Job hunting sucks. There are no two ways about it. It's a miserable experience that becomes soul-destroying the longer you are out of work. But there are some things you can do to keep your chin up as self-loathing and paper cuts threaten to overwhelm you...
Be nice to yourself. Don't beat yourself up and don't compare yourself to others. Unemployment is a huge problem at the moment and there is no shame in being jobless, whatever the Daily Fail would have you believe. Try not to let your self-worth get tied up in whether you have a job or freelance work. Also included in being nice to yourself are sensible things like eating properly and exercising – you're probably broke, but walking and jogging are free and you should try not to live on biscuits or chips.
Prepare for emergencies
Speaking of being broke, it's going to be really important to budget. If you're living on money you've saved when you had job, the end of your student loan, the goodwill of your parents or the princely sum that is Job Seekers’ Allowance, then you're going to need to eke it out. Look at where your money is going, and prioritise. Rent and bills will probably be high up the list, followed by food (including fruit!), but have a think about saving up for emergencies; train fares to job interviews or dry-cleaning your suit. Nothing motivates like knowing you've got some emergency money saved up which can be spent on something fun when you get a job. If you can't afford to put anything aside at the moment, then try not to get toothpaste down your suit, and think about who might lend you the money for a train fare...
Tea and sympathy
Socialising is really important, especially if you have no real reason to leave the house. Get your friends and family to come and visit you, or meet up and make a single cup of coffee last three hours. Remember that lots of work, projects and jobs aren't formally advertised, especially in the creative industries, so the more people who know you're looking for work, the better. The person you meet might know of someone looking for someone like you – and at worst, you get a cuppa and chat, which is great for morale.
Alarm clocks are your friend
I'd also recommend trying to keep to a routine. Not only will it mean that you get to see your friends, partner and family – if they have jobs - but it will help you when you are back to work and have to get up at unholy o'clock. If you're inclined towards depression or anxiety, routine can be really helpful, even if it's entirely self-imposed.
Climb every mountain...
Finally, at the risk of sounding like Julie Andrews, can you see this period of unemployment as an opportunity? You'll have lots of time to fill between signing on, gnashing your teeth and re-jigging your CV for the millionth time. People say that job hunting is a full-time job in itself, but it doesn't have to be. If you get up as if you're going to work and spend the morning applying for jobs, that leaves you the whole afternoon to write your novel, make a film, rehearse a play...
If all else fails, commit to sending off at least one application a day, and try not to drink too much gin.
Follow Eleanor on Twitter at @eleanorturney or visit her website.
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Image by Sarah Reid via Flickr under a creative commons license.