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5 Stage of the Job Search And How to Survive the Slog Stage

#jobsearch Oct 03, 2021

5 Stages of the Job Search

Recently I spoke with a client who was in midst of a career change/job search. She was frustrated with all of her apparent options.  “Will anything else really be any better?” She asked.  “Maybe the job I have isn’t so bad, after all.”

It’s common in a job search to feel frustrated and that nothing will work or the search will never end. There are several stage of career or job change.  My client is in what I call the slog stage.  Before the slog stage is the:

  1. Enthusiasm Stage:  You’ve made the decision to change.  You feel relief and excitement as you contemplate new options.  You may feel overwhelmed by new choices, but at least you’ve made the decision to leave your current work and do something else.

Enthusiasm can help you get started on a search.  You might readjust your work priorities and responsibilities to give you time to search.  However, as you get ready to send out another tailored resume and the first few rejections come in, you hit stage two:

2. Slog Stage:  The reality of the search settles in.  You now need to make some choices about your career direction.  You’re making new connections, learning about new industries, and adapting or rewriting your resume.  If you’ve jumped into applying for jobs, you’re managing emotions around receiving automated rejection messages or hearing nothing at all.  At this stage, the work of the new search often feels more overwhelming than sticking with your current job. 

3. Hope Stage:  At this stage, you’ve settled into a rhythm with your search.  You have learned more about new industries and jobs.  You’ve started to make new connections in the fields where you’re applying.  Your materials are ready to go, and applying to new jobs is easier.  You’ve started to get interviews, and you feel more enthusiasm for the process.

4. Success Stage:  You receive a job offer that you’ve decided to accept.  You’ve announced that you’re leaving your current job, and you feel great as friends and family congratulate you on the new role.

5. Beginning Stage:  You’ve left your old job and started your new one.  You begin the learning curve of your new role and are adapting to a new work environment.


Each of these stages has their own frustrations, fears, joys and hopes.  The slog stage, though, can be very difficult to weather, especially if it drags out over months.  Some people give up during the slog stage, deciding that it’s easier to stick with the job they already have rather than continue with the uncertainty and frustration of the job search.


If this is you, you’re not alone.  Here are some tips to weather the slog stage and move forward in your job search:

  •  Take a break. It may seem counterintuitive to pause a search, especially if you’re unhappy in your current work environment. However, taking an occasional week off from networking and applying to jobs can help you recharge and stay focused in your search. If your current job is truly impacting your mental health, you may need to leave before accepting another job offer.  But if you’re managing your work frustration overall, a break can help you keep your enthusiasm for your search.
  •  Don’t Chase Shiny Objects.  Balancing a job search and a full-time job demands a lot of energy.  Do you find yourself hitting Easy Apply on LinkedIn to any job that looks interesting?  Applying to jobs that might not be the best fit or have been posted for a while will drain your energy long term.  If you haven’t yet narrowed down your industry, work on figuring out what you want to do next before you send out the next round of resumes.  Also, set up search alerts that only show you jobs that have been posted within the last 24 hours so that you have a good shot to be early in the applicant pool.
  •  Balance Your Search Between Networking and Applying.  Applying for jobs isn’t a numbers game alone.  Building up a network of relationships in your target industries takes time but will help you gain important information and insights about your industries, help you tailor your materials well, and will likely yield referrals to opportunities.  Scheduling and conducting informational interviews takes time, but you’ll reap the benefits when someone passes your resume on to the hiring manager.


Navigating the slog stage of the job search isn’t easy, but you can do it!  Keep in mind that the slog stage will pass and that you will receive job offers that you want.

Do you have questions about your job search and how I might help you?  Schedule your free 15-minute appointment today!

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