Land Your Dream Job
Careers that help you move from intention to action

Job Hunting Tip: Embrace Your Surroundings

Victoria Crispo profile image

Victoria Crispo

Black woman wearing a head scarf, hat, heels, and a blazer happily walks outside swinging a purse.

Maybe you've been doing it for a week, or maybe it's been six months and you're ready to give up—I've been there. Job hunting is one of the most exciting and stressful parts of life; on one hand, you're looking for brand new-to-you roles that should excite and delight you. On the other hand, you're trying to showcase the value you can bring to an organization that is looking at anywhere from 10 to hundreds of other applications that may be saying the same thing.

I don't mean to trivialize the job search in any way; at the end of the day, we all need a paycheck to survive. But in our quest to find something that can provide both meaning and security, we're likely making an already stressful situation worse.

To help you destress from the job search, I wanted to share a few actionable job hunting tips that don't have to do with tweaking your resume or making a targeted employer list (though of course, we have plenty of that advice on this blog, too!). Instead, I want you to take a break (however long you have) and focus on anything other than your job search.

Observe your surroundings

When we simply observe what's around us, we can gain startling realizations about the world and discover ways to implement new solutions to the problems we're facing, whether its the job search in general or our outlook on work at a whole. Observation can be seen as a form of “listening with our eyes,” if you will. Everything we see can tell us a story, even if it’s only a small piece.

If you have 5 minutes…

Go outside and take a look at your immediate surroundings. What do you see? Is the sun rising or setting? Is your neighbor walking his dog, and if so, what is the dog doing—pulling his owner along, examining flowers, making friends? Reflect on any insights you get; for example, if you take note that the dog is particularly jovial, does that mimic your own social behaviors or perhaps serve as a reminder that you’ve been doing too much lately? Maybe it’s time to make a new friend, examine what’s under the leaf, or let someone else take the lead for a while! Implement one of the changes and see what differences you notice along the way.

If you have 20 minutes…

Engage in the same exercise as above, but venture out further than your front door. Take a 20-minute drive or walk. Explore a new neighborhood or take note of the changes that took place in yours. Have new stores or a community center gone up? What new resources might you now have the opportunity to take advantage of? Maybe you’ve wanted to take action with healthier habits and you've just spotted a new gym or farmer’s market that can help you reach your goals.

Dedicating a bit more time to yourself should allow you to step back and better identify any challenges that have been hampering your job search, be it a lack of clarity on what you actually want to do or a need to grow your network.

If you have an hour…

Devote a full hour to explore every detail you can of a local museum, cafe, or other place that inspires or interests you. People watch. Imagine what type of careers passersby have, what they do in their spare time, and where they get their “spark."

Listen in on a conversation or two—what advice would you give them if you were participating? Be your own mentor by asking yourself, “which pieces of my advice uncannily apply to my own life?” and then follow your recommendations. Also take in the rest of the sights and sounds of this new area. What colors excite you, what sounds are most relaxing and grounding to you? What does the place you picked tell you about where you want to be and how you want to spend your time?

For more job search tips, check out some more of our resources below!

Victoria Crispo profile image

Victoria Crispo

 I write actionable and optimistic content for the Idealist Career Advice blog, helping a wide range of individuals at various stages of their careers to find work that is purposeful and fuels their professional development.

Explore Jobs on Idealist