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Applying Yourself: Mental Health Management While You’re On The Job Hunt

Living slap bang in the middle of a global crisis, one which is unfolding in both the public health and economic sphere, has been challenging for our mental health. Many people are experiencing profound disruption to all aspects of their lives, and as concerns about family, travel and work compound, it’s okay to admit you’re struggling.

Even at the best of times, job hunting is hard work. In a competitive market, the job search inevitably contains some rejection – and a great deal of uncertainty as often, recruiters won’t even do you the decency of informing you that you’ve been rejected. Managing your mental health whilst on the job hunt doesn’t just mean looking after yourself – it also boosts your chances of landing the dream job. After all, you need to approach every interview with positivity and energy to leave a good impression.

Here are seven pillars of maintaining good mental health throughout your job hunt, from personal to professional tips. Read on to make the job of your dreams a reality.

Give Yourself A Schedule

When you’re jobless, an absence of routine can create an excess of procrastination. It’s hard to get started on a task when you have endless free time stretching out in front of you, and without that structure it’s hard to stay motivated – which can impact your mental wellbeing.

Building a schedule can have a profound impact on your productivity, motivation and correspondingly your mental wellbeing whilst you’re engaged in the job hunt. Don’t make it 24/7, but rather carve out parts of your day for concentrated energy on applications. For example, build a morning routine around a heavy breakfast, CV tweaking and firing off applications.

Setting Expectations And Goals

“One of the most demoralising things about the job hunt is the endlessness – no matter how much effort you put in, it can feel like it’s going nowhere,” says Donna Fairway, a career writer at Eliteassignmenthelp and State of writing. “To counteract the feelings of hopelessness that grow in this void of achievement, you can set concrete goals and engage in critical expectation management.”

Writing down your goals – for example, to apply for three jobs on a given day – gives you a physical record of what you’ve achieved. Even if you don’t hear back from these employers, the hard work wasn’t for nothing.

Set Your Standards

Just because somewhere is hiring, it doesn’t mean you have to apply. The pressure to land a job – any job – can grow exponentially whilst you’re unemployed, often leading to a scattershot approach, applying endlessly to jobs for which you’re barely qualified, or interested.

Set yourself a high standard for the jobs you’re applying to – roles that fit your skills and interests. Every application will teach you more about the process of landing your dream job, and you’ll limit the rejections by only applying for roles you’re genuinely qualified for.

Make Time For Self-Care

With all the focus going onto your professional life, it’s easy to lose sight of your personal needs. Self-care is essential for recharging your mind, preventing you from hitting burnout in the midst of a hectic schedule. And self-care shouldn’t just be about optimizing your mind for the job hunt, it should also be an escape from those pressures.

Demarcate time for self-care in your schedule and indulge in a way that suits you. From hill-running to a glass of wine in the bath, make the most of the me time.

Reach Out For Help

In this life, there isn’t anything we should have to go through alone. In the professional sphere there are many recruiters and careers counsellors who have themselves made a career out of supporting those on the job hunt and they can offer innovative pathways towards a new career.

“On an individual level, personal connections are often invaluable in accessing job opportunities not widely advertised,” says Allan MacGregor, a business blogger and editor at Ukwritings and Revieweal. “Start networking across your local and digital networks – you never know what might come up. These individuals can be valuable for helping you find new openings, but also as an outlet for venting your thoughts and feelings.”

Gathering Feedback From Recruiters

Our overworked brains need answers – and when they don’t get answers, they make them up. When you’re rejected for a job, it’s easy to start spiralling into negative thoughts such as “Maybe I’m just not good enough” and “I’m underqualified for these roles”. However, more often than not, the reason you failed to get a role turns out to be logistical or about the strength of other candidates rather than your weaknesses.

Get as much feedback from recruiters as you can – not only will it stop your mind from imagining worst-case-scenarios but it can also provide you with key information needed to grow as a candidate, and maybe even secure the next job that comes around.

Don’t Lose Sight Of Who You Are

When you’re unemployed, the job hunt can quickly become all encompassing, but expending all your energy on something where failure and rejection are in-built can be demoralising. Finding other outlets and activities is vital to help you keep a positive outlet, maintaining your identity even in the face of the challenges of unemployment.

Whilst society might look down on using your new-found free time for your own enjoyment, picking up a new hobby can energise your job hunt. Volunteering is another valuable way of spending your time, and can also bolster your CV and help you build new skills whilst you’re between roles. Never lose sight of who you are.

Let’s Go To Work!

Good mental health is a launching pad for everything else in life. Once you find the confidence and enthusiasm that comes with self-love, you’ll be strutting into interviews ready to leave an impression. And a positive attitude helps you keep on applying, even when it seems like all hope is lost. From self-care to schedule planning, we hope these tips help you land your dream job – and to look after yourself in the meantime. 

Elizabeth Hines is a staff writer and researcher at Essay Help and Big Assignments. She worked as an online recruiter for high profile corporations, before going freelance and pursuing a degree in counselling and creative writing. You can read more of her work at Simple Grad.

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