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It’s easy to get down on yourself during a job search, especially in China, where even simple tasks like finding a place to print your CV can present a challenge. However, the biggest challenge we all face in any job search is coming to terms with the inevitable rejections. Sometimes even the most qualified candidates don’t get called back due to timing, organizational changes, or a number of other factors.
Of course, we all know that we shouldn’t let rejection shake our confidence. But when you’ve been on the hunt for months with no end in sight, it can be tempting to just give up and head to the nearest watering hole for a few pints of Tsingdaos. These tips will help you dust yourself off and keep going once you hit that wall.
1. Treat it Like a Job
Every job has a workflow, a schedule, projects, goals, assessments – and job hunting is no different. You’ll get way more done and produce better results if you approach each day of searching like a real workday. Creating structure with a list of tasks and goals (sprucing up your resume, sending out 5 cover letters) helps keep your mind on track. Instead of hours-long internet browsing binges punctuated by scrolling through job applications, you’ll be flying through the tasks on the map you’ve laid out for yourself. Organization is truly key to success, especially in the job hunt.
2. Enjoy Yourself
Life is all about balance, which makes it extra important not to let the stress of the job search consume all your fun. No doubt things can be rough, but don’t forget that you’re in China and there are new adventures around every corner. When you’re feeling down, there’s nothing like a visit to a new cultural site, a 60RMB foot massage, or a night out with friends (see #4) to cheer you up. The job search is important and should be treated as such, but there is much more to life than work.
3. Look Ahead
When you’re not even sure what your next step is, the last thing you want to do is focus on your long-term plans. However, taking the long view is vital for keeping your spirits up. When you’re wondering why you’re spending so much time on something that doesn’t seem to be working out, keep your eye on the prize – your career goals, your plans in China and beyond. Having a long-term plan also reflects well on you in interviews, and might even lead you closer to your immediate goal of finding a job.
4. Reach Out
Opportunities come from people, and so does support. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up with the job of your dreams if you don’t get off your couch and start talking to people about it. But even more important than shaking hands with HR managers is leaning on your support system when the going gets tough. There are two reasons for this, the first being that sometimes it helps to have a listening ear or a little advice when you’re fed up with job hunting. The second reason is that the world can be incredibly small, especially among foreigners in China. At least one of your friends is more than likely to know someone who’s hiring – and if not, one of their friends definitely does.
Job searches are rarely pleasant experiences, but if you let yourself be open to it, they are fantastic opportunities for personal growth. You’re forced to sit down with yourself and tally up your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you need to put yourself out into the world, knowing that you’re not guaranteed to end up with your dream job. If you’ve been at it for a while, you must find a way to define yourself that’s not related to your work. You might even come to a realization of what your priorities are and what you really want. These are important life lessons, and they’re more than worth a few months of hunting for work.