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The Repeat Phase: Responding to Set-Backs


When I first developed this idea of a “repeat phase” in my workbook, The Process of Getting Hired, I viewed this phase as something that applied directly to professionals who were pursuing a new job or internship. Now that I talk about it more and write it for you today, I realize it applies to everyone no matter if they are career focused or not. It applies to everyone because there are times in life where you have to REPEAT what you have been doing and it feels overwhelming. The key to a successful Repeat Phase is to do it DIFFERENTLY than you previously did it.

For the sake of examples and length of this post, I will focus on how this applies to your career. And I hope you can apply it to any part of your life that is in a Repeat Phase.


The Repeat Phase in your job/internship hunt is the time when you have worked hard for something and all opportunities have said “no” or “not now”.

It is when you feel defeated and not sure if you will ever secure a job that fulfills you. It is when you have been job searching and internship hunting for a while and nothing has worked out (for various reasons).

You then start to blame yourself, lose confidence, and feel lost.

You then spiral into letting feelings and emotions cloud reality.



At this point you desperately need perspective - and we can achieve this through the next 3 steps.

  1. You need to step back, take a deep breath, and work through what I call “The Repeat Exercise”.

  2. Then you talk it out with someone you trust. Someone who will ask questions and listen. Someone who will be your logical, reasonable sounding board. Someone who you can be vulnerable with.

  3. Get up and start again



In order to move forward and see a different result from what you have been experiencing,

YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE and remove your feelings from the equation.

I know this exercise works because I remember sitting in my sister’s house after hearing the words on the other end of the phone say yet again “not now”. This time it was because they weren’t ready and I was over-qualified. The reason didn’t make it better in that VERY emotional moment. I was sitting there wondering how I could possibly start applying again. Wondering how I was going to pay the bills in a month.

I was defeated, confused, and just tired.

After a good cry, I decided to remove the emotion and started making myself think about my situation from a different perspective. I started asking questions and trying my best to answer them. And then when I couldn’t answer them on my own, I asked for help (which is Step 2). I made myself think about all the things that were working and were available to me. I stopped focusing on what I didn’t have (a job with X company) and focused on the fact that I have 2 design and branding clients and I loved that work. It was then that I considered the idea that maybe I wasn’t supposed to work for someone else, maybe I was supposed to work for myself… and the rest is history!


I want to list a series of emotional questions that come from a very real and defeated place.

And then turn them into honest reflection questions. That will then push you toward actionable steps.

eloise design co


You are not a failure if your job hunt takes longer. Please hear that.

But it can be unhealthy if you let it wear you down and if you do it ALONE.

Don’t do your career alone and NEVER do your job search alone. I understand that not everyone can afford a career coach or resume writer. But you can’t afford to not have a mentor, accountability professional, or friend who will listen, ask you questions, and motivate you.

Once you have had some time to think through some of the questions above and removed the emotional “victim-focused” mentality, you need to share what you have discovered with someone you trust.

It is one of my greatest joys to be this person for professionals. And I bet there is at least 1 person in your life who would want to be a mentor, accountability professional, or listening ear.

As much as I want you to pick someone who will listen to you, I want you to pick someone who YOU will listen to as well. You may not have a great history of listening to your parents, so don’t pick them as your accountability professional/listening ear.


Once you have reflected and talked it out, you should have some ideas of what you need to do.

I want you to make a list of all the little things you can do next. I want you to make them small because we can be overwhelmed by the big tasks. Instead of writing “Redo resume and cover letters”, write “Find 1 person to review my resume and cover letter”. Once you find that person, your next step is to ask them and send them the documents. Make it small and make it manageable.

Remember … YOU’VE GOT THIS … and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.


If any of this post resonates with you, please look at The Process of Getting Hired Workbook,

Interview Prep Workbook, or consider taking my online course “Personal Branding for Professionals”.

Also, check out my job hunt blog posts HERE.



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