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Are you experiencing job search anxiety and burnout? If so, you’re not alone. The good news is YOU CAN prevent job search anxiety. Searching for a job can feel exhausting due the time commitment, rejection, and the strong urge to leave your current job. Studies have shown that the average amount of time it takes to land a new job is about 6 months and sometimes it may take even longer depending on the industry, location, and job market.
I’ve dealt with job search burnout myself and have also coached hundreds of job seekers on ways to overcome and prevent job search anxiety and burnout. In this article, I’m going to share the symptoms of job search burnout and strategies that you can easily incorporate to conduct your job search with less overwhelm, minimal stress, and overall success.
If you’ve landed on this article, I’m guessing that you are aware that you are experiencing some symptoms of job search anxiety. Before diving into tips, I like to provide validation of how you may be feeling. Below are the most common signs of job search burnout.
These feelings are normal, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for experiencing them. In fact, I want you to give yourself a pat on the back for seeking out help and answers on ways to overcome the stress you are currently feeling.
If you found yourself nodding while reading some of the signs, the first thing I want you to do before anything else is, take a break. You heard me right! Let me explain.
There are many times in life where you just need to step back and take a break from a task that is bringing you stress, anxiety, or burnout. The job search is included in this category. If you’ve heard the phrase, “looking for a job is a full-time job” I’m sure you can agree that this is true.
When you continue to do a task over and over again without taking a break, you can easily fall into the trap of not recognizing what’s working and what isn’t. Taking a step back allows you to analyze your efforts, gain clarity, and think about what steps are getting you closer to your goals and which ones may be sabotaging your end game.
“But what if my job search is during the holidays?” I get it. I know a lot of job search experts say you need to be searching hard at the end of the year because that’s when there are a lot of job openings because there’s less competition. While this is true, you also have to remember that you are only human and may still have other commitments outside of searching for jobs all day.
Remember, you can use your “break time” to network with family, friends, and loved ones. Let them know about your job search, ask for advice, introductions, and tips. Who knows, you may walk out of your “break time” with a hot lead for a job opening.
My goal in telling you to “take a break from the job search” is to encourage you to give yourself some grace during this process. I want you to walk into the job search refreshed and focused so that you can prevent job burnout. Now, let’s dive into the top 3 tips for overcoming and preventing job search anxiety and burnout.
While you’re taking a break to spend time with family, friends, or previous colleagues, don’t forget to remind them of the type of role you’re looking for and your qualifications. You can even share this information with them digitally!
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The number one tip to avoiding job burnout during the job search is to focus and gain clarity on your priorities. This means, narrowing down exactly what it is you want in your next job. I want you to sit down with a journal and envision the type of position that you want. Below are writing prompts to help you map out your ideal role.
Once you focus and narrow down exactly what it is you want to do, you’re not just sending out applications here and there and everywhere to land a job. You are now targeting your efforts, which will save you more time. You’ll also be putting more effort into applying for the positions that you really want.
This also means you can tailor your resume for that specific type of position. I often meet a lot of job seekers who tell me all the time, “Oh, yeah, I tailor my resume for each position.”
My response is always, “how many different positions are you applying for?”
Most of the time I find out that they’re applying for multiple types of roles. This is a big no-no. If you choose to go this route, you are going to frustrate yourself quickly. Eventually, you are going to face job burnout when you take that avenue. During the job search your goal should be to only apply to the type of position you truly want. That way you are not continuously redoing and re-editing your resume, which takes up more of your time.
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Set aside a specific timeframe and part of the week that you are going to carry out your job search. You should not be applying for jobs 7 days a week. Why? It’s a quick way to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
During the job search, every action needs to be planned and intentional. For example, when I need to sit down to write my blogs, I’ve already chosen when to do it. I pre-plan my blogging for every Tuesday and Thursday between 6pm-8:30pm. I know the days I’m going to write and the days I’m going to schedule my posts. This way, I’m not stressing myself out all week. I’ve also blocked off that time on my calendar so that it is built into my routine. I know my free days and my blogging days. I want you to do the same thing for your job search.
Before you throw tomatoes at me and tell me I’m wrong, listen to this. I’ve met a lot of professionals who search for jobs every single day. When I’ve asked them if they feel productive or overwhelmed, they often tell me the process is overwhelming. Why? They often end up distracted at some point because they already feel like they’ve been putting too much work in throughout the week. It ends up feeling like a never ending scroll fest. Similar to a Facebook scroll (you know what I’m talking about!).
While scrolling might seem harmless, it’s actually stressful. It’s because it gets your mind going about the job search, and you’re thinking, “Oh, they just posted this job today, let me hurry up and apply for it.”
Or, “Oh, you know what this kind of seems like it’d be an OK fit. Let me Hurry up and put an application in..”
Or, “You know what, this seems ok. When I get home, I’ll apply to this role.”
Don’t do that. The majority of job postings are listed for anywhere from five to 15 days, so you have time. You can block off a few days, and a few times a week, where you solely focus on job searching and applying. I recommend blocking off three days if you need a job right now or if you’re in a toxic work environment, and you just can’t take it anymore, or if your contract is ending. Pick one day to search, use the other for conducting research on the company and role, and use your final day to apply.
I recommend batching your efforts for three days using up to two hours at a time. Anything more than that will fry your brain and may lead to job search burnout. Whether you currently work full-time, go to school, or are out of work, it’s important that your mind remains fresh during this time. Be reasonable and mindful with the use of your time.
My third tip is the most important, practice self-care. I know it’s something that I struggle with too. So, I’m right there with you. But I want you to focus on taking care of yourself throughout the week. Consistently job searching nonstop takes a toll on your mental health and can lead to mental exhaustion.
Be intentional with doing activities that bring you joy. Take a couple of days out of the week to do something that you energizes and motivates you. Get outside and get some fresh air, craft, dive into a hobby, go shopping at your favorite store, or spend time with friends and family.
Incorporating self-care consistently will allow you to come back refreshed and not as bogged down, and you will be ready to tackle your job search.
You CAN overcome and prevent job search burnout!
Your new role is right around the corner. You are incredibly talented, smart, and capable of having the role you desire. Remember, you do not have to overwork or stress yourself out during your job search.
I hope you found this article helpful as you navigate your job search. As a quick recap, I want to remind you to focus on your priorities, batch your efforts, and practice self-care.
If you take away anything from this article, I want you to remember that you need to be well mentally and physically when conducting your job search. Why? Because the next step is attending interviews, and receiving offers, and showing up for your first day! I don’t want you to be burnt out before you even make it to the next steps. I’m confident that your efforts will pay off and you’ll land a role that brings you fulfillment and job without suffering from burnout.
Cheers to your success and overcoming job search anxiety!
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