One of the top things I hear regularly from graduating CLAS students is how behind they feel. They see “all of” their peers (often in pre-professional majors like accounting) who already have job offers and consider themselves failures for still searching for jobs. I’d like to let all of the recent CLAS graduates know that it is perfectly normal to still be job searching in July. No one is going to be posting their unsuccessful efforts to Instagram, so the images you see of your peer’s success is a very narrow sample size of who actually has “it all figured out” less than two months after graduation. In fact, of 2016 CLAS graduates we saw an increase of 34.5 percentage points when comparing those with jobs at graduation to those with jobs six months after graduation.
Check out these helpful articles on how to avoid the pitfalls of self-comparison on social media: “Why compare others social media how to stop” and “Social Comparison Theory: How Our Social Media Habits Make Us Unhappy”
Tips for practicing self-compassion in the job search:
- Focus on you. Similar to setting a fitness goal, the most important comparison you can make is not with others but with your previous self.
- Celebrate the small victories. If you measure your job search success only by the number of interviews or offers you receive, you will continually feel discouraged and unmotivated. Instead celebrate the aspects of your search that you can control, for example attending a networking event, reaching out to a former supervisor, updating your résumé, or spending time practicing your interviewing skills.
- Set realistic goals. The easiest way to set yourself up for failure is to make an unachievable plan. I’d recommend utilizing a S.M.A.R.T. goal setting model.
- Take breaks. Self-care is extremely important in the job search, as it can often feel like a full time job in itself. Take time to be with friends or read a book to keep your motivation high and maintain your sanity.
- Remember your career does not define you. Remind yourself that your success in your job search is not a representation of your self-worth as a person.