Jobhunting is hard. You’re sure to run into plenty of rejection, and it seems as though every opening requires more experience or qualifications than you currently hold. The only openings that do seem to suit you pay less than you’re willing to take, and even those underpaying roles are highly competitive.
It’s easy to see why you may experience burnout while searching for a new job. But you still shouldn’t blindly accept the first offer that comes your way just to end your job hunt. Instead, you have to keep your morale high and actively stave off burnout while jobhunting.
Organization and Best Practices
Job searching is exhausting at the best of times. It’s even harder if you aren’t well organized and have to scramble to find relevant information every time you write a new cover letter or need to tweak your resume.
You can improve the efficiency of your job search by getting organized well ahead of time. Start by creating a “master resume” that details all of your resume-worthy experiences. Next, create a few “target resumes” for particular job roles and industries that sound appealing to you. You can also take advantage of sites like LinkedIn and Indeed to store your CV and make it possible for recruiters to find your master's resume.
When starting your search, it's best to create a schedule that you’ll stick to. This schedule can be as simple as a typical 9 - 5, wherein you spend the first part searching for job listings. After a break for lunch, spend the rest of your day writing cover letters and completing your applications. This will keep you on track, and the daily routine will help you avoid burnout.
Even if you’re unemployed, you still need to foster a healthy work-life balance. Searching for a new job is a full-time commitment, and you’re sure to burn out if you don’t take the time to see loved ones, socialize, and engage in activities that excite you. Try to plan your day around things like playing sports, getting coffee with a friend, or simple activities like meditation and yoga.
Most modern-day job searches last around 5 months. However, if you are dealing with an extra challenge your job search may last longer and place a greater strain upon you. You have to take special care if you have an extenuating circumstance beyond your control and retain the belief that you will find a job you love, no matter your circumstances.
Living with a disability should not present an extra challenge during the job search. The Americans with Disabilities Act is supposed to make discrimination against disability illegal and should guarantee reasonable accommodations. However, not all employers understand their responsibility. Your best option is to search through sites like abilityJOBS and Respectability as these sites host disability-conscious employers who are looking to add skilled employees to their ranks.
Searching for your next job is a little more tricky if you have a criminal record, but landing a dream role when you have a record is not impossible. You can still ace your next interview by being upfront and honest about your background from the get-go. This will show the employer that you are trustworthy and will help you make a good first impression. Once you’ve covered your criminal record, move on to your strengths and always focus on the positives. Interviewers are looking for people who will fit in with their team and want to see examples of your personal growth.
Freelancing in the Interim
5 months is a long time if you are unemployed and still need to pay the bills. However, you can alleviate the stress and strain of burnout and bills by freelancing your services while you look for a new role.
The easiest way to freelance is to set yourself up on sites like UpWork and Fiverr. It is worth bearing in mind that not every opportunity on these sites is legit, and you need to look out for red flags before you sign up for a programming project or start writing an advertising script for a dubious company. Without realizing it, you might find that freelancing through websites furthers your burnout and leaves you feeling exploited.
If you’re new to freelancing, it’s best to lean on your personal network to find opportunities. For example, if you are a writer, you can learn to network by attending events in your area that help you connect with other authors and potential employers. When you find a potential contact, present your services with poise and avoid the temptation to pressure potential clients into working with you. A little patience and decorum go a long way when networking, and a polite follow-up email is usually enough to leave a lasting impression.
Freelancing through your network helps you avoid burnout and may even lead to a full-time role in the future. Project-based work also looks great on your resume, and a little extra income from a side hustle goes a long way when you’re unemployed.
Job searching is a marathon, not a sprint. You can make it easier on yourself by getting organized early and keeping a master resume that tracks all of your experience, skills, and qualifications. If you’re struggling to build momentum, consider freelancing and attend networking events that help you make face-to-face connections. Eventually, you will receive a job offer that will make all your hard work and effort worthwhile.