Job searching is hard, often unrelenting, and can be incredibly discouraging. If you’re feeling the job-hunt blues, you aren’t alone. Millions of people every year feel discouraged and depressed while job searching, especially when they don’t find something right away.
Job hunting can be discouraging for a lot of reasons! The uncertainty of not knowing just when it is going to end, the anxiety of being unemployed or underemployed, and not being sure how long you have to last on your savings are all stressors that apply.
Not to mention the anxiety you might feel every time you hit send on a job application or type up a cover letter for a position you think you would love. (Proofreading 50 times before sending probably isn’t healthy)
Channeling that depression into useful ways, and staying healthy, is going to be key for you to land a job. These are our top 5 tips for keeping yourself motivated and working towards your goal of a job you love, without slipping into a depressed mood!
#5: Set Small, Manageable Goals to Keep Your Spirits Up
It’s easy to set one goal: find a job that pays well and makes you happy. But that’s a lot, and there are about a thousand steps between where you are now and that goal. Instead of just setting that one lofty goal, make yourself smaller, more attainable goals to hit at milestones so you stay encouraged.
“Rewrite resume”, “personalize cover letter”, or “spend x amount of time on job boards” are all manageable goals that will leave you feeling better about yourself and keep you encouraged. Write these out and mark them off every day you hit one.
#4: Use Your Extra Time To Your Advantage
So you’re unemployed. That is disappointing, I understand. But look on the bright side. You have a lot of free time right now, and you should be putting it to good use. There are countless free websites, apps, and blogs that will teach you a new skill. From coding to learning a foreign language, or even finally starting that blog or book you have always talked about.
Even if you are out of a job, keeping hobbies or learning new things will make you feel better about yourself and keep personal fulfillment up. This means that you will be able to keep your head in the game longer and get less frustrated if something doesn’t come through immediately.
#3: Keep Up With Friends!
It’s hard to keep up with your friends when you don’t have a ton of extra cash, but staying social when you are unemployed or underemployed is going to help keep you sane. Even if you nurse a single drink at happy hour on Friday, or stick to water and an appetizer at dinner, staying social and active is going to help you a lot with your job search.
#2: Don’t Go Too Hard, Too Quickly
The initial reaction to deciding you need to find a new job (Because you’re unhappy, or unemployed) is going to be to power through a dozen job boards, send out four hundred resumes and personalize every single cover letter you send out.
This is great, but you will also burn out immediately and maybe miss an opportunity that could be great for you.
Don’t push too hard, too quickly. Take breaks when you need to, step away from your screen every few hours, and make sure you are taking care of you. For some people, that is a hot bath and a good book at night. Maybe it’s picking up the controller and playing more of that video game you never beat.
Whatever you need to do in the form of self-care, do it – don’t let your life become only about your job search. Going at it full force seems like a good idea, but you will suffer long term.
#1: Treat Your Job Hunt Like a Job, Not a Hobby or a Desperate Search
There are two types of people job searching – those that are unemployed, and those that want something more from their current job. Either way, you need to treat your job search like a job. This is especially important for those that are unemployed because it can feel like any time you aren’t job searching, you’re wasting time.
But you will burn yourself out!
Create structure, dedicate blocks of time to resume tweaking, cover letter writing, and job searches. Once that time is up, step away. Spend evenings with your SO, family, or friends and keep up with the hobbies you love.
The easiest way to be depressed is to step away from the things that make you feel complete, so keep on them while you’re searching.
Follow these tips, take care of you, and when you do find that perfect job you will nail the interview because you aren’t stressed out, burnt out, and exhausted from the effort of finding it!