How to get unstuck in your job search

How to get unstuck in your job search - The Happy Mondays Co - Sandra Quelle

Are you a headless chicken or an ostrich? 15 seconds Test! 

Scene 1: 

Sitting in front of your laptop, browsing for jobs, you go to LinkedIn. As you browse through, you find hundreds of great opportunities. You apply for everything. Satisfied you close your laptop and pour yourself a glass of wine and wait to hear back. At least one of your applications will come through.

After some time, you go back to your laptop, open the hottest job boards, find many great opportunities, write a hundred cover letters and apply to every opportunity. Satisfied, you think ‘job done’ and get on with the more enjoyable things in life that don’t involve your job search.

You wait. Nothing happens.


Scene 2:

Another day starts. You’re sitting in front of your laptop, browsing for jobs, you go to LinkedIn. As you browse through, you find nothing even remotely interesting. You close your laptop and pour yourself a glass of wine, thinking: “Maybe tomorrow I will find something”.

Tomorrow comes. You try other job boards and you start looking at openings with all the top companies. After hours of searching that feel like swimming through quagmire, you find more of nothing. You close your laptop and pour yourself a stiff Vodka, thinking: “What’s wrong with me?”

The day ends. You again made no progress in your career change.


Stuck in scenario one? Congratulations! You’re a headless chicken.

Or are you in scenario two? Congratulations! You’re an ostrich with its head stuck in the sand.

Time to leave the birds behind. Let’s get you on to the path of being a happy and successful professional in Singapore.

It’s not me. It’s the market.

Sorry! The problem is not the job market. Well, maybe it is a little bit, but just a little bit. You’re stuck because of one of these or all of these reasons:

  1. You have no clear objective. Be honest with yourself. Beyond “I need a job, I need to make money”, do you know what your career objective is?
  2. Your job search lacks structure. You just dive in and see what you can find.
  3. You don’t have a concrete action plan to find and secure your Happy Job.

Yes, sorry. The source of your frustration probably is YOU.

Yes, I know. I’m a bit harsh. It didn’t feel good hearing that, but the good news is that most of us also suffer from one or all of these syndromes. This is because many of us simply “end up” in a career by chance more than by choice. Something like ‘this is where the wind blew, so this is where I landed’. Figuring out what to do next is hard. Even more so with LinkedIn and hundreds job boards showing thousands of vacancies across the island. Where to even begin?

Most people simply jump in and align their search to whatever they can find. Whilst this is helpful to find something, it won’t really help you find the right thing. Plus, following this typical approach, you will just find yourself in exactly the same position again in a couple of months (or hopefully years) from now when it’s time to find a new job. Do you really want to feel like this over and over again?

OK, maybe I can try something else…

Instead of following this typical method, why not try something new, something revolutionary. Honestly, it’s so different that it will amuse you! Here it goes...

Ask yourself: “What do I really want?”

Amazing right!? But really, have you ever asked yourself this question and spent some proper time answering it? Have you ever allowed yourself to dream big? To really say, ‘hey, if I could do anything, what would I do?’

This might seem silly. Heck, it might even seem like useless extra work, when job searching is already almost like a job in itself, but think about it: how can you actually find something if you can’t clearly define it?

In job searching, as in every other aspect of life, the first step for success is to have a well-defined goal or objective. If you don’t have a clear goal, how can you ensure that the actions and steps you’re taking are going to lead where you want to end up?

I don’t believe in 'let’s see what happens’. It’s time to take control and to realize that we have power over our careers!  We deserve it; we deserve to be truly happy and successful, not just kind of happy and kind of successful.

Right, I thought about it… Now what?

“I want to be millionaire… or an astronaut!”

Was this your answer? 

Nice. Well, good that you spent some time to think about it! You’ve overcome the first problem in your job search: you know what you want.

Now, you just need structure and a plan to make it happen. It would also be a good idea to validate whether your goal is genuine and thus achievable. For example, are you prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to become an astronaut, such as going back to university to study a Bachelor’s in Engineering, Biology, Physical Science, Computer Science or Mathematics and then get 1,000 hours minimum in pilot-in-command time on a jet aircraft? Good. Now, think about the actions required and break the journey into manageable steps to get you there.

Not worth the effort? Reconsider your goal. Repeat this exercise until you get to a goal that fulfills your needs, aligns with your vision, values and interests and puts you in a job in which you’re playing to your strengths 

I know that this is easier said than done. So here is my suggestion:

You may not know what you want. Don’t worry. I’m sure you at least have an idea of what you don’t want, right?

Get a pen and paper. Create 3 columns:

Must haves/Must NOT haves > The real deal breaker: Write down your needs in terms of what you must absolutely have and what you ideally don’t want to have in your next job. This can be anything and everything regarding your seniority, salary, company style, management philosophy, company values, tasks, responsibilities etc.

Ideal > Our aim. We should look for a role and/or company that allows you to have this, or at least bring you one step closer. Not a deal breaker.

Don’t mind doing > Not my favorite things, but I can live with them.

Once you have written down all the answers, spend some time analysing them. Is there something that stands out? Maybe some things come up more than once and seem related with each other in some way? Zero in on these points and start crafting your Happy Job.

Do you seem to have different job or career options? Great! It’s time for you to validate. Before heading into the job search, we always encourage our clients to validate their expectations to make sure their Happy Job actually exists in reality.

Do you know anyone working in these areas?  Why not arrange a meet-up and learn from their first-hand experience of being in your Happy Job? Speaking to them will give you the chance to validate that your Happy Job exist and can also get you some interesting leads and market insights.


From this day forward, instead of looking through jobs and asking yourself ‘am I right for this’, start asking ‘is this job good enough for me?’ Believe in yourself. Aim big. It’s better to end up half way through a big goal than achieving something small. Don’t you think?

Follow our recipe to gain clarity of what you want and give direction to your search. Only then can you truly find what you are looking for. It will take work, it will take dedication, but it’ll be worth it! 😊

Struggling to complete this on your own? Give us a shout and book your first free consultation with one of our Happy Mondays consultants. Click here to book now.