. That's a not a great strategy, nothing good will come from that. So don’t just go out there and think, I've got to apply for five jobs, and I'll just send my CV to anywhere.
It’s best to reach out but not ask them for a job. Instead, connect with them because you admire the work they are doing and you would like to learn more.
Say something like, “I saw this article you wrote, and I really found it useful for the work I am currently doing. It'd be great to connect with you”. And if you focus on those type of strategies, you're going to be getting validation. You're going to be getting that interaction with public health experts, which will help make this process a little bit more enjoyable. But if you are going to do this, make sure you set yourself targets.
Another excellent way to keep yourself motivated is to upskill yourself. The best way to improve yourself is to surround yourself with people that are better than you. The best thing is that you don't have to actually even know these people. You can do this everyday through podcasts, subscribing to blogs, going onto social media and reading books. Gathering information that's specifically about your area of public health will bring a wealth of knowledge and the names of people who are the experts in the area.
When we feel knowledgeable, we feel more confident in our abilities. We're investing in ourselves, and that feels good. Also, when you're out there having conversations as part of your job search, you will be more knowledgeable, which will help have valuable and engaging discussions on public health topics.
When you do get those interviews, you're not just going to be firing back answers to their questions; you’re going to be confident in your knowledge and abilities.
Not only have you gathered all of this information, but you can also go out there and create your own information. How about starting your blog? Remember the hotlist that you put together of people you would like to work for? All of those people that are doing wonderful things in public health that you would just love to be around and you're connecting with them? Why don't you ask them if you can interview them and post it on your blog? You could do this on the phone, video call, or you can do it face to face.
Explain you’re creating a blog post and putting together some information, and you’d love to know a bit of the work they are doing. It's a great way to be out there talking to people, gathering validation, and adding value to other people by sharing this information.
Other types of articles you can add to your blog include sharing content already out there and creating your thought pieces. Once you’ve done this, share your content with others and make yourself known. If you have a blog or create one, email us, and we’ll share your blog on our networks.
Another great way to stay motivated is to take advantage of formal networking events, such as relevant public health conferences. There are also plenty of other ways to connect if budgets don’t allow it. This includes free talks often provided by intuitions such as universities that you can find on Eventbrite, Facebook or just by Googling. And if conferences are not an option, there are also plenty of online webinars you could attend.
Now the last tip we have is to give value; what we mean by this is to provide value to anybody around you that needs it in a structured way. Because what we want to do is give ourselves every opportunity daily to feel valued ourselves.
The easiest way and the quickest way to feel valued is to provide value. Think about a time when keeping yourself motivated wasn't an issue when you were in a job you liked. Every single day, you were doing something of value, and you were getting that validation from your colleagues. When you're not getting that validation from anywhere, that's going to affect you.
An idea would be to apply to be part of a structured volunteering post or help someone who could do with your help. Write down five things that you know that you could add value to and you'd enjoy doing.
Many third sector organisations would love your skills and time, giving you an incredible experience and being very relevant to public health. So, contact them, see how you can help and get stuck in. When you’re job hunting, you will be busy, but it’s essential to find the time because the time you give this volunteering will come back and pay back dividends.
You’re going to build your confidence and self-esteem and not just that, think about all of the new skills you will learn and all the contacts you will be making. There are lots of opportunities out there to help others and, in turn, help yourself too.
Jyotsna Srinath, Public Health Analyst at Essex County Council, kindly answered some questions about her public health journey.
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