mental health awareness

Contributed by: Ajit Srinivasan

Frequent questions that I often hear from professionals looking for employment is “When will I get a job?” “Why am I not getting any offers despite applying for so many openings?” “Will I ever get employed?”. These fears are commonplace and entirely legitimate and very often give rise to a variety of emotions. In this phase, professionals frequently get the feeling of being rejected, of a loss of identity or even lost not knowing what to do next! While this is completely normal, it is important to recognize these signs and alleviate anxiety levels in the best possible manner. In such a situation, mental health awareness is key.

The most important thing to remember is that this time will not last forever. There will always be factors that are not in your control – market or economic conditions, changes taking in place in the prospective employers’ organizations, changes in hiring strategy, organization restructuring, to name a few. All these types of events are beyond your control, and it’s highly likely you may never hear of some of them, especially those internal to the organization.

Some years ago, I had applied for a very senior position in a multinational bank, was longlisted and then interviewed, shortlisted again before being told they had filled the position internally – another familiar response. These decisions, typically, emanate from stringent cost tailoring measures where external recruitments are frozen for a specific period. Remember, it has nothing to do with you! Managing your mental health is important, and thus, learning tips on mental health awareness can help you in the long run.  

Also Read: How to achieve work-life balance

So, the next time you are between jobs, keep these simple tips in mind:

1. Stay Positive

This, in my opinion, is the most important of all the things you need to do during this period. It is easy to become negative, slip into self-pity and lose focus on continuing to seek employment. Look back at your career till that stage. Take pride in all that you have achieved in your earlier engagements. Find something to do which will take your mind off – a hobby or even explore opportunities in a different industry. Your mental wellbeing is critical during this time, so stay positive! Reading material on mental health awareness can also help you stay positive. 

2. Continue to Network!

A few years ago, when I was looking for employment, I derived a lot of solace from the people I had professionally interacted with till that stage. These folks contributed in so many unimaginable ways – they reinforced my professional calibre. They gave me inputs on possible openings I could apply for. They helped review my job applications and, above all, helped me connect with other industry professionals. Yes, you are right in that all of these did not immediately land me a job; but I found my way into their lists and eventually found employment through one such networked connection.

mental health awareness

3. Plan, Prepare and Execute

One of the best ways you can fight this anxiety is by being aware that you are in control. Job seeking is an activity that calls for a lot of thought, structure, planning, and execution. Spend quality time researching for the right jobs, reading about the organizations that have these vacancies and talking to your connections to get information about the company. All these factors should form the framework to help you identify openings that you want to apply for and with companies, you want to work with. Plan the things you would want to do every day – apply for a particular job or two, follow up on earlier applications, and explore what organizations are looking for and how you fit in. Always remember, it’s a process. 

4. Upskill, Stay Abreast

As you explore the job market, look out for the skills that are currently in demand. This is an excellent time for you to add an appropriate skill – it could be as simple as Presentation Skills or as complex as a deep-dive technical certification. Adding these to your repertoire will give you the edge over other candidates who, otherwise, have equivalent qualifications and experience. Pursuing such a strategy helps you stay relevant in the job marketplace while keeping your mind off the nervousness of not finding employment yet. Great Learning offers a variety of online courses that you can choose from. Taking up a course will help you enhance your skill set and ensure that you are ready for the ever-changing market. 

Also Read: 5 Signs it’s time for a career change 

5. Prepare for and Attend Interviews

It is common for candidates to avoid interviews that they feel they may not want to work with. Don’t let this happen to you. Attend every interview; job fitment is the employer’s prerogative, not yours! Use interviews. I prefer calling them discussions to gauge what more you need on your profile and not as a means of feeling low because you don’t have them. Interviewers are likely to ask you questions you may not know the answers to. This is very normal and to be expected. It’s not a reflection on how much you know, it’s an input to what more you need to add to your range. The more interviews you attend, the more confidence you will gain about what you know.


6. Seek Support

The more you let the anxiety build up, the worse the effects of that can be. Sleepless nights, worrying indefinitely, and lack of self-belief are known only to have adverse consequences on your health. During this time, turn to a close family member who can reinforce their love for you or a close friend or ex-colleague who can point out the value you bring. Open up to them and be open to their suggestions. Talk to them as often as you can. Social connections are critical in relieving loneliness and a sure shot way to keep mentally fit. 

7. Don’t Panic, Never Give Up, Take a Break

Remember, this isn’t going to last. This is only a temporary phase that will go away. Stay calm, stay focussed. Sometimes, I feel looking for a job itself is a ‘job’! Treat it that way. Work on it, work towards it like you would for any task assigned to you. Just like you would want to accomplish everything you set your mind on, do the same when job hunting. You are not the first and surely will not be the last. Take a break. If it gets to be too much, you will feel refreshed and filled with new ideas when you get back to it.

Closing thoughts

Spreading mental health awareness is important. Since we are already living through such difficult times with the current global pandemic situation, it becomes all the more important to look out for your peers. When the going gets tough, the tough keep going! Upskilling to learn the most in-demand skills will surely help you stay on top of the competition and boost your confidence as well. Check out the various online courses offered by Great Learning and power ahead your career now! 



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