You’ve been job searching for months now, and some days you feel optimistic and confident about landing a new job, but most days you’d rather just crawl in bed and stay there.
After all, you feel like you’ve done everything right, but nothing seems to be working. You’ve updated your resume 21 times, you’ve applied for more jobs than you can count, and you’ve even tried LinkedIn stalking to find the hiring manager. But despite your efforts, your applications are rarely turning into interviews and the interviews have yet to turn into job offers.
Now, you find yourself experiencing a classic case of job search burnout, and the thought of giving up and either staying put at your current job or exploring other options sounds pretty tempting. But, before you throw in the towel, here are five things you can do right now to beat job search burnout so you can keep putting your best foot forward in your job search.
Create a Realistic Schedule When you’re so ready for something new, it can be tempting to want to do as much as possible to change your situation. But, if you find yourself job searching 24/7 or feeling guilty when you’re not in front of your laptop submitting applications, then you could benefit from having a little more structure in your job search. Whether you realize it or not, job search burnout impacts your ability to be consistently productive, and pushing yourself more than you need to will only make matters worse.
Plus, your goal should be to spend quality time on your job search, not more time than necessary. So, allocate non-negotiable hours to your job search based on your personal commitments, work schedule, and flexibility. This might mean setting aside time from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but skipping Thursdays because you usually work late Thursday nights. This way, when it’s time to focus on your job search, you can do so with zero distractions, and when it’s time to focus on your other priorities, you can do so guilt-free.
Build a Positive Proof Box When you’ve been hit with rejection left and right in your job search, you can start to wonder if landing a new job is even possible for you right now. On top of that, every time you see or talk to someone else who seems to be having a hard time with their job search, it can start to feel like that’s just the way things must be right now, which can lead to feelings of defeat or discouragement.
But another way to help you beat job search burnout and fatigue is by creating a proof box. It doesn’t have to be a literal box. It can be a file you keep on your computer that you can revisit whenever you start to question if you can land a new job. In this proof box, you’ll want to start adding positive evidence that landing a new job is possible for you right now. This could be screenshots from LinkedIn of people celebrating their new jobs in the middle of a pandemic, a screenshot of a positive news article about the job market, or a screenshot of an encouraging text message from a loved one. Get creative. But the key is to train yourself to look for positive proof that will inspire and motivate you to keep going on your down days.
Revamp Your Perspective I always say that job searching is a full-time job because you spend half of the time doubting and second-guessing yourself. But, to beat job search burnout, you have to reset your perspective. Recently, one of my clients reached out to me feeling panicked and frustrated about her job search because she hadn’t landed any interviews yet. But, my advice to her was, “What if in the next two weeks, because of the effort you decide to put in this week, you’re able to land amazing interviews? Or what if, three weeks from now, you’re in the final round of the interview process at an incredible company because you decided to keep going today?”
What if works both ways. You can either use your imagination to worry or you can use your imagination to visualize things working for you. Luckily, my client decided to take my advice to put her energy and focus into positioning herself as a top candidate, and one week later, she was celebrating an interview at a company she was excited about joining.
Quit Panic-Applying You know how it goes: after an unexpected rejection email or a terrible day at work, you hop on your favorite job board sites and start submitting applications as fast as you can. Then, over the next few days, your mood continues to plummet as more rejection emails roll into your inbox. What was supposed to help you feel better only ends up making you feel more dejected.
But, just like you should get boundaries on your time, you should also have boundaries on the type of jobs you’re willing to pursue if you want to overcome job search burnout and fatigue. Instead of panic-applying to as many jobs as possible, only apply to jobs you feel genuinely excited about pursuing. Doing so will make putting together your resume, cover letter, and application more enjoyable than if you just threw your applications out there and hoped for the best.
Envision The New You If you’re the type of person who wants to land a new job that challenges you, that taps into your underutilized skills, and that allows you to make an impact, then there’s one more way you can beat job search burnout, and it’s getting clear on your why. When your job search seems to be dragging and when you’re tempted to take whatever you can get, you need to have an immediate answer for yourself on why you should keep going after what you really want. Ask yourself: Why is landing a better job more important to you right now? How will securing your ideal role improve you or other areas of your life? Outside of your career, what’s motivating you to take this next step in your career? Getting clear on your why and envisioning the new, more fulfilled, and confident you will help you keep going in your job search when the going gets tough.
Job searching can feel like a constant headache, especially when you feel like you’re doing everything you can to land a new job you’ll love. But, the key is to not give up, to be willing to re-adjust, and to stay focused on the end goal. When done the right way, your job search will simply be a temporary experience for a long-term gain of meaningful employment.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.
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