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Avoiding job search burnout

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

It feels like you’ve papered the town with job applications and yet, after filling in what seems like the same online application for the 20th company that week, you still don't have an interview lined up. This is when job search fatigue tends to set in and you find yourself losing steam (not to mention interest!) in the job search process. Here are a few methods for avoiding job search burnout while also increasing your chances for getting the interview.

1) Start Being Picky

One way to avoid burnout during the job search is to be picky about which jobs you apply for. Sure, you could try to play the numbers of applying to a ton of jobs with the hope that at least one of them will call you for an interview, but applying for so many positions can also be a huge waste of time and lead to quicker burnout. To avoid wasting time (for both you and the hiring manager) start being more particular about the positions to which you apply. Thoroughly read the job description for each position and really ask yourself: Does this sound like something I have experience in? If the answer is yes, great! You should apply. If the answer is no and you don't have the experience mentioned in the job description, then don’t waste time filling out the application.

Spending a little more time going over the job description to decide if it’s the right job for you before tailoring your resume toward the position will keep you focused on one job at a time. This means you'll be less likely to get burned out on the job search process (and more likely to get interviews for prospective jobs for which you're actually qualified).

2) Make a schedule and take breaks

Most job seekers are a bit haphazard in their job search and application process. Those experiencing job search burnout are usually the type who spend all their free time pouring through job search sites. While actively searching for employment is an important step to landing a position, spending all your free time on job search websites is a great way to drive yourself crazy.

Instead, set some parameters for your job search process and make a schedule for how often you'll job search each week and determine how long you'll spend (per hour) on your job search during each job search session. Spending 1-2 hours searching per session is plenty of time. Ideally, you'll spend 20-30 minutes job searching and reading job descriptions, find a position that seems like a good fit, then take the rest of the time to actually apply for the job (tailoring your resume, writing a cover letter, and filling out the employer's application).

Once you've applied, reward yourself and take a break! If you simply move on to job searching again without taking a break, you'll start to feel job search fatigue. Instead, remind yourself that you'll start the job search again during your next scheduled session, and go do something else for a little while.

3) Set Application Goals

An alternative to setting a time schedule for conducting your job search is to instead set parameters on how many positions you'll apply for each week. If you need new employment right away, then applying for 5-10 positions per week is plenty. If you have more time before you need a new job, then drop down to applying for 2-5 positions per week.

This method will not only help you from feeling burned out, it will also help you do a better job of giving 100% of your focus and effort to each application. I don't know about you, but after applying for 3 or 4 jobs in one sitting, I definitely don't give that next job application the attention and focus that I should.

If you see another position to apply for after you've met your quota of applications for the week, check in with yourself to see if you feel up to giving 100% of your time/focus to another application before moving forward. If you need a break, take one! Unless it says otherwise in the job description, that job will probably still be there the next day.

4) Spend time building your network

Though many positions can be found available on job search websites, there are way more positions available that never get posted online. Many companies still rely on referrals or word of mouth to fill their positions and spending all your time on actively job searching through job search websites might cause you to miss out on a great opportunity not posted on those sites.

Instead, set aside some time to develop your professional network. LinkedIn has made this process quite a bit easier by providing a platform where you can build a profile and connect with professionals in your industry.

You can take advantage of LinkedIn's free platform to connect with previous co-workers or colleagues to let them know that you're seeking a new challenge. Or, if you prefer not to use LinkedIn, reach out to your previous colleagues via email or phone to reconnect and see if they have any suggestions for your job search direction.

While the overall job search process is usually not very fun, it doesn't need to be overly stressful. Applying these strategies to your job search will help you avoid job search burnout and might even help you speed the process along!

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