Job Hunting: Survival Guide

Tay Bencardino
5 min readJun 11, 2023

Imagine this: you’ve spent months sharpening your skills, polishing your CV, and eagerly searching for that perfect job opportunity. As you navigate the labyrinth of job boards, applications, and interviews, the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months.

It can be a rollercoaster of emotions — the excitement of potential prospects, the fear of rejection, and the persistent uncertainty that accompanies each unanswered email.

Photo of a white woman wearing a white dress floating on the water
Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

In today’s competitive job market, finding employment goes beyond a mere payslip; it’s a gateway to personal growth, financial stability, and achieving your aspirations. Join me as we dive into the ins and outs of job hunting, separate the everyday frustrations, and expose strategies to triumph in this challenging yet transformative journey.

draw of a lady meditating

First, it’s essential to prioritise your mental well-being while embarking on your job-hunting journey. Looking for a job can be challenging, and facing numerous rejections or silence can take a toll on your mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression. Therefore, it’s crucial to be mindful and acknowledge that this process is part of the journey we all go through.

Treat each application as a learning experience. Feedback about your application is always valuable, allowing you to improve for the next opportunity. However, keep in mind that managers and recruiters may need time to review and respond to each application due to their workload. Instead of overthinking and wasting time, it’s better to focus on the next application and keep progressing.

Remember, your mental health is crucial. Take breaks, practice self-care, and seek support from your loved ones. Approach the job-hunting with a positive mindset, resilience, and determination. With time and perseverance, you will find the right job fit.

Incorporate moments of mindfulness into your routine, such as meditating each morning. Regular physical exercise, even a 45-minute walk, can improve focus and clarity, leading to more effective cover letter writing.
By adopting these practices, you will find yourself approaching each day of your job hunt with increased motivation and focus.

Applications

Spending all day applying to multiple companies can be exhausting. However, it’s important to remember that quality is more impactful than quantity. Instead of sending out many applications, focus on submitting a smaller number of well-crafted ones.

  • Treat your cover letters as an opportunity to showcase your skills and qualifications rather than passive work.
  • Put effort and thought into preparing each submission, tailoring your CV and cover letter to highlight your unique abilities and how they align with the job requirements.
  • Show genuine enthusiasm for the company and demonstrate how you can create value for their organisation.

Taking a proactive approach and investing time and effort into each application increases your chances of making a lasting impression on recruiters and standing out from the competition.

Quality over quantity and self-care will contribute to a more successful and fulfilling job search experience.

Be aware of timing. Don’t spend 100% of your time applying for jobs. As important as the applications is that you keep studying.

Continuous Learning

The life of a software engineer, or any professional, involves perpetual learning. It’s essential to stay updated with the latest industry trends, technologies, and best practices. Whether you’ve just completed a bootcamp, university, or an online course, the learning journey never ends.

Besides studying technical topics for interviews, focus on enhancing your problem-solving skills, understanding coding principles, and adopting good programming practices.

Keep coding. Build your own projects. Do pair programming with your mentors and peers. Do some Katas to keep your logic skills up-to-date.

Consider reading books like The Missing README: A Guide for the New Software Engineer” by Chris Riccomini and Dmitriy Ryaboy, and The Clean Coder” by Uncle Bob (Robert C. Martin), which provide valuable insights, especially for beginners.

If you need a break from reading or coding, watching YouTube videos on relevant subjects can also benefit your learning.

Social Presence

The next aspect to focus on is maintaining a strong social presence. Engage actively on platforms like LinkedIn by going beyond simply liking posts and start commenting on others’ content. Share your own valuable insights by creating your own posts.

Additionally, consider writing blogs to share your knowledge and experiences. I understand that this can be challenging for some, and it continues to be a personal challenge for me as well. 🙈 However, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about you — it’s about the opportunity to help others learn from your journey.

You have a unique story to tell. What can you share with others that will benefit them? Whether it’s a technical lesson you’ve learned or an important takeaway from a book, there’s always something valuable you can contribute.

Attending events is another excellent way to expand your network. These gatherings provide a great platform to meet people who are in the same situation as you or who have already overcome similar challenges and can share their experiences. Learn from those who have been through what you are currently experiencing.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to join communities and seek support. Many volunteer mentors are willing to lend an extra pair of eyes to review your CV or cover letter, for instance. Be bold about reaching out for help. Another perspective is always welcome and can provide valuable insights.

Remember, all three aspects — applications, continuous learning, and social presence — are interconnected and equally significant in the job-hunting process. By balancing and dedicating time to each, I would say 1/3 for each, you can increase your chances of securing your desired job.

I want to share a bonus tip:

Don’t go through this phase alone.

Job hunting can be a challenging and frustrating time as we long to find employment and overcome obstacles. It’s important to remember that this is a journey — a chance to learn from others and grow.

Share your feelings with friends, partners, and family, and draw support from them. During my own job-hunting experience, the phrase that kept me going was: “There is no plan B.”

Stay focused, determined, and patient, trusting that everything will eventually fall into place.

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

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