Feeling the burnout on finding a new job? Is searching, applying, waiting, rinse and repeat starting to eat away at your motivation? You are not alone.
According to the Journal of Vocational Behavior, job loss and job searching can be “devastating and stressful” events in your career, and “prolonged depletion of resources can result in feelings of exhaustion” resulting in burnout.
Your Job Search Resources
What are our resources when it comes to the job search? Time, energy, and motivation.
Time is money.
The more time we spend trying to find a job, the less money we have in savings, for food, for quality of life, or even for our families.
Mental energy, physical energy and emotional energy are all very real and very limited during times of stress and even more so when we need to put on a brave face every job interview, family dinner, or paying bills. Worrying about how long your tangible resources will consume, not only those energies, but time and motivation.
Nobody likes to be rejected, or even worse, to be ghosted. Is that company actually ghosting you? Not really; but being left in limbo, even after a job interview seems to have gone ‘really well’ can leave you in a place of worry and uncertainty. Putting on that interview outfit, sitting at the computer, searching, searching and more searching can eat away at our motivation until we are running on fumes.
How to Fight Job Search Burnout
“On average, it takes about 3-6 months from start to finish to get a job, and you have an 8.3% probability of getting a job interview from one job application,” explains former FlexJobs Career Expert Cidnye Work. “That means it could take as many as 10-20 applications to get one interview. And, on top of that, it can take 10-15 interviews to get one job offer.”
So how do we fight ‘job search burnout’?
1. Give yourself time limits.
Set aside a specified amount of time each day. Try and keep the times consistent and around the same length of time, and do not push yourself, because adding time will not help you avoid burnout.
Keeping the time limit to a couple of hours will keep your mindset fresh to the idea of it being ‘time to work’. Structure will make you feel less like you are frustratingly spending time on something that is not paying out, and make it feel more like a work task that you can get done and move away from for the day.
Again, make it your job for the day. Go to work, get your tasks done and then cut it off to go home and be with yourself, your family, whomever you are working so hard to keep the lights on for.
2. Focus on quality over quantity.
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
Easier said than done, but true, right?
When applying for jobs, there can be a time to be less “choosy” when it comes to where you are applying. Until that time though, try and apply to a job that you would love to do each day that you are applying to jobs.
This will help keep the motivation going and the knowledge at the forefront of your brain, that you are a viable and capable candidate for jobs that you want to do. There may come a time where you have to open your horizons to jobs that you may not be grateful to go to every day, but even then, always have companies in mind that you want to go to work for every day.
Keeping the knowledge that you are a qualified and deserving candidate for your dream job will keep your eye on the prize, and your heart in the game when it comes to filling out applications.
3. Reassess your strategy.
Is your process not yielding any results? Are searches not taking you to the companies that you want to work for?
Maybe it is time to change things up.
Consider scheduling one day a week, or one application a day, during which you do not use that same job search website, or you go directly to an organization’s website, or you go directly to a fellow job seeker or a point of contact for a company that you met at the last job fair.
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, so the sane and logical thing to do is to switch it up.
There are so many ways to change up your strategy that it should almost be a part of your strategy to change. Other things to consider are redoing your resume once a month, reassessing your search parameters on the hiring websites, and more.
There are even more than enough websites that you could pick a website each day to focus your job hunt on.
True, you may be limited on which sites you can specialize in, because let’s face it; how many jobs sites focus on you have a security clearance and will get you to the right place?
4. Schedule time for you.
#Selfcare is everywhere these days and there is a reason for that. It is important.
I will say it again for those in the back; self-care is important.
Self-care is different for everyone. For some it is your family, for some it is your solitude. It can be gaming, it can be organizing or going through your old boxes and seeing what sparks joy. At the end of the day, what brings you joy will help refresh your energy, it will remind you of why you are searching for that next career, job or step towards the next goal.
Whatever your version of self-care, put time aside.And even if that time doesn’t cut it for refilling your gas tank, do not be afraid to add a little extra time to the clock if it is needed. But do not let it take over, and do not let adding time become the norm.
Again, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to land that next job, so creating these schedules of self-care around your schedule of applying to these positions, can become a healthy routine that will extend your already limited resources.
5. Improve yourself and broaden your horizons.
One more idea that can help break the rigamarole and monotony of the job search is taking breaks to improve yourself.
Is there a skill, a course, a talent that you have wanted to take, to improve on or to certify in? Is it something that you can add to your resume, or that will make you a better addition to the team?
Schedule time to take a step back and look at your hobbies, your undiscovered skills, or unexplored interests. Can those be additions to what you do on a day-to-day basis? If you can find things that you are passionate about that make you an even more indispensable addition to any team, why not take time to pursue those things?
Do you like to fly a drone around the park? Consider pursuing your commercial drone license.
Do you like to design newsletters? Do you like to interact on social media? Do you like to help companies find their vulnerabilities on social media or in the IT department?
Take a step back from yourself and discover what your passions can do for you. And while you have the time to take a class, earn a certificate or qualify for a new license, pursue it and make yourself an indispensable part of the team or the best addition a manager can look for.
Is the burnout already present?
Another important point that we can recommend is that if burnout is present, then you have already been at this a while. This might be a good time for an even bigger change in strategy.
There are many different professional companies and organizations out there with a plethora of professionals who are available to help you figure out what is not connecting between you and the ones doing the hiring.
Career coaches have their advantages, as well as resume building courses, and there are even networking groups that meet up virtually and locally.
Groups or individuals that offer assistance can be of great value by giving you direct feedback on your application process, your resume itself, your interview skills and much more. They can offer advice, encouragement and feedback that could be the difference in getting that interview call back or going without word.
It’s not personal
The job market consists of a massive amount of applicants from around the world, all competing for a limited number of jobs. But this does not mean that you are not a quality candidate for those positions.
Yes, it does feel like it is personnel when the recruiter, hiring manager, or point of contact that you sent your application to does not reach out. But you need to consider how many other applicants they are dealing with. And they might also be working on filling several positions at once. It is not personal.
Every hiring process is different. They all take different amounts of time, and some rely completely on a computer process and some rely on people who have their own schedules. Some processes can take months, while some can take only a few days. Again, you have no idea how many applicants the company or hiring person is sifting through.
The best thing that you can do is make sure you have done all that you can to ensure that your resume properly represents you and that you are ready when the call comes. Do not succumb to the burnout. Take care of yourself and be ready for that next call.