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Job searching and burnout: A concern for World Mental Health Day

Looking for a new job is never easy. On top of having to dedicate a lot of hard work and attention to the job search itself, the longer the search goes on for, the more likely a person is to experience job search burnout.

The forecast-busting US jobs report last week has stoked expectations the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at least four times this year
Image: © AFP Frederic J. BROWN
Image: © AFP Frederic J. BROWN

Today is World Mental Health Day. The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. The theme of 2022’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘Make mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority’.

In relation to World Mental Health Day the company Lensa has revealed its top tips on how to recognise the signs of job search burnout and how to prevent it.

Looking for a new job is never easy. On top of having to dedicate a lot of hard work and attention to the job search itself, the longer the search goes on for, the more likely a person is to experience job search burnout. This is in the context of 35 percent of job seekers spending fifteen weeks or more on the job hunt.

What are the signs of burnout and how can you spot them?

Job search burnout can manifest in different ways and it’s important to be able to identify and recognize the signs of it. The earlier an individual is able to identify the signs, the easier and quicker it can be to recalibrate.

Some common signs of job search burnout can include:

  • Impulsivity: You’re acting without forethought. For example, you’re applying to jobs without making sure that you meet the position’s requirements.
  • Indecision: You’re unable to make decisions quickly. For example, it’s taking you too much time to decide whether or not to apply for a particular job.
  • Procrastination: You’re avoiding specific tasks or decisions you need to make. For example, you’re not actively searching for opportunities to apply for or you’re not replying to requests for interviews.

How to tackle and manage job search burnout?

Some advice is:

Establish Hard Edges and Boundaries

Deciding on a start and end time for your job search is a great first step to establish boundaries. Set specific hours during the day or week that you will dedicate to your job search and spend no time working on it outside of the time frame. Spending too much time browsing job boards or agonizing over application details can lead to burnout.

Remember, in order to avoid decision fatigue, it’s important to reduce the number of decisions you need to make.

Utilize Deal Breakers

Choose three deal breakers and eliminate any jobs that have them. No job will ever be completely perfect, there will always be something. Constantly weighing the pros and cons of every job you come across is time-consuming and stressful.

You can use dealbreakers to help you make faster decisions and quickly eliminate positions that aren’t a good fit and you’re unlikely to be offered or to accept. Set dealbreakers around workload, salary, commute time, benefits, and travel requirements.

Limit Your Search

Keep your job search to your expertise and don’t look for jobs that you aren’t qualified for as this can lead to burnout. With so many opportunities out there, you’ll want to make sure you’re searching efficiently. Create a list of specific keywords to pull up relevant jobs and limit the number of keywords on your list.

These keywords should accurately reflect what you value most. For example, if you’re looking for an entry-level marketing position, use keywords such as “junior marketing associate” or “junior marketing coordinator” to bring up qualified positions.

Reduce burnout by not wasting time and energy on dated job search strategies.

Use If-Then Rules

Create a list of processes to make narrowing down options easier For example, if you have a rule not to apply to jobs that will require a commute of longer than 30 minutes, and you see a position is located in an area that is an hour away, then don’t submit an application. Use your predetermined if-then rules to eliminate positions quickly so that you save time and mental energy.

Take a Break

Step away from your computer if you start to experience fatigue and stress. It can be helpful to engage in something that will help clear your mind. Go for a jog, meditate or cook your favorite recipe to relieve stress.

Job searching is a notoriously difficult and stressful process. Prioritizing your mental health and going about your job search strategically can help you succeed and land your ideal next opportunity.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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