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How To Avoid Burnout During Your Job Search

How To Avoid Burnout During Your Job Search

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

If you ask a room full of job seekers how they feel about the search, many will say they’re tired, burned out, or both. The truth is, the job market is competitive right now, and more than half of unemployed adults are exhausted from job hunting. If you’re currently looking for a job, you might be experiencing one or more of the following:

·   Your job search is consuming most of your physical and mental energy every day, making it hard to focus on or enjoy anything else.

·   You have feelings of hopelessness when you think of finding a new job, and you often want to give up the search.

·   The thought of sending out another resume and not hearing back makes you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed.

All of these emotions are valid and relatable, but that doesn’t mean they have to dictate your reality. Burnout isn’t inevitable when job searching — in fact, with a few tweaks to your mindset and approach, you can avoid (or at least minimize) job search burnout altogether.

As a career coach, educator, and HR expert, here are four bits of advice I have for all the job seekers out there.

Take Time Off From Job Searching

You may hear your friends, family, or even other career coaches saying that you should treat your job search like a full-time job. I couldn’t disagree more with this advice. For starters, it implies that the more hours you pour into the job search, the sooner you’ll find a job. In reality, it’s not that simple, and we can only fill out so many applications in a day. Treating your job search like a full-time job isn’t realistic; it’s inefficient, and it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling tired.

Here’s what to do instead: Plan time away from your laptop and engage in activities that energize or relax you, whether that’s exercising, spending time with friends, reading, or trying something new. Even full-time jobs come with time off, and by filling your own cup now, you’ll have more patience for job searching later.

Apply to Fewer Jobs

So many people take a mass approach to job searching, applying to any and every job that even remotely matches their interests and skill set. I don’t recommend this strategy. I understand that you want a new job, but shipping your resume out to every opportunity you see is just going to eat up time and contribute to burnout. And let’s be real, do you even want half of those jobs you’re applying to? Taking a job you don’t want might mean you’ll be in the same position — searching for a new job — again soon.

Here’s what to do instead: Focus on sharpening your materials and applications for jobs that a) you’re genuinely interested in and b) you’re qualified for. You’re more likely to get these jobs than the random ones you’re submitting resumes for, anyway.

Be Selective About the Jobs You Apply For

This advice goes along with the point above: A more conscious approach to job searching can avoid burnout. Filling out more applications does not mean you’ll get more interviews; spending more time on the right opportunities does.

Here’s what to do instead: Create a list of the type of roles you’re willing to apply for (e.g. project manager, video editor, etc.), and then a separate list of “non-negotiables” for the type of company you want to work for (e.g. you want a company with unlimited PTO, a company with 401k matching, etc.). If you see a job posting come up that doesn’t meet this criteria, skip it! Your time and sanity are more important than filling out another application for a job you don’t want.

Be Smart About Where You Put Your Energy

Let’s get clear on one thing: Not all career-related tasks are created equal. Some simply give you more bang for your buck. My advice for saving time and avoiding burnout is to pinpoint the handful of strategies that are yielding the best results (of course, this will vary from person to person). To find those, do a little self-inventory about what has worked best so far in your job search. What has generated the most opportunities? What has gotten you the furthest in the interview process? For example, if you’ve gotten most of your job leads from your network, schedule more time for networking. Double down on what’s working for you, and scale back on whatever hasn’t worked.

Wherever you are in the job search process, keep showing up, sticking it out, and thinking strategically. In time, you will get a job, and if you can protect your peace of mind during the search, all the better!

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