How to avoid job-search burnout
Are you experiencing job-search burnout?
Job hunting can be incredibly rewarding but also very draining. In today’s competitive job market, landing a role could take months and dozens of unsuccessful applications. While this relentless pursuit of employment could have negative impacts on job-seekers, there are some simple ways to address and prevent burnout when searching for a job.
In this blog post, we’ll outline some ways to recognise job-search burnout, some practical strategies to avoid it, and how to stay optimistic throughout the job-search process.
1. Recognise the signs of job-search burnout
The first step to overcoming job-search burnout is recognising when it’s happening. There are some clear signs you might be feeling drained or burnt out by the job application process:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Lacking motivation
- Experiencing high stress or worry
- Putting less effort into applications
- Avoiding aspects of the job-search process
These signs are just some of the ways job-search fatigue can manifest. This burnout can also begin to affect mental health and well-being if ignored. If you’re looking for a job right now, ask yourself if you relate to any of the signs above. If yes, it might be time to start changing your job-search strategies.
2. Set realistic goals and expectations when job-seeking
As we outlined earlier, landing a new job can take some time. Right now, job mobility is the highest it has been since 2012. This means that there are a large number of people looking for and applying for roles. This is partly due to the lingering effects of the great resignation and quiet quitting. It is also a result of the high inflation rates and cost of living, leading to people needing more from their jobs to make ends meet.
If you’re struggling to land a job right now, there are some simple things you can do to break down the job-search process and reduce the pressure you’re feeling.
Break down the application process
Applying for jobs can seem daunting. Splitting the work into smaller sections makes the process more manageable. Think about the different parts of job-searching you can work on individually before applying. Some of the things you could do to break the search down could be to:
- Working on polishing up your resume
- Practice cover-letter writing, breaking it down into sections
- Research more about the organisations or roles you’re interested in
- Set up notifications for related roles on job-searching websites
Set flexible, achievable goals
The end goal of your job search will always be finding a job you are happy with. But having that big, overarching goal could seem overwhelming or demoralising when thinking about the long journey ahead. Breaking down the process into smaller, more manageable chunks can also help you create SMART goals to motivate you.
Some examples of achievable goals might be applying to at least one job a week, working on your resume for ten minutes each day, or reading a blog post about job searching (good job, you’re already halfway through that one). Once you have these goals, reward yourself as you complete them.
Celebrate small milestones
Recognise your achievements so far! Whether it’s something as simple as submitting an application or something big like getting through to the next round of recruitment, celebrating your wins can help you to avoid burnout. Remember that job searching takes time, but by adopting a positive mindset, you can help to feel less overwhelmed by the process.
3. Allocate time to job-searching
We are all very busy people, and staying organised and focused on job searching can be challenging. Finding a job takes time. While breaking it down can help you to tackle it, you also need to set time aside to work on it.
Create a daily or weekly schedule and allocate time for job-searching, networking, skill-building, and self-care activities. Then, work on prioritising what you need to do, minimise distractions, and take regular breaks.
4. Build a support system
Having systems for support when job seeking is incredibly important. If you’re feeling burnt out, having people by your side to help you to manage your stress, look after you, and offer guidance could make a massive difference to your well-being.
While friends and family are a part of that support system, you could also consider reaching out to mentors or professional connections for ideas and advice. This could mean something as simple as sending someone a message on LinkedIn with a question or organising to catch up over coffee so you can talk about what’s going on.
You could also join online job search communities or attend networking events to expand your connections and gain insights from people that are in or have been in similar situations. This can also clarify your job options or what you could do to increase your chances of landing a role.
5. Take breaks and look after yourself
Assigning time to self-care can help you stay motivated and less stressed when seeking a job. Set time aside for activities you enjoy, and look after yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take regular breaks, and check in with yourself regularly about your feelings.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. Be self-compassionate, even when you’re unsuccessful or feeling demotivated. Know that the outcome of each job application does not affect your worth and that you will find a role eventually.
6. Seek professional help if needed
Job-search burnout can sometimes be overwhelming. If you’re struggling, resources are available to find help if you need it. If you are a UTS Student or alumni looking for support, we offer one-on-one chats to help give you career advice and guidance. UTS also offers a confidential counselling service to help if you’re struggling with your general well-being.
If you aren’t a UTS Student, consider seeking local career counsellors, support groups, or mental health professionals to discuss what is happening.
Recognising and addressing burnout is crucial for a healthy job-search mindset in today’s competitive market. Breaking down aspects of the process, setting achievable goals and celebrating milestones can help you to feel more motivated when looking for work. By allocating time for things like resume writing and research, connecting with your support system, and looking after yourself, you can stay optimistic while looking for your next job.
Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash
Amelia is a Sydney-based writing and communications enthusiast working at UTS Careers as a Communications Assistant. She is a current UTS Student, studying a Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing & Advertising), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. She is passionate about creativity, storytelling, and the art of a well-timed gif, and has a vast collection of crazy socks.