Avoiding Job Search Burnout

Avoiding job search burnout

05/08/2014BY: Tracey Mesken

​Searching for a new job - even with the many tools and resources available - can be a stressful and overwhelming process. It is often made more so when a competitive or unpredictable employment market means it can sometimes take months to find work suitable to your skill set or desired career path.

This lengthy search and application process, coupled with a sense of rejection from an employer or recruiter, can easily drive job seekers to experience job search burnout. It will leave you tired, frustrated, unmotivated and on the verge of giving up your search altogether. The flow on effect from throwing in the towel is lower workforce participation rates and greater stress on the economy due to lower productivity. Ensuring you keep up the fight and stay in the game is important for everyone. 

Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and approaching your job search in an organised and objective way. It’s easier said than done but they key is to simply not give up and keep learning from each experience.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind if your job search is starting to get on top of you.

Get organised and plan your approach.

Develop a plan of attack. Allocate time for; identifying relevant jobs, revising your resume, going to networking events, and any other useful activities. Keep track of roles that you have applied for and follow up if you haven’t heard anything in a realistic timeframe.

Avoid the “scattergun” approach

Keep your search focused and targeted. Don’t take the desperate approach and apply for lots of jobs with no relevance to your experience in the hopes that one of them will work out. Stick to the direction you are trying to take your career and apply for jobs best suited to your demonstrable skills and experience.

Use job search ‘alerts’

Email alerts are readily available from most employers and job boards so set these up and jump on opportunities as soon as they hit your inbox.

Don’t wait for the jobs to be advertised

Just because a company isn’t actively recruiting through the traditional channels, it doesn’t mean that they’re not looking to hire at all. Getting a job before it’s advertised can often be a case of right place, right time. Attend relevant networking events and talk to people, use your social media channels to as part of your job search strategy and even consider cold calling companies. Here are a few ideas.

Don’t take it personally

Remember this isn't personal. Employers and recruiters receive many applications and select those that are best suited, on paper in the first instance, to interview or proceed to the next stage. It is a good opportunity to review your resume and cover letter to ensure it has what it takes to cut through the volume of applications and make the reader take notice

Don’t bottle up your feelings

It’s easier to maintain your job search momentum when you feel supported. Talk to family and friends during the process or if you feel overwhelmed rather than bottling things up. It’s absolutely normal to feel stressed and defeated at times but bottling emotions will make it worse. Consider a mentor or coach to help navigate your emotions and actions when you feel clouded or lost.

Remember healthy body, healthy mind

The best way to manage stress is regular exercise and healthy diet. At times when your stress levels are heightened, try to avoid excess alcohol, cigarettes or substances that deliver a short but false sense of relief.  Getting adequate sleep will also do wonders for keeping a level head and avoiding irrational behavior.

It is normal for a job search to take time.  When you start to feel like you are on the verge of burnout, step away from your job search and see how you could be doing things differently or more effectively. Plan out your approach, consider if you are looking for the right jobs in the right places, and seek help when required.

Remember, each ‘no’ takes you closer to a ‘yes’.  Keep calm, maintain self-belief and you will get there in the end.