Job hunting: boost your confidence and take care of your wellbeing

7 March 2022

As National Careers Week begins, thinking about looking for jobs and towards your career can feel overwhelming. Read on for UCL student James's tips for organising your job hunt and looking after your wellbeing at the same time.

A laptop and CV

Start your search

Searching for the perfect job, internship or work experience can feel like a daunting experience. It can also be hard to fit around your already busy schedule. But it doesn’t have to be!

Job hunting can also be a rewarding experience that gives you the opportunity to learn about your strengths, build knowledge of the job market and boost your confidence with applications, assessments and interviews. To help with this process here are some top tips for making the most out of your job hunt, protecting your mental health in the process and setting yourself up for success.

Plan your hunt

First things first, having a plan is can really help ensure that you are managing your time effectively and have the best chances of success. Be mindful of uni work and other commitments so be sure to set realistic goals to minimise stress. You could do this by setting aside a short amount of time each day or week to search online for jobs and submit or complete applications. Joe from UCL Careers provides some good advice.

Fortunately, many companies allow you to save your progress on application forms but always check your emails as sometimes forms or online assessments are time limited – factor this into your plan. Of course, keep an eye on the closing date on adverts and try not to leave it until the last minute – some adverts may close to submissions early if they are oversubscribed.

Reach out for help

We are fortunate to have a well-staffed and brilliantly resources careers and starting your job hunt is a great way to make use of this. It is a great opportunity to book a careers appointment to gather some information about sectors that may be suitable for you so that you can target your job-search. As well as this, you can get support to fine-tune your CV and build skills in constructing an eye-catching cover letter.

However, the primary message should be that you are not alone and if you are stuck or feeling confused or stressed about this bewildering process then you can reach out to get some tip-top advice. If you are finding that you would like some support with your wellbeing, reach out to Student Support and Wellbeing. 

Search far and wide

It’s always a good idea to observe the age old “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” idiom! Whether you know exactly what career to pursue or are just working things out, be sure to spread your search across different companies, sectors and regions. Doing this will provide you an insight into what different industries are looking for, as well as ensuring that you have an insurance if your first choice doesn’t work out. Playing to your strengths and keeping an open mind will broaden your horizons and reduce the feeling of disappointment if things don’t go to plan first time.

Track your progress

Keeping track of where you’re at with your applications is essential, it will reduce stress and confusion. Making a progress-tracking spreadsheet or investing in a dedicated notebook or diary can be a good idea. Note down each application and how far through you are in the process, this is especially important if you are juggling lots at once. Take note of key dates and times, for example for interviews or assessment deadlines. Record each job that you find interesting and fits your skillset, even if they are not offering jobs immediately as they may open applications in the future. You can always go back to a company later or sign up to their recruitment mailing list.

Be open

Guarding your mental health and wellbeing is paramount throughout this process. Don’t feel downtrodden if you get rejected, draw out the positive aspects of each experience. Every time you make an application, complete an assessment or conduct a job interview you grow. As you build these skills, you will gain confidence that will make applying easier next time.

But remember, you don’t have to feel the burden on your own. Reach out to friends who are going through the same experience, learn how to protect your mental health and ask for help when you need it.

You’re on a journey

Remember that job-hunting can be a tumultuous journey. It doesn’t matter if you are a graduate or undergraduate, it may feel like a complete minefield with a vast array of opportunities and obstacles in equal measure. By accepting this you are more able to maintain a positive outlook, building on experiences to boost your confidence and increase your chances of success. Getting to the next stage of an application process is a win each time, it’s a competitive world but don’t let that overshadow small successes and steps to finding the right opportunity for you. 

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Good luck!

James Davis, second year, BA History