Searching for a job can be draining — both emotionally and physically. It often demands substantial time spent in front of a computer, energy spent networking and creating contacts, and perseverance. Receiving rejection letters can be discouraging. Worse still is not hearing back from recruiters at all.
If you’re not careful, you could get “burnt out”.
In the simplest of terms, job search burnout is what happens when the hiring process gets you down. You become tired and weary. You may feel like your hopes are one more unanswered application away from being completely dashed. You’re close to being overcome by frustration.
But there are ways to combat this and ensure you stay productive and motivated.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT BURNOUT
1. Clarify Your Strategy
- Perhaps the most overlooked part of the job search process is the creation of a detailed strategy. Before you even begin to look for a job, it’s vital that you have a good idea of what you are looking for, who you would like to work for, and what you need from the company you’re applying to. This clarification process takes effort and careful reflection. It’s one of the areas of the job search we coach our students through in our online career coaching program: “How to Get Hired in Tech.”
- After devoting time to understanding WHAT you want, figure out HOW you will achieve it. All too often, applicants approach the job search by firing off applications with very little focus — the “cast a wide net and you’ll eventually land something” approach. In this market, however, you’re better off tailoring each application to the job you’re applying for. Putting more effort into each application, rather than repurposing the same CV and cover letter for multiple positions, will help you stand out. To do this properly, we recommend setting SMART goals. These are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Create short, medium, and long-term goals applicable to your job search. This Wednesday, Ingenio CEO Rob Magee is hosting a webinar to teach YOU how to create a goal-oriented networking plan for career development. Click the button below to sign up.
- It’s important to begin the job search with the proper expectations. Your dream job won’t come instantaneously. It takes time and effort. According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, “people out of work in 2020 were most likely to find a job in either about one month, or after more than three months. For January 2020, 35.1% of job seekers were unemployed for less than five weeks, while an almost equal percentage of people were unemployed for 15 weeks or more.” The longer the job search takes, the more stress and frustration compounds. So, if that first month passes and you still don’t have a job, remember to be patient. Difficult as the job search may be, an opportunity will come. Wait for the right one.
3. Set Time Limits on Your Daily Search
- A sure-fire way to get burnt out — pun intended — is to spend hours upon hours in front of the computer screen. Job searchers are liable to get lost in the job listings on LinkedIn or Indeed, or to devote too much time to perfecting their CVs or cover letters at the expense of their mental or physical health. By setting a daily time limit on your job search you’ll not only prevent the process from becoming taxing, you’ll prevent yourself from lapsing into procrastination. Setting a self-imposed time limit forces you to make the most of the allotted time-frame. Challenge yourself! Maybe give yourself an hour to completely optimize your LinkedIn. You could even set a timer. When it goes off, put the laptop away, take a break and decompress. Return to finish the task or start another with a refreshed mind.
4. Create a Routine
- You’ve probably heard this truism: human beings are creatures of routine. Well, it holds true regarding the job search. Having a daily routine — some time-bound organizational structure — can help make the job search that much more manageable. Not only do routines help productivity, but according to a study by Northwestern Medicine, they have tangible physical health benefits as well. A good routine, paired with time limits, can go a long way in combating job search burnout.
5. Celebrate Your Wins
- When a process is as arduous as the job search, it’s important that you give yourself credit where it’s due. Celebrate the little things, the small steps toward employment: creating a list of SMART goals, emailing a hiring manager, sending out applications to your top three choices. These small wins mean you’re progressing. Forbes recommends you keep a running list of wins. Jot these small victories down, so when you are feeling low about the search you can refer to your list for a pick-me-up.
To find out more about how to combat job search burnout en route to landing your dream job, register for our free weekly webinar with Ingenio CEO Rob Magee.
Written by Aidan O’Driscoll.