Job seekers face a high risk of burnout. Here's how you can prevent it from happening to you.
Regardless of the reasons that made you decide to look for a new job, the process of finding one can be long and challenging.
According to statistics shared by Indeed.com, the average job seeker will need to apply to about 15 jobs per week over the course of approximately 5 to 6 months (the average time it takes to land a new job). In addition, it takes about 10-20 applications to get a call for an interview and you will need to go through an average of 12 interviews in order to receive a single job offer.
If those numbers are making your head spin, you are not alone.
Not only is the job market extremely competitive but the typical recruitment process is also not necessarily designed with the wellbeing of the applicants in mind. It's no surprise that a staggering percentage of active job seekers are reporting symptoms of burnout as a side-effect of the discouraging amount of effort versus result.
The warning signs of job-search burnout you should watch out for:
Low energy and motivation: when you first started looking for a new job, you would dream about the opportunities and possibilities that might exist out there for you. But, gradually, you may be finding it more and more difficult to get excited about the future and all it has to offer.
Low effort and disengagement from the process: although you are well aware that it's always a good idea to customize your application to match the requirements of each role, you are finding it increasingly harder to bother with such details and focus more on quantity rather than quality.
Low performance at job interviews: after having received a fair amount of rejection emails, your negative self-talk has prevailed and you are mentally preparing yourself for yet another disappointment. That results in you not showing up as your best self during interviews - which is something that recruiters and hiring managers can misinterpret as lack of interest in the role.
To prepare yourself for the (job) hunt, make sure you're packing the right supplies.
The most successful burnout prevention strategies, are the ones that focus on building resilience and balance long-term. The more focused you are on taking care of yourself throughout this process, the longer you will able to withstand the challenges that come with it.
Because for most people, job searching is a marathon, not a sprint.
The pragmatic approach on how you can tackle job searching without risking your mental health:
Use time management & productivity tools: I often like to say to my coaching clients that looking for a job IS a job. It takes time, effort, dedication and a few efficiency tactics to make sure that you do it well and achieve the goals you set. So, treat it just like a job by blocking time in your calendar daily for focus work, use productivity tools to organize your applications and be stick to the schedule that works best for you.
Never ignore your downtime: as you would do with a "regular job", eventually your work hours would be done for the day and you would (hopefully) switch off and stop replying to work emails or calls. The same practice applies to the job of job searching. You need to give yourself a break and engage in other life activities that are equally important for your health.
Do not isolate: a well-balanced social life is not only important for your general wellbeing but it can also provide opportunities for networking and forming meaningful connections. There is an unfair and unfortunate stigma that comes with job searching but allowing shame or guilt to limit your social life will only have the opposite effect in what you're working so hard to achieve. Remember, you might not have a job at the moment but you do work - on yourself, your career and your future so you are equally busy and productive as everyone else in your social circle.
Celebrate and reward yourself for your hard work: you don't have to wait for that magical unicorn of a job offer in order to pop the champagne. You are working hard, you are learning every day and you are growing as a person. That's enough cause for celebration right there! Include moments of reward in your weekly routine and attach it to achievable goals (for example, once you manage to reach out and connect with 10 new people in your extended network, treat yourself to a slice of chocolate cake - or something healthier if that works equally well for you!)
I'm sure that the last thing you want is to land a great job only to show up on your first day feeling drained and exhausted from all the effort of actually getting hired for it.
Your mental health should always take front-row seat in the piling amount of life priorities but especially during challenging periods such as job searching.
Investing in your health and wellbeing is always the most rewarding and future-proof strategy.