Prioritise and be realistic. You don’t need to have it all figured out. But it helps if you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, and what’s most important to you. Are you dead set on living in a certain city? Will you go anywhere for a specific role? Are you all about the money? Think about what jobs you are actually qualified for – there’s no point wasting all your time looking at jobs that require an MA in Engineering if you don’t have one.
Give it a shot. Don’t be too realistic. Even if your experience and qualifications aren’t quite the perfect fit for a role, what’s the harm in going for it anyway? Write a cover letter to explain yourself. Your application might get deleted straight away – or somebody might see your potential and enthusiasm. You know that phrase ‘aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’? Well, whatever you do, don’t write that in your application.
Rewrite your CV. A CV that has been repeatedly amended, corrected and added to can start to look a bit messy. Write it out again and reorder it. Try highlighting a different set of skills. Try putting a catchy headline on there, summarising your experience, skills and aspirations. There are a lot of handy free CV templates on the internet, as well as examples of successful CVs.
Learn something new. It doesn’t have to be a marketable skill. Learn more about something that’s always interested you. Learn a language. Buy a ‘For Dummies’ book on your chosen subject. Do you think you’re always missing out because you lack that one ‘desired skill’ on every job advert? Now’s the time to learn it.
Go outside. Life can seem pretty bleak when you’ve been staring at a computer screen for hours on end, reading ‘We regret to inform you…’ over and over again. Get some fresh air and get some exercise. Take your mind off things and feed the ducks. Paint a picture, write a poem, or just sit on a bench and do nothing. What’s important is getting out of the house, and unplugging from technology for a bit. Stop checking your email and LinkedIn obsessively every 2 minutes. Just go outside for a bit and try to forget, even if it’s only for five minutes. It won’t change anything, but it might stop you from throwing your laptop at the wall.