Eleven Ways to Avoid Job Search Burnout
As a recruiter, I see the emotional toll a job search can take on candidates – rookies and seasoned job seekers alike. Being out of work longer than anticipated, not being invited for interviews or not receiving offers can make it tough to keep your spirits up.
Fading confidence, a down mood or a crushed spirit can negatively affect how recruiters and potential employers perceive you. Here are 11 tips to help you stay strong and focused during a difficult job search.
1. Ask for feedback
If you’ve been on the hunt for a while without much progress, step back. Talk to professionals with whom you have a strong and trusting relationship like a former boss or your recruiter. They get it, and they get you. Ask for and be ready to hear specific, constructive feedback and request a mock interview. Are there things you could be doing differently? Questions you could be answering better? Follow up that could be stronger? Their feedback could mean all the difference, and the positive comments they will share are a nice boost to your confidence.
2. Get the Inside Scoop
Source your network to learn more about the industry you’re interested in and any changes or trends your trusted people are seeing. General market advice and hearing what they are experiencing on the front lines could be just the spark you need to shift your approach and pick up some momentum. Whatever your reason for connecting, by the end of the call, meeting or social media interaction, there’s a good chance you will feel more relaxed, have more confidence and be inspired to excel in your search.
3. Change your approach
Have you been interviewing a lot without much progress? It might be time to change it up. Are you coming across as bored with the process? Do your answers sound rote? Did you not notice your interview outfit is rumpled or stained? Prepare for your next interview with these potential pitfalls in mind. Take out your iron and stain stick, come up with fresh, new answers, add energy and enthusiasm to your voice, use real life examples anytime you can and be mindful of your body language. These small tweaks will help you feel and come across as excited and engaged.
4. Play matchmaker
Before sending your resume or interviewing for a role, see where your background and experience are a match. If going in you have eight of the top 10 requirements, you’ll know to highlight those areas and will feel confident addressing them. If you only have a small part of what the hiring manager is seeking, you’ll expect it’s a long shot and you’ll have some concerns to address for the interviewer. The more you know, the better prepared you will be and the more confident you will come across.
5. Fake it ‘til you make it
If you’re feeling downtrodden going into your next interview, fake it. Smile, shoulders back and hand outstretched, be ready to greet the interviewer and highlight your best qualities. Make every interview an opportunity to not only get a job, but to polish your interview skills and build your confidence.
6. Find Commonalities
Find your interviewer on LinkedIn and discover common ground. Maybe you know some of the same people, both enjoy volunteering or like the same sports team. Whatever you share, remember that people want to work with people they like, and discussing commonalities with your interviewer is an effective and authentic way to start building the relationship.
7. Appreciate the little things
It can be frustrating to get interviews without getting offers, but understand that companies want to meet with you. Your background, experience and the way you present yourself on paper are appealing. Some candidates send resumes with no response. What you have to offer is appealing – remember that. It might be a timing issue, or a few tweaks to your interview technique that will eventually lead to an offer.
8. Fit matters
While it’s appropriate to strive for roles that may be slightly out of your reach, doing that too often could lead to too much rejection. To keep your job search on track, and your spirits high, go after roles that are an ideal fit for your background, experience and interests. Save the long shot interviews for the one or two companies or roles that really spark a fire in you.
9. Remember the basics
Remember, start every interview with a firm handshake, look your professional best, be prepared with your company research, bring copies of your resume, have intelligent questions ready and follow up with timely thank-yous. Knowing you have these areas covered will help you show you’re the confident professional you are.
10. Try Some Retail Therapy
No, this isn't an excuse for a shopping spree especially at a time when you might need to be budget conscious. But, sometimes if you are feeling lackluster, a new pair of shoes, a fresh haircut, a fun accessory, a new tech gadget or an updated suit will give you the extra confidence and excitement to ace an interview. Walk in with some swagger, and let them know why you're the best person for this role.
11. Know it’s normal
While it won’t take away all of your frustration or uneasiness, knowing the emotions you are feeling during your job search are part of the process and other job seekers are experiencing those feelings, too, can normalize the situation and help you feel better.
Using these tips can keep burnout at bay, your emotions in check and your job search on the best trajectory.