Job Hunt Taking Longer Than Expected? 9 Ways to Overcome Job Search Fatigue
Is the job search taking longer than you expected? Are you feeling discouraged because you’re not getting the kind of offers or feedback that you want or need? Job search fatigue is real, and when you’re in the thick of an intense job hunt, the stress of the “network, apply, interview, eat, sleep, repeat” routine can start to wear even the most confident, self-assured job seekers down.
But, the key here is not to let this discourage you to the point that you feel desperate or begin to doubt yourself, both negative vibes that can come across to a potential employer and put them off of your candidacy. Or, what’s worse, you could end up accepting a job that you really don’t want simply just to take yourself off the market. Either way, don’t get stuck into a vicious, self-defeating cycle of self-doubt that can come from being on the job market for months on end.
Instead, find healthy ways to cope with your frustrations. These strategies will not only boost your morale level and leave you more energized to continue your job search, but several of them can also have immediate and direct positive effects on your candidacy and even boost your chances of landing just the right job… and making all that hard work and waiting worthwhile:
If you’re feeling fatigued from an extended job search, you might consider...
… attending a few networking events
There’s no better way to get re-energized about your field or your industry than attending a professional event, learning what’s new, and networking with like-minded colleagues. If you’re feeling down and out about your search or your field, make it a point to attend a professional conference or talk, show up at a networking event or cocktail hour, or go to any sort of professional gathering where you’ll run into people in your field and hear an interesting or inspiring exchange of ideas.
… revamping your application materials
If you’ve been on the job market for several months, you should take some time to update your job application materials. First off, you likely have new things to add to your resume, but also now that you have a bit of distance from when you last worked on these documents, you’re able to see them with a fresh set of eyes and may even have more insights to add based on some of the discussions you’ve had or feedback you’ve gotten in your job interviews.
… talking to a mentor
If you don’t already have a professional mentor, now is the time to start looking for one and cultivating this important professional relationship. A mentor can give you much-needed perspective on any adjustments you might need to make to be more successful in your job search, and they can also give you the kind of meaningful encouragement you need to keep your spirits up. You’re also more likely to value their input and their encouragement (as opposed to, say, a family member or friend who may just say “you’re doing great! Keep it up!”) because they know your field, making their support and input more authoritative.
… reevaluating your approach
In many cases, an extended job search can’t be traced back to any one thing that you’re doing “wrong.” However, in some instances, you may find that you need to take a different approach. Perhaps the market is currently flooded with professionals that all have your same qualifications? Are you job searching in a “low season?” Can you expand your search to different areas or types of organizations that have more opportunities for someone with your profile? Research your industry and your field to see if you’re ignoring any potential opportunities and need to expand your search in order to secure the job you want.
… taking a break
Even if it’s just for a few days or a week, taking both a literal and a mental/emotional break from the job search for a short time can do wonders to your morale level. Sometimes we just need to step away from something for a bit in order to come back to it refreshed and ready to continue. Consider this just a brief “pause” from your search, and truly take advantage of the break by forcing yourself to stop any and all job search-related activities during that time.
… learning a new skill
If you’re learning something new or working on your own professional development, not only will you feel a sense that you’re accomplishing something (and this will, in turn, give you a feeling of satisfaction and achievement to help bolster your confidence level on the job market), but by adding a new skill to your arsenal you’ll also be making yourself a stronger job candidate in the process. It’s a win-win!
… getting organized
Seeing your job search mapped out in a spreadsheet or timeline gives you a more concrete, organized sense of what you’ve accomplished so far and where you’re headed. It just makes the entire processes more strategic -- and, frankly, easier to manage. Long job searches that go on for many weeks or months can quickly spiral out of control (think different versions of your resume/CV/cover letter, application dates, timelines, deadlines, to-do lists, follow-ups, etc.). Take the time to “declutter” your job search, which will, in turn, help you to be more focused on your approach (and, as a result, more successful!). While all you really need is a simple Excel spreadsheet or google doc., online job search organizational tools like JibberJobber can also be a great resource.
… running a race
Well, you don’t literally have to run a race (unless, of course, that’s your ‘thing’), but the idea here is to engage in some sort of activity that is somewhat challenging but that will also give you a real sense of accomplishment once you complete it. This could be hobby-related or even some kind of a physical achievement or professional. It matters less what the actual activity is and more that you are able to gain a sense of achievement from it.
… taking a vacation
If you can coordinate a vacation -- even a long three-day weekend -- with your break from the job search, even better. The point is to have some fun, plain and simple, and distract yourself from a stressful job search. If you’re refreshed, happy, and relaxed (all results of a few well-timed vacation days), you’re much more likely to make a good impression in the job interview. Sometimes taking a break from work is actually the best career move you can make.