Finding a job can be a long and tedious process. So what can today's job seekers do to stay focused and avoid job search burn out? Our experts have the answers.
Create a structured plan.
"If you don't know what you're looking for, how are you supposed to find it?" asks career coach, Carlota Zimmerman. According to Zimmerman, the key to avoiding job search burnout is having a structured and organized plan. "Many job seekers stumble into the search process without any sort of plan as to what kind of job they want, not to mention, a day-to-day strategy for how they'll use their time and energy," Zimmerman notes. Zimmerman recommends job seekers keep a well-balanced schedule that contains both on-line and off-line (or in-person) job search activities, and allows job seekers the opportunity to get out of the house and "switch gears". Zimmerman says a structured yet diversified approach is the key to staying motivated during a strenuous search.
Associate with positive people.
Cheryl E. Palmer, owner of career coaching firm Call to Career, says remaining positive is one of the most critical steps in avoiding burnout. "Isolating yourself or associating with negative people will only breed negativity. Positive people can help you look on the bright side of things and can give you the encouragement you need," Palmer explains. John Paul Engel, president of executive recruiting and consulting firm Knowledge Capital Consulting, agrees. Engel says job seekers will often isolate themselves from friends and colleagues instead of eliciting their help and support. Engel cautions that isolation and escapism will cause job seekers to become discouraged and lose focus, leading to total job search burnout.
Palmer stresses the importance of staying focused and keeping your eye on the prize - securing employment. "It is easy to get distracted by other things that are more appealing than looking for work but allowing yourself to get off track will only extend the length of your search," she warns.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
"Just like running, cycling, or swimming, the key is to pace yourself," explains Erik Bowitz, senior resume expert at professional resume writing service Resume Genius. Bowitz cites job search overkill as one of the quickest ways for job seekers to lose momentum. "Most job seekers compile a huge list of jobs and then try to apply to all of them within the same day. By the time you get to the 5th or 6th job, you'll already be burnt out and your application quality will suffer because of it," Bowitz cautions. Instead, Bowitz recommends job seekers set a daily quota of submitting three to five quality job applications. "By setting a daily regimented quota, you can remain motivated and energized," Bowitz points out.
Step away from the computer
According to Carina Chivulescu, director of Human Capital at professional services search firm The Expert Institute, being glued to the computer for hours at a time is not the answer. "The most common mistake I see job hunters make is not treating their job hunt as a human process - meaning they don't get up from their computer and meet people" Chivulescu explains. Chivulescu says the secret to remaining motivated, focused, and optimistic during a drawn out search is to know when it's time to step away from the computer and make real life connections instead. "Job seekers should arrange informational interviews, offer to meet for coffee, or do whatever it takes to get out of the house! Even a brief meeting has the potential to lead to tremendous opportunities, and a successful meeting can be the perfect motivator," Chivulescu adds.