Any job-search is stressful, and more so when you don’t have work. Understandably, when in this situation, many of us fall into job-search burnout. Here are some things to look out for on your job search and advice on how to get out of that rut.
1. Check in with yourself regularly
Don’t neglect yourself in the process of finding something new. Audit your feelings and experiences regularly and be honest with yourself. Be on the lookout for signs of burnout which include:
- Feeling irritable, sensitive, or more emotional than usual
- Feeling constantly tired, despite sleeping more than usual or else finding yourself unable to sleep
- Increased anxiety, fear, or feelings of hopelessness
- Feeling physically sick and/or neglecting your personal health or hygiene
- Avoiding other people as far as you can
All the above symptoms are signs that you might be facing burnout. Don’t be ashamed of it – many, if not most jobseekers have found themselves in the same boat. By acknowledging what you’re feeling you can take steps to take care of yourself and plan a more effective strategy going forward.
2. Take a break
This doesn’t have to mean stopping your search entirely – though if you’re experiencing the symptoms of burnout, it may be a good idea to take a short break. Even just cutting back on the hours you spend job-seeking can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Set limits on the amount of time you look for work in a day. It may seem like more is more, but doing the same thing day-in and day-out with varying levels of success can get disheartening quickly. By limiting how much time you spend on your job search you can focus on quality rather than quantity.
Look at what seems to be working on your job search and where there are things you could tweak. Perhaps your CV needs a revamp? Could a cover letter help market you better? Are there job portals or strategies you haven’t tried yet? Do you need to refresh your interview skills?
By focusing your efforts into making yourself as marketable as possible, you can avoid falling into the trap of applying for work you’re not really suited for or don’t want. Make sure that when you do find a role you really want, you’ve given yourself the best chance of getting it you can.
4. Build your skills
One of the reasons burnout and depression is so prevalent in jobseekers is the boredom of not having a job. In the workplace, you’re receiving constant new input and when you don’t have that, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
Take some time to research industries or roles you’re interested in and build skills accordingly. The beauty of living in the current technological age is that there’s no limit to what you can learn, all from the comfort of your home. Here are just a few examples of places where you can build your skills for free or on a budget:
Avoid stagnating by giving yourself something to focus on. At the same time, you’ll be strengthening or adding to the skills you’ve already got. This will make you a very attractive candidate for companies hiring.
5. Network, network, network
Make sure that your online presence is updated and visible. Most recruiters nowadays will look at your social media profiles, especially professional platforms like LinkedIn, to get an idea of who you are, so make sure these are up to date and market you well.
Also, join forums, groups, or pages that connect you to other jobseekers. Not only will these often provide you with helpful tips, guides, and advice on your job search, but also encouragement. Having people to motivate you and keep you going, or even just knowing that you’re not alone in your situation is such a help.
At the end of the day there’s no right or wrong way to go about a job-search. If things aren’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up. And more important than anything, don’t forget to take care of yourself. If things get too overwhelming, take a moment to rest, re-strategize, and reinvent yourself. Always remember that what matters most on your job search is YOU.