Reminder: Take care of yourself during your job search

Securing and maintaining a job can have a substantial impact on one's mental health and well-being. The job market in Canada tends to be highly competitive. As you navigate the employment process, it is likely that you may feel discouraged and/or stressed. We’ve all been there, whether it is getting rejected for a job or being apprehensive during the application process itself. For many people, there is unease associated with the unknown. And this also extends towards your job hunt. Your career can determine the trajectory of your entire life and so, it is natural to be worried. This is why it is a good idea to prioritize and prepare in advance, focus on self-care and get the right support.

Stress associated with unemployment or the time taking process of employment can lead to burn-out or low self-esteem. If we fail to take care of ourselves during this time, it may sabotage our chances of landing that dream job. Some self-care tips include:

  1. Taking breaks and participating in enjoyable and relaxing activities
  2. Using mindfulness and meditation to lower anxiety and tension
  3. Establishing relationships with empathetic friends and family for emotional support
  4. Seeking professional help, such as counseling or therapy, when needed

The university has many resources dedicated toward student well-being such as the Student Counselling Centre, Peer Support Centre and the Wellness office. You may refer to the University of Windsor website for resources both on and off-campus.

Having talked about the value of self-care, you can take further action to feel more assured and ready during the hiring process. Although it can be nerve-racking, there are methods to feel more confident and help it go more smoothly. Being organized and having a strategy ahead of time is key. The first step during your planning should be self-assessment: figuring out your interests, skills, qualifications and the environment that you would like to work in. Some of the self-care tips mentioned above can help make this process easier. Mindfulness practices involve internal reflection, which in turn may aid in deciding what you’re passionate about and where your priorities lie. If you invest your time and resources in doing exactly that, you can then work on the skills that are beneficial to your job of interest.

If you’re not sure where to go from there, ask for help. Most importantly, remember to take advantage of the services provided by the Career Development & Experiential Learning (CDEL office): Sign up on MySuccess for informational workshops or one-on-one appointment with career advisors. Attending drop-in hours with peer advisors and doing mock interviews are also some great ways for you to begin planning for your career. It is a good idea to begin networking during your time as a student. Ten Thousand Coffees is a great tool to network with peers and alumni in your program and get the advice that you need to make important career decisions.

Individuals who have some form of invisible disability (chronic pain, depression, or learning disabilities that are not immediately noticeable to others) are more likely to experience decreased job satisfaction, and less opportunities for career advancement. According to several research, employers and employees aren't always aware of or understand invisible disabilities, and there may be confusion regarding the accommodation process and the legal rights of people with disabilities. These issues can make it difficult for people to access workplace accommodations. It's critical for job seekers with invisible disabilities to look for networks and helpful services that can guide them through the hiring process. This can include advocacy groups and career coaches. You may be able to improve your chances of locating fulfilling employment that meets your needs and enables you to thrive in the workplace by proactively looking for resources and support. The Canadian Human Rights Commission offers details on disability rights, including the obligation to make accommodations at work.  Additionally, job seekers should look up potential employers to determine whether they have a history of including individuals with disabilities in their workforce and ask about accommodations during the interview process. To find companies that align with your values and satisfy your needs, you can investigate the organization's mission statement, policies, and work culture. Candidates can make sure they're a good fit for the organization by preparing appropriate questions to ask the interviewer. You can also look for reviews from current or former workers, check on the employer's financial viability, and discover more about the management and leadership style of the organization through informational interviews.

In conclusion, it can be difficult to navigate job searches and workplace obstacles, but there are steps job seekers may take to preserve their mental health and secure a fulfilling career. Tips that can help job seekers navigate this process more successfully and easily:

•               Being organized (schedule time on your calendar)

•               Developing confidence by conducting preliminary research about the potential employer

•               Learning about disability rights and accommodations

•               Identifying businesses that share your values

Remember that your career planning does not have to be a dull process. Finding and securing a job can be incredibly fulfilling and you might just end up learning something new about yourself along the way.