While wondering when you’ll hear back from an employer after an interview, time seems to come to a standstill … or maybe even crawl backwards! But there are things you can do while waiting for the employer gets back to you that will help keep you sane – and possibly position you even better as a result no matter what the outcome.
Things to make the time go more quickly while waiting
- Find a book to get lost in – This is a great time to pick up a book (or two or three) that you always meant to read or go find a new one. Don’t forget the local library for some old-fashioned browsing pleasure and maybe a conversation or two with others also waiting to hear back!
- Take up a hobby – A calmer person is much better at riding out a long wait … but also a better job hunter and interviewee. So is there anything you always wanted to try but somehow never got around to? Fun things. Painting. Writing science fiction. Acting. Puppetry. Puzzles. Knitting (yes, even men). Yoga. Tennis. Guitar. Soccer. This is a chance to get lost in something that will help soothe the frustration and also add a new dimension to you. Might even lead to new networking contacts.
- Sign up for a class – Use the energy you’re putting into waiting for the phone to ring to learn a new skill that may or may not help your career, but will definitely add dimension to who you are as a person – and again, you may meet people to network with or even use this to connect (or stand out) in interviews. Learn a new language. Get website-building skills. Find out what physics is really all about. Learn to write better. Improve your math skills. Learn to cook. Learn auto repair so you never get snowed by a repair guy again.
- Volunteer – Find a local non-profit or civic group dedicated to an issue you really care about. Once again, you may find connections to people or jobs this way … just in case the job you’re waiting for doesn’t happen. And, depending on your career field, it may add nicely to your resume and provide a good answer to what you’ve been doing with your time.
- Rent plenty of movies – I think this one explains itself. Netflix has a free month if you’re not already a member. That just might do the trick!
- Work on your health – What a perfect time to accomplish something that helps you feel and look better. Start a healthier eating plan. Take up meditation. Begin daily walks or jogging or any kind of aerobic exercise you enjoy. Sign up for (or use) a gym membership if you can afford it. If not, look for things that you can add to your day that help keep those endorphins flowing. Job search can be depressing. Movement and working on things that make you feel better can help in all kinds of ways – even how you feel when you get to the next interview.
- Start a blog – A blog can serve at least two purposes. You can simply build a site from scratch about something that you really enjoy and that alone will keep you busy and perhaps even open up paths for your future. Or you can create a blog related to your field that strengthens your online presence and will serve as a site to which you can point people, to help your career now as well as later on.
- Help a family member or friend – While waiting to hear about something you need, it might be a great time to look around and see if someone you care about needs something. Assuming they are open to it, make it your mission to help them. Not only good for them, but great for your self-esteem and time well spent.
- Invent something – Have you ever toyed with inventing something new and making millions? Well, maybe you won’t turn it into big money, but what a wonderful time to put your creativity to the test and see what you come up with.
- Start a small business – On a similar note, if you’ve ever thought about turning a passion into a business, what better time. It will keep your focus away from the silent phone, while perhaps creating a bridge to your future later on.
Things to help your job search (just in case)
Look … I hope that this job turns out to be the one. But if not, this is a great time to make sure that the next one – or maybe the one after that – is the one! So use this waiting period to help work on things that might help you get to the right job for you.
- Spiff up your LinkedIn profile – Not only can this help with future job searches, but while you’re being reviewed by the company you’re waiting to hear from, they may be looking you up.
- Strengthen your resume – No time like the present to give yourself the best job search tools possible.
- Create a career story – If you don’t have one yet, you want to create a unified story that pieces together where you’ve been with where you are going in a way that is logical and engaging.
- Make a list of more people to contact for networking – Should this job not come through (and of course I hope it does), be ready to start contacting additional people to connect with.
- Snoop around online for more companies you might be interested in – Use Google, LinkedIn, newspapers and magazines, trade organizations, job search engines, etc. to try to find new companies to explore and perhaps target for a job.
- Keep looking for jobs – I know it’s tempting just to wait and see. But looking for and applying to new jobs NOW gives you a head start just in case – and it also might bring you an even better job. I’ve seen it happen, even when the person thought what they were waiting for was IT.
- Find a project to take on – Look for a freelance or pro bono job, something related directly to your career and where you want it to go.
- Look for online or local groups to join – You want things related to your field as well as alumni groups and / or organizations that you somehow feel connected to. Also you may find some support groups that can help you through this time and with job search as a whole.
- Find local networking events or conferences – Even if you are hoping this one is THE job, you can still meet people whom you can connect with for later. Don’t forget to have a card that has your name and contact information as well as your field and / or desired position.
- Take time to research yourself online – If you can find it, they can find it. So if there is anything you need to clean up online that doesn’t reflect well on you (not THAT picture!) use this time to take care of it. Or add some new things (publications, LinkedIn articles, your blog, etc.) that will show up to strengthen your reputation.
Things to help with this particular job
Whether you’re looking for something to use in a follow-up note or preparing for a possible next interview:
- Set up a Google alert(s) and keep track of what’s happening in the company. (Also good for tracking other companies and people you’re interested in.)
- Stay connected to social networking for the company and industry.
- Learn even more about one of the skills you would need for this job.
- Follow up when appropriate using some things you learned during your snooping or sharing something new about yourself, like a new skill or accomplishment.
- Look for people in the company who might be willing to be your champion – or at least clue you in to what’s happening with the position. But you need to be careful. Don’t just randomly go after someone for this purpose. Only try it if you have a close connection who knows someone there. And even then … tread gently and politely.
And don’t forget that if the answer is no, you still send a short, polite thank you note expressing regret and also continued interest in the company. You never know when a new position may come up and you definitely want them to think of you in a good light!
Final thoughts about keeping your spirits up
Self-image and attitude are key to a successful job search. So do whatever you can to keep your spirits up. If you let the wait get to you, if you allow it to eat at you, you can start to question your own value and marketability. And that shows on the outside – even if you don’t realize it.
We carry on the outside what we feel inside. And when you do finally get that call, if you’re still carrying some of those self-doubts, it colors your whole interview. As a person who has interviewed many people, we see it more often than you might think … and it matters!
So use some of the suggestions above or create your own spirit boosters. It can make a huge difference for your job search – and even for your next contact with the job you’re still waiting to hear back from!
Some more posts to help while waiting to find out: