I'm applying for jobs far and wide these days, so here's my post on how to keep going through the process -- despite discouragement from the economy and the rejections, not to mention the general state of anxiety that comes up in the whole process. Not that I'm an expert on these things, but here's what has worked for me and I want to remind myself to keep doing what is working.
Step 1. Application Potential
There's something wonderful about applying for jobs. The possibility, the anticipation, the chance of landing a real job as a professor. What could be better than thinking about that? Nothing, really. But while I'd try to remember all of this as you are writing your letter, and channel your excitement into the letter, the key is to stop there. Once you have submitted it, stop visualizing yourself living in potential job city. Just stop. Visualize a stop sign if you must, but don't keep thinking of the potential anymore. You are done with that application. Move on to the next one on the list.
Step 2. Treat yourself
Something small, a reward for every batch of applications that you finish. I do this twice a week, because they seem to be due at the start of the month or the middle. This is good because it allows you to acknowledge the work you put in and gives you the boost you need to keep going.
Step 3. When you get a rejection
And as long as you are applying far and wide, you will. But, don't let yourself feel sorry for yourself for a whole week! Go print out the rejection in question (if it came over email) and go find a big paper shredder and do a ritual shredding, preferably with a witness nearby who can remind you how lame that place is, and how you didn't want to go there anyway.
Step 4. Keep updating the list
This keeps the freshness of the possibility in your mind, and reminds you that there are still lots of options, no matter what has already passed. Do this at least once a week.
Step 5. Repeat
steps 1-4 until you get a job.
GOOD LUCK to everyone who is on the market this year!