As a recent graduate, looking for work, I found myself saying this almost on a daily basis. I know I’m not the only recent graduate to have this thought creep into their minds and I’m sure that even the most senior employees have found themselves thinking this at some point in their life as well.

When you launch your job search campaign, it usually starts out with a flurry of energy and eagerness. You’ve updated and tightened up your resume and portfolio, check out a number of recruitment agencies, fired up LinkedIn, Indeed or Workopolis and started scouting companies for contacts and information. Things started out well: getting some email replies or phones calls from an actual person, maybe even a few interviews, and then….. Nothing. Employers who seemed interested in hiring you don’t contact you back and everything goes quiet. You try and repeat the process that you thought was conducive to your previous success and suddenly everything seems to grind to a halt. You begin to doubt yourself about whether you’ll ever be able to secure a job and start building a career for yourself.

That initial energy is lost, months go by, money becomes tight, your contact list shrinks and opportunities start to dwindle. You feel like you’ve “hit a wall.”

A lot of job seekers can’t imagine their search going months upon months without creating any sort of tangible results. Perhaps they take the ‘dead silence’ from potential employers as a knock on their skills or marketability. You start to make negative, subjective assessments of yourself that are just wrong. This experience is not uncommon; you’re certainly not alone.

Here are some pointers on how to help yourself break through when you’ve ‘hit the wall’:

Be realistic and maintain a positive attitude

I touched on this in an article I wrote for the RGD Student Blog. Understand that your career is a process and that process takes time to churn out tangible results. When finding work becomes increasingly more difficult, don’t blow it all up and start all over; re-evaluate your job search tactics. Are you being too narrow-minded in your job search? Are you missing certain skills needed to be successful in your field? What can you do to obtain said skills?

Most importantly, give yourself breaks in between your job search routines. Exercise, go for a walk, get outside and try to disconnect for a little bit.

Ask for help

Being despondent and stressed out about your career future can put you in a situation where you close yourself off from your family, friends, classmates and colleagues. The reality is they WANT to help you, but if you don’t say anything, how can they possibly know? Reach out to them for honest advice, have them evaluate your job searching tactics and communicate what it is you want from them and your career. Check out sites like Meetup or Eventbrite to find like-minded people who share common goals and experiences. Talk to other people who have experienced a prolonged job search and learn how they dealt with it or how they’re currently dealing with it. Be brave enough to understand and realize that your job search has stalled out, and then try some outside the box strategies to get it moving again. Remember that you do not have to do this on your own. Enlist the support of your friends and family and all of those you respect.

Set up a game plan and document your progress

Set up realistic timeframes and accomplishments. Keep a file of all the jobs you’ve applied to and update it as often as you can. Make a note of: the position they’re advertising, their location, something you like or remember about them, the date you applied for that position and the status of your application. Identify what your career and personal values are and highlight your transferrable skills and marketable assets.


This one has been drilled into our heads so frequently, it almost becomes like white noise at this point. However, it’s been proven statistically to be the most effective way to secure a job; it’s who knows YOU. Even if networking doesn’t result in a job offer, it still represents a great opportunity for advice, guidance and referrals.

Job searching is the hardest job you will ever have! But it doesn’t have to take control and ruin the fun in your life. It’s going to take time to get your career rolling in the direction you want it to go. If you’re feeling stuck, ask for help. Talk to people you trust and get their advice on the matter. Job searching is a time for honest evaluation in terms of what you want out of your career, both short and long term. It’s not something that you should rush into haphazardly.