Looking for work is never easy, that’s for sure. Now, with COVID-19, employment opportunities are harder to get than ever before. This might have caused you to start feeling job search burnout.
But how do you distinguish typical stress from job search burnout? A few signs that the primary cause of stress in your life comes from trying to find a new job are:
- Getting overwhelmed or stressed by simple tasks like sending your resume or logging into LinkedIn.
- Feeling as if your energy completely drains the minute you think about job searching.
- Avoiding social interaction.
- A decrease in the quality of your health since you’ve started looking for new employment.
- Feeling constantly irritated or frustrated.
These symptoms are a sign that you’re suffering from job search burnout, i.e. additional high levels of stress caused by looking for new work opportunities. Whether you are unemployed or just trying to find a more rewarding job, it can happen to you and there are steps you can take to get out of that lump and begin feeling better again.
8 amazing tips to deal with and minimise job search burnout
- Create boundaries for yourself and take breaks:
It’s neither fun nor healthy to spend the entire day in front of a screen, going through dozens of job applications, endlessly tweaking your resume and cover letter. You need to know where to draw the line and set limits, otherwise, those hours become less and less productive. To prevent job search burnout, take regular breaks, and only spend a few hours a day focused solely on finding new employment. You’ll feel refreshed after clearing up your mind off the subject for a while.
- Adjust your mindset:
Don’t see it as a despicable chore; instead, try to think of each application you send as a way to be one step closer to that dream job. If you’re accumulating negativity, it will be only a matter of time before you start feeling that job search burnout. I know it’s a tough and draining process, but if you only feel frustration towards it then you’re bound to be stressed. Try to find the best in every application you submit, and you’ll be one step closer to find “the one”.
- Don’t fall in love with a job too early:
It’s natural to have a strong preference for a specific position or company, but to get fixated on it will probably lead to disappointment. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a dream job or company, just that when you apply for it you’ll be better off maintaining an open mind. It’s wiser to be realistic and accept the challenge of making it to a job offer rather than falling in love and only being open to that one position. Keeping an optimistic yet cautious attitude will prevent you from feeling overly frustrated if things don’t work in the end.
- Don’t spend ages fine-tuning your resume or application:
If it’s taking you more than a week to work on your resume or application for a job opening, then you just have to learn to let it go at some point. There’s always going to be one little thing you’ll want to change, but recruiters don’t spend hours or even minutes looking at your resume – as shown by this study. They take a glance and compare it to the other hundreds of applications they’ve received. So work a few hours, maybe even a day or two on fine-tuning yours, and then send it for once and for all. Job search burnout will catch you if every application takes forever to complete, getting lost in the smallest of details. Perfectionism is not always the best move.
- Find people you can relate to:
Sometimes all we need to prevent feeling stressed is to find someone to talk with about the subject. Job search burnout includes a decrease in social interactions, so putting yourself out there and finding colleagues who are looking for new employment opportunities can feel like a breath of fresh air amidst a sea of screen glares. You can even try to get yourself into a community of job seekers, create an accountability group, or exchange and review resumes. Avoid feeling lonely on top of all the uncertainty that comes with job hunting.
- Review your strategy:
Perhaps the answer is simply that you’re doing something not quite right. When it comes to finding employment, even the littlest things can make the greatest difference.
- Re-evaluate your search parameters;
- Look for keywords of your dream job to add to your resume and LinkedIn profile;
- Focus on potential positions that match your current qualifications;
- Find the specific industry or niche you want to work in;
- Do some extra networking.
Tweak your strategy as much as you can to prevent feeling like nothing is working and getting stuck in that job search burnout.
- Create a job-hunting plan:
Sometimes all we need to avoid stress and job search burnout is a little extra organisation. Plan how many hours a day you’ll spend looking for a new job, make a weekly schedule, create milestones and goals to keep yourself accountable. If you’re the kind of person that thrives with that kind of order, then you’ll find the employment world much easier to navigate when you feel confident in your masterplan.
- Finally, prioritise your health:
Job hunting puts additional pressure on yourself, hence the wide phenomenon of job search burnout, but it’s key that you become aware of it as soon as possible and take a step back. You won’t do yourself any good if you keep searching while being completely burned out from the process. Check in with yourself, make sure to take care of both your physical and mental health. Perhaps it’s time for a break, and that’s fine too. You and your overall wellbeing are your first priority.
Hang in there and avoid doubting yourself: you’ll work this out.