Conquering the Job Search Blues

While the unemployment rate has gone down in recent years, the duration of unemployment has remained steady. Job search burnout is real, but by taking a few steps to take care of yourself and your mindset, you’ll be able to see the job search as it is -- a new beginning. Keep your spirits up throughout your job search with these tactics:

Cultivate gratitude.

Gratitude is one of the easiest ways to uplift your mood. It pulls you out of a negative headspace and helps remind you of all the good things around you. Though it may take time to retrain your brain to think about gratitude consistently, it’s a life skill worth having. And not just for your personal life, you can use it at work too! Make a list of all the positive things that happen in a day. Then, use that list to consciously recognize all the little moments you might normally overlook.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be about something magnificent, it just has to be about something that brings you joy or keeps your spirits high. The rain stopped long enough for you to take a walk; you found a book or your lucky pen you thought you had lost, or you got to eat the last cookie in the break room -- even something simple is a reason to be grateful.

Interviews are separate, they don’t compound.

This is the tenth interview I’ve done that hasn’t worked out. What am I doing wrong? This is a common scenario for many job seekers. When you don’t get the job, it feels personal. Those are your skills and experience that someone doesn’t want, and it can be upsetting when you’re adding up how many interviews you’ve completed. But, keep in mind that each interview is separate.

Quantifying that ten interviews didn’t go well is belittling the fact that you had ten interviews. That’s a feat of its own, be sure to celebrate it! If you didn’t receive a job offer but did receive valuable feedback, consider how you’ll apply the information. Maybe the hiring manager mentioned they struggled to sort out your resume. Before your next application or interview, take some time to edit and clarify your resume. Did you get any feedback on how you answered interview questions? Perhaps next time you can prepare different questions for the interviewer. You may not always receive direct feedback after an interview, but any information you do receive may just be the right advice to help you get the job offer you’ve been waiting for.

Ask for a reality check.

Submitting job applications and sending emails can become monotonous. When you’re focused on your job search, it’s easy to fall into autopilot and not leave the house or talk to other people for days on end. Getting out of your own head (and back into the real world) is a necessity when you’re answering nearly identical application questions multiple times a day. Instead of becoming isolated in your search, lean on friends, family, and mentors to check in on you.

If you’re starting to feel that isolation set in, try to reach out and ask for a ‘reality check’ from loved ones or trusted advisers. Perhaps you’re extremely focused and driven but haven’t been taking care of your personal needs. Maybe you’ve been overly dissecting each failed interview to find out what you’re doing wrong and it’s beginning to weigh on your mental health. Seeking an outside perspective can help shift your mindset. Sometimes, something as simple as taking a walk with a friend for some fresh air can do the trick. As important as it is to stay on top of your job search, taking a break can reboot your brain and keep your attitude positive.

Work when you’re most productive.

When you’re trying to put your best foot forward, working at the time when your brain is best optimized for productivity is key. Utilizing your peak productive times means higher energy, little to no brain fog and a quicker turnaround on projects. If you’re a morning person, schedule your most important or time-sensitive tasks during the first hours of your day. If you aren’t sure when you’re most productive, it’s a good idea to track your productivity levels for a few days.

Optimize your morning routine with pre-determined time blocks. Set a timer and work until the alarm sounds then take a few minutes away from your computer. Eat a snack, clean the kitchen, run an errand. When you’re ready to start again, start the timer over and get back to it!

Find accountability partners.

If no one else in your life is searching for a job while you are, it can feel like they don’t understand what you’re going through. Instead of bottling up your frustration, find a job searching meetup or networking group, either local or online, to connect with others who can relate.

You can share job application or resume tips you’ve learned along the way, practice your interview skills and even proofread cover letters for each other. You can lean on them when an interview doesn’t go as you planned or your motivation starts to lag. When you land the job you’ve been searching for, you’ll have a team of people just waiting to congratulate you on your hard work. Seeing other people’s successes could help motivate you when doubt creeps in. Having a community of support to rally around you will keep you from becoming isolated in your job search and inspire you to keep moving forward.

Looking for more practical tips for your job search? Here are 6 ways to re-inspire yourself during a long job search.