Most of us are no strangers to burnout. In fact, for some, job stress is an ever-present phenomenon — one that can wreak havoc on our professional AND personal lives.
And burnout isn’t just limited to the job itself. Job hunting is often extremely exhausting and frustrating, and even the most resilient among us can feel ourselves succumbing to burnout when that search seems neverending.
If this sounds familiar, here are seven strategies to try to curb burnout in the midst of a draining job hunt.
It’s tempting to engage in your job hunt all day, every day. The more applications you put out, the more likely you are to find that perfect fit, right?
First of all, that’s not necessarily true. Think quality over quantity. Apply strategically to the jobs that are the best fit, not just any job, and put effort into polishing those applications.
Plus, not setting limits will drain your battery. Institute boundaries for your job search, so that you have downtime and won’t feel like you’re operating on empty.
Similarly, it’s important to take short breaks throughout the day to preserve your energy and recharge. You probably know this is critical for your work life, too, and it’s just as important for your job hunt. Not only will you feel better mentally, but you will more than likely find that you’re more productive after taking even a few minutes for yourself. Grab a snack. Stretch. Go for a walk. Meditate.
And, if you’ve been at your job search for a while, it’s okay — encouraged, even — to take a break altogether. Perhaps you’re simply exhausted and need a week to re-evaluate your strategy and get yourself into a better headspace.
You don’t have to do it alone. Look to friends and family for help. Even if they’re not professionals in your industry, they might be able to read over your cover letters and resume and practice interviewing with you — or they can just offer encouragement.
It could also be worthwhile to engage an expert, such as a career coach, to offer advice on the type of jobs you’re best suited for and how to best tailor your materials, as well as skills to hone.
Taking a step back and helping others can be reinvigorating. This always you to get outside of yourself and think of other people, which, in turn, will help you feel better about yourself and boost your mental health.
Plus, volunteering can be a great way to build and improve skills in your chosen industry. You could even get your foot in the door at an organization that offers paid work or at least make valuable connections in the world. You’ll also have excellent experience to add to your resume.
You’ve probably had jobs that have been so demanding that your favorite hobbies and activities have had to take a backseat. This can happen with looking for a job, too.
Try not to let your job search affect every aspect of your life. It’s important for your mental health to make time for the activities you love. Grabbing dinner with friends, reading a great book, running, playing with your dog or whatever it is you love to do should be a priority. Your hobbies won’t take the place of your job search, but they will allow you to keep persisting and give you something to look forward to.
Job searching can be a lonely endeavor. Spending all your time glued to your computer, sending out resume after resume, is bound to affect your mental health. But what choice do you have? Actually, quite a few.
There are plenty of networking events where you can meet professionals in your industry or prospective field and get your name out there. In-person opportunities are making a comeback, so you can leave your couch and make real, live connections, which will help you establish more of a community and interact with people.
Dwelling on the negative — your stressful, frustrating job hunt — is natural. But if you find a way to spin it and look at the glass half full, you’ll be able to maintain a better outlook.
Celebrate small victories, professional or personal. Perhaps you had an interview that seemed to go really well. Or maybe you reached out to a former colleague with positive reception. Even if they seem like minor events, you deserve to celebrate and embrace them as positive steps toward a successful future.
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.
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