Some tasks are all encompassing endeavors, consuming the entirety of your mental and physical energy. After a while these kinds of tasks can wear you down to the point where you feel like throwing in the towel and just being done. When this sort of situation is described, most people think of a 60 hour a week power job, great pay, but a soul destroying workload. Ironically, I’d suggest it is the task of looking for that job that can be the most disheartening.
That 60 hour a week position may be a grind, but at least it provides and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Looking for work is devoid of both of those attributes, which makes the activities required by the jobseeker that much harder, and that much more prone to burn out. But there is hope. There are concrete things you can do to avoid that feeling of giving up and instead make steady progress until you’ve landed a new position.
Stick to a schedule
There are so many things a jobseeker needs to be aware of and do, from networking, to LinkedIn participation, to resume customization, to researching target companies, and of course finding and applying for new positions. Once you get immersed in this world it can easily drown you.
A schedule can be your life raft. Create a concrete plan for your job search and then stick to it. For general reference, if you are unemployed and looking, then you should treat this like its own job and spend 35-40 hours a week on it. But no more. Overtime is not required. Make it reasonable, and make sure you tick off “done” on that daily to do list. Not only will this give you a feeling of momentum, it will also stop you from over reaching to the point where you just lose energy. Middle of the night crawling through job listings doesn’t help anyone.
Keep things in perspective
Being between jobs is admittedly one of the most stressful periods of adult life, which makes it a great time to remember that you are not your job. You are not your salary. You are not even your career. You are a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, caring, decent human being. A job is important, yes, but it isn’t everything. A great way to be reminded of this is to do a little volunteering around your area. Be reminded that there are things much more important like family, friends and health.
Allow for you time
One trap may jobseekers find themselves in is the need for constant activity. You feel like you need to be doing something job hunt related all day, every day. A better way to look at this phase of life is as a job in and of itself. And a normal job is 40 hours a week, with a couple days off. Treat your jobsearch no different. You have a daily to do list and schedule, so just stick to them. When you have accomplished everything, be done.
Then go watch a game, play with your kids, catch a movie with your significant other. In short, just live your life. Don’t let job searching become all consuming. If you do, it will become the biggest contributor to burn out.
Combine it with career development
Finally, if you are looking for a job while unemployed, take advantage of the time off to do something to better yourself. This will both help keep you fresh and provide you with a leg up on the competition when it comes to interviewing. There are plenty of professional development learning experiences that you can do for little to no cost. If you are a LinkedIn Premium member, which you should be, then you have access to a lot of their learning modules. Take advantage of them. Even easier, and cheaper, is to use your library card and simply read up on the latest developments in your field.
Whatever you chose to do, learning while looking will help keep your motivation and momentum high.