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Personal vs. Professional: How to Keep Job Hunting when Dealing with Trauma

Maintaining high spirits and momentum when job hunting is hard, even when you’re fully supported by your friends, family and loved ones.

Trying to do the same when you’ve just been hit with a personal trauma, be that a relationship breakdown, bereavement, or health scare, is even harder. How on earth can you project your ‘best self’ in an interview when you feel emotionally and physically broken?

Striking the balance is tough – but it’s not impossible. So, if you are suffering right now and unsure how to continue, keep reading to learn some coping mechanisms to help you to carry on, even when it feels like the last thing you want to do.

Learn to accept what has happened

Disbelief is hard to overcome. Reorganizing your mind to think differently after an event is something that, unfortunately, has no quick fix. It takes time, energy and commitment to overcome and accept what has happened.

Don’t rush this. Take your time and if necessary, take time out from job hunting. If you aren’t in a good or stable mental state, you could jeopardize potential avenues. Wait until you’re ready – however long that takes – and start again once your mind is realigned and you feel secure.

Jobs will always be there on the other side, so take time to prepare yourself mentally before you step foot back into anything professionally.

Retrain your focus and immerse yourself with positive goals

When you’ve been consumed by an event, it’s hard to take your mind off it. Even in mundane tasks, like washing up, grocery shopping or paying utility bills, thoughts can creep in and stop you in your footsteps. During recovery, it’s important that you’re able to refocus and block out any unhelpful thoughts when they arise.

Throw yourself back into the professional world, fully and whole-heartedly. Not only will it help to preoccupy your thoughts, it will benefit you when faced with a potential employer. Focus on what you want – be that a new job, a pay rise or professional development in a course. Then, keep your mind on that task and make a plan to achieve it.

Remember to celebrate your achievements

It may not feel like a time for celebration, but it’s important to allow yourself the time to acknowledge the good when it does happen. A second interview, a recommendation letter, some positive feedback from a recruiter – anything – it all deserves to be noted as an accolade.

Just because your personal life is coated with sadness, doesn’t mean your professional one needs to follow suit – in fact, it’s paramount that it’s almost the exact opposite.

If you land a job, celebrate it. You are allowed to feel happiness, so don’t deny yourself when things do go well. It doesn’t mean you’re undermining, or dishonouring what has happened behind the scenes – but it’s a vital step in what will become your personal recovery.

After a storm comes peace, so always seek to find that in any facet of your life that you can, and hold onto it – things can and will get better in time.

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About the Author Lucy Farrington-Smith

Lucy Farrington-Smith writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships and graduate jobs.