Tips for Avoiding Job Search Burnout

Burnout is one of the biggest buzzwords in the working world these days, and it has been identified by the latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon caused by chronic stress. Its effects include exhaustion, feelings of negativism, and a reduced level of personal efficacy. And while it is not exactly a new phenomenon, individuals especially susceptible to burnout were those laid off during the pandemic and currently face tremendous pressure to land a job. In fact, a Financial Times’ report on job seekers shows how the UK has recently seen the sharpest rise in job applications since the financial crash of 2008.

The prevalence of job search-related burnout reflects a need for ways to manage and ultimately avoid these negative symptoms. And if you are currently on a job hunt, here are some tips that will help you do just that.

1. Have a Strategy

Many job seekers get frustrated when their efforts yield no results even after months of searching, a sign that it might be time to revisit one’s strategy. Perhaps your search parameters are too broad and not specific enough; if this is the case, then try to hone in on what industry you’d like to find a job in and zero in on the role.

Pay attention to the details. Are your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profiles all updated, and do they reflect the qualifications that are relevant to the positions you’re applying for? As you continue on your job search, follow a well-defined plan with goals and milestones to help you stay on track.

2. Take Breaks

As important as job searching is, ploughing through countless applications day in and day out may not be the best approach. Pacing yourself when sending your applications in is equally important to your success, and a natural part of that process is taking breaks. In fact, taking a break is one of the key tips on Verizon Connect’s guide to working smart. The mind can only focus on a task for around 90 minutes before losing focus and affecting productivity, so taking a short refresher can do more good rather than forcing yourself to keep working.

Try getting up and doing a few light stretches or taking a short walk to enjoy a change of scenery. Having a snack is also great for boosting your energy levels; opt for something healthy like peanuts or vegetables dipped in hummus rather than sugary confections. Giving your brain this opportunity to rest will help you maintain your focus, allowing you to give each potential job more attention. The genuine effort you give will reflect in your application, something that recruiters are trained to recognise.

3. Celebrate Wins

The emotional aspect of a lengthy job search is crucial because it affects your confidence and thus, your ability to persevere with the job-hunting process. Try keeping a list of wins and practice recognising them, no matter how small. These don’t have to be limited to your job search. Make it a point to note small positive moments throughout the day, like getting an especially good batch of your favourite fruit from the grocery. This way, you can refer to your list of small wins for a mood booster when the job search becomes frustrating.

Keeping a ready list of wins is also a great way to feel prepared, whether that’s for the next job interview or to ward off questions or unsolicited advice from people who will inevitably ask how your job hunt is coming along!

4. Create a Conducive Environment

Your environment is something that you have full control over, so making it conducive for your job hunting efforts can play a big role in your success. Treat the job search like a job itself and create a more productive environment by tidying up your working space, working near a window for some natural light, and having an ergonomic setup. It also helps to put on some mood-boosting music while you browse vacancies. This intentionality will help you set more realistic expectations about the job prospecting process, aiding in a more attainable step-by-step action plan versus being frustrated with the lack of immediate results.

5. Get Social

Knowing where to look is just as important as the effort you put into looking itself. More employers are taking to different channels to find the right candidates, so take the time to learn how the specific companies you’re eyeing are advertising their vacancies. Our list of ‘Top Tips for the Job Search’ highlights social media as an excellent platform to start looking for jobs. Not only can you find job posts there these days, but you can also take advantage of the huge network you have. Who knows, a friend may just know someone who’s looking for a candidate like you!

Remember, a job hunt is not a sprint but more like a marathon. Just like in a long race, expect your energy and motivation to dip during certain points during the process; it will prepare you for the moments when you’ll need to bounce back. These 5 tips will help you continue your search with a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration to propel yourself forward and finally land that role you’ve been eyeing.

About the Author: Venice Cameron is an HR intern and a part-time writer who aims to help others with their corporate life and career. When she isn’t at work or in front of her laptop, she loves to bake and work on her budding succulent collection.

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