Job searching can be a job itself, and not necessarily a good one. There’s no pay, benefits, stability, or work life balance. It’s also thankless. There will be no one to offer assurances that your work is appreciated, or even noticed. No bonuses, catered lunches, or cold brew on tap. However, it’ll be the most important job you’ll ever have while you’re looking for actual employment. It’s easy to become bitter, disheartened, or just plain exhausted over the course of your job hunt. Here are three ways to avoid burnout during your job search.
1. Have a standard cover letter and resume
This is probably the most important step to consider if you want to have a stress-free job hunt. More than likely, you will be applying for many different roles over an extended period of time. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before you land a job, but chances are you will be devoting a good chunk of your time sending out applications. You’ll get stumped every time if you don’t have a generic cover letter and resume already written to use as a starting point.
By “generic”, we mean that both documents should contain standard information as it pertains to your career history (resume), and completely outline who you are as a professional and an individual (cover letter). Maybe half or more of the content within these documents won’t change much no matter where you’re applying to. Having these already constructed will allow you to make the appropriate tweaks with ease to create tailored resumes and cover letters for the different roles you apply for in the future. If you plan on applying for another job that’s very similar to the one you just left, even better.
For those seeking a position that’s different from what you’ve been doing thus far, having more than one resume and cover letter on hand will be a given. The number of versions you’ll need will depend on how far off you wish to veer from your current career path, but each one should reflect something different. Are you a Research Assistant within the medical field who’s hoping to land an Associate Research position? This example showcases a person who isn’t looking to change their career or job type, but gain a promotion. They should have a resume that accurately reflects where they’ve been as well as a resume that emphasizes the tasks and skills they completed that would qualify them for an advanced position.
2. Gather as many references as possible
Having people that will vouch for your abilities as an employee is incredibly important. It’s also very helpful and can be just the push you need to beat out your competition during the hiring process. Some companies even require that you submit references before you move onto the final stages of hiring. For the places that don’t you can advertise your references as a selling point for why they should hire you.
Play it safe and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t wait until you receive that phone call or email asking you to submit three references before your final interview on Tuesday. It’s always better to be prepared, so start reaching out to contacts who you know will speak to your strengths now. It might take a while for people to get back to you, so doing this as soon as possible will work in your favor.
3. Set a consistent and dedicated time for conducting your job search
While the first two suggestions will ease the process of searching for a job, this suggestion is meant to ease you. Set boundaries for yourself. Make sure that your job search doesn’t bleed into the time meant for the other facets of your existence. What other facets? Well, spending time with family and friends; meditation and exercise. Especially those last two things, which we tend to de-prioritize in general. The exact reverse should be occurring during high stress times.
Setting up a schedule for yourself will help you to manage your time more efficiently and keep you accountable. For example, if you have already planned to devote four hours a day to your job search then those four hours are meant solely for that. No surfing the internet, checking Instagram, or talking on the phone with your long-lost buddy from junior high school. Remain consistent and dedicated to your schedule, even if you stumble here and there.
Staying emotionally, mentally and physically healthy during your job search is also vital to avoiding burnout. Putting together a game plan that’s well thought out and realistic will help you to manage your own expectations, as well as your stress level. Once you’ve got a clear idea on the type of job you want, the type of company you want to work for and have the basic tools necessary to start applying (standard cover letter and resume), release any anxiety or fear you may have and let the universe take over. There’s only so much you can do or control. However, you can do and control a lot within yourself—don’t let burnout become a reality for you.
This article was written by Jessica N. Todmann.
Jessica is a writer with over 15 years of work experience across many different roles and industries. Jessica was born and raised in New York City, with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s in Media Studies.