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Caring For Your Mental Health in the Job Search Process

The job search process can be mentally and emotionally draining, especially during a time when much of what we do is through a screen, rather than face-to-face. Since the pandemic, more people have been struggling with their mental health, which can impact their ability to work and their ability to look for jobs. 

JFCS Career Development Center career counselors help people move through the job search process, both logistically and emotionally. We understand how challenging it can be to search for a new job, or even just a better job, especially at this time. Wherever you are in your career process, we hope that these tips will help you care for yourself while you navigate searching for a job. 

Set small, achievable goals

When you are searching for a job, your ultimate goal is to get a job, but there are many factors out of your control during that process that can lead to frustration and delay in reaching this goal. Set goals that you can achieve that are within your control and make sense for the actual job you are trying to obtain. For example, instead of “Apply for 10 jobs,” make your goal “Look at 3 job postings in my field today” and then choose to apply to ones that fit your needs and interests. You can also make goals to learn new skills or reach out for networking opportunities. Try to keep your goals within tasks that are able to be accomplished without relying on others.

Make a routine for yourself

If you are looking for a job, whether you are unemployed or currently employed in some capacity, it is very important to your mental health to set a schedule for yourself. If you aren’t working at all, you may want to set aside a few hours at a time to look for jobs, with breaks in between so you don’t get overwhelmed. Setting a routine can also be helpful in maintaining a sense of normalcy for when you do start working again. If you’re working while job searching, you can schedule time limits outside of work to apply for jobs so that you don’t spend your entire day focusing on work. It can also be helpful to plan time to exercise, cook, create, or just get outside. Making a routine can ensure that you’re not spending too much time on the job search process but can also help you stay on track with working regularly to find a new position.

Avoid discouragement by focusing on how much you have actually accomplished

Most of us know how discouraging the job search process can be, especially if it carries on for much longer than expected. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the experience, especially when it just feels like you can’t get anywhere. To avoid feeling discouraged, regularly check in with yourself about what you are accomplishing—even if you just have little wins. Make a physical list of everything you’ve completed or succeeded in during the week relating to the job search process. Maybe your list is shorter than you would like; instead of feeling discouraged, make a plan and set some attainable goals (see tip 1!). Acknowledging your success, however small, can help prevent and avoid discouragement in the job search process. 

Keep your social life active

It can be emotionally and mentally draining to feel like your entire identity and personality is wrapped up and defined by work. Whether you’re unemployed and searching for a job or employed and looking for a different job, keeping your social life active is key to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Seeing friends and family can help with taking your mind off the job search process, but they also may be able to help you see your situation through new perspectives. Support from those who care about you–whether directly or indirectly related to your job search–can really help to remind you of the important things in life and keep you motivated and hopeful for your future career. 

Get help when you need it

You may get to a point in the job search process when you feel like you’ve just hit a wall. Whether you’re never making it past the phone interview, or not even seeing any jobs that interest you, it’s important to get help when you need it. Working with a career counselor can help you think outside the box about your future job and make sure your resume and interviewing techniques are up-to-date and match what employers are looking for. If you’re looking to switch career fields, an expert can help you identify skills and experiences that will allow you to remarket yourself for the new field. Career counselors can even help you make connections with recruiters and employers that you may not have been able to get on your own. 

If you’re at the point where you feel you need help, reach out to JFCS Career Development Center to work with one of our expert and caring career counselors. They can help you navigate the entire job search process, whether you’ve been out of work for years or are looking to change career fields. We even have counselors that specialize in working with individuals with invisible disabilities and mental health challenges, and we have a dedicated support group to help job seekers with both the emotional and logistical aspects of the job hunt. 

Reach out today to speak with one of our career counselors to see how we can support you through your job search journey.