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Managing a job search can be both challenging and frustrating. Follow our top tips to successfully navigate this process and avoid job search fatigue.
Searching for work can be exhausting. A lot of physical and emotional energy goes into the process–from sending out resumes to preparing for interviews and working the networking game. Putting in this much effort and not always getting great results can negatively impact a job seeker’s physical and mental health.
The longer a job search goes on, the more likely fatigue will set in. But unfortunately, the reverse is also true: Getting burnt out and frustrated is also likely to extend your search. It’s common to need to take a break from looking for work. No one can keep doing this forever. But when that fatigue lasts a week, several weeks, or a month, then you’re spiraling. The longer the fatigue spiral goes, the harder it is to pull out of it.
When you’re feeling a bad case of “what’s the point,” here are five top tips we’ll cover to help you manage the fatigue and get back on track!
Ask for advice and feedback
Create a daily schedule
Avoid making your career personal
Secure a bridge job
Lead a side project
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, approximately half of unemployed adults are pessimistic about their future job prospects. Further, 53% of respondents stated they felt they had lost a piece of their identity and 70% felt more stressed than usual.
For many job-seekers, there’s an instinct to self-isolate until you land employment again. Some people may feel some sense of stigma, stress and shame in being out of work.
If you feel like you’ve stopped making progress, it’s time to take a step back and look at what you can change to move forward. Career coaches are there to help you, but other professionals you trust, like former bosses or colleagues, can be useful as well.
Getting specific constructive feedback from people that know you as a professional can give you a great confidence boost and change your perspective on the job search. Find out what they think you brought to the table when you worked together. Were there any areas they thought you could improve on? Have they any tips or advice on job hunting strategies?
The answers to these questions will give you a great insight into how you can reinvigorate your job search and overcome your fatigue. Reconnecting with former colleagues or bosses can also be great fun in terms of catching up, and you may even hear about a potential job opening.
Creating a daily schedule that includes rewards is one way to stave off job search fatigue. Trawling through online job boards and firing out zillions of resumes that don’t hit the target isn’t going to make you feel very motivated.
Work out which activities net you the best results and build your schedule around it. Here are some top tips for creating a positive routine.
Allocate a couple of hours a week to complete online job applications, then seek out other job searching activities such as networking, coaching meetings, or personal development. Build time into your schedule for these activities.
Make sure your routine includes breaks and rewards. Give yourself a “win” every day - something on your to-do list that you know you can get done. This can give you a sense of accomplishment over time.
Your schedule should also include something to look forward to every week like a weekend hike or a new project to start on. Monotony breeds fatigue, so give yourself something to differentiate the days.
Finally, make sure you’re actually getting dressed every day, working from a place that isn’t your couch, and generally being your “work self” as much as possible.
Fighting off the fatigue isn’t easy, and there’s no “one task” to stop it from happening. Instead, it’s more a matter of many little things you can implement into your routine that can keep the spiral at bay. Planning it out now can save you a lot of problems later.
Exercising is a great way to build your self-esteem and overcome feelings of fatigue while also improving your physical health. Allocate time in your schedule for fitness activities whether that be a walk, run, bike ride, or online workout.
One reason unemployment leads to fatigue and depression is that people invest a lot of their identity into their careers. Losing your job can feel like a loss of identity. Getting rejected or not hearing back from jobs can make you feel even less of the person you thought you were.
It’s good to remember that who you are as a person is not defined by what you do for work. You can remind yourself of this by listing non-work-related activities you enjoy and are good at and then making time in your schedule to do these things.
If you still connect your identity with your job, try seeking out volunteer work or activities that are somewhat aligned with your past work. For example, if you worked in banking and finance, you could volunteer to manage the finances for your church or your favorite charity organization.
Obviously, the pay and time spent won’t replicate the experience of your job, but it may help you feel more like “yourself,” and that affirmation will help your job search. Above all, remember that your termination wasn’t personal and neither are the job rejections. Losing your job was something that happened to you, everything after that will be what you make happen.
If you are stuck in a rut with your job search, then taking a “bridge job” can be a great way to give you time and space to reset (as well as provide you with a paycheck). A bridge job is a temporary position that you can complete with minimal effort while you navigate your way to your next career move.
Whether you are dog walking, waiting tables, babysitting, or providing part-time consultancy in your area of expertise, the opportunity to take a step back and restore your mental energy is priceless. This also means you can get out of the house on a regular basis and interact with other people, which will also be revitalizing.
Strike forward and launch your own project or continue a project you started but paused due to your previous job or your current job search. Whether your project is a blog, website, podcast, newsletter, or a creative pursuit, this new avenue can provide a new purpose, enable you to recharge your batteries, and give you a great sense of satisfaction.
If you are creating interesting content related to your chosen career, then it’s a good idea to post this on social media platforms to help boost your connections. LinkedIn can be a great resource for professional networking. Adding interesting articles, insightful posts, and informative industry updates can get you noticed by a prospective employer.
Job search fatigue can very easily lead to burnout and depression. It’s vital that you address this fatigue as soon as you can to avoid things spiraling out of control.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice, and support from your ex-colleagues or bosses. They can give you a great insight into how you can reposition your job search and may have connections that lead you to your next position.
Create a daily routine that includes different job search activities like networking, coaching meetings, and personal development as well as rewards and fun activities so you can experience a “win” every day.
Try seeking out volunteer work, getting a bridge job, or launching a side project. This will give you time and space to reset, bring you some income, and generate potential networking opportunities.
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.