On the surface, it looks like the job market has become fantastic for anyone looking for a new role. After all, the number of job vacancies in the United States has soared to more than 15 million, more than double the number a year ago.
But a search can take a lot of time. It takes job hunters about five months on average to find a new position, according to a 2018 study. During the pandemic, the average length of unemployment was also about five months. With all the applications, networking, emails, and interviews, experts say it is actually pretty easy to suffer from “search fatigue.” “Searches are almost always a roller coaster,” says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. “With the pandemic as a backdrop, it is more important than ever to have a self-care plan as you enter it, move through it, and land on the other side of it with a job.”
With that in mind, here are five ways to keep a job search from becoming exhausting.
Create time limits.
Once job hunters start a search, many feel that it has to be all-consuming. After all, they could miss out on a plum opportunity if they don’t go through 300 listings a day. But spending all that time can be counterproductive. Instead, at the beginning of a job search, try “timeboxing”—searching in small chunks of time, perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. When the timer goes off, celebrate your hitting that goal and put your work away for the day, says Gabby Lennox, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. The positive feelings from achieving a goal can carry over and inspire you to do another 10 minutes tomorrow, she says. In a few days, you may find that you have the natural energy to search for 15 minutes or 20 minutes. “Listen to your body and follow what feels motivating,” Lennox says.
Validate your feelings.
Companies may have a certain type of candidate in mind for a role, and you might not match it, even if you think your skills and background would make you ideal. That type of rejection can hurt. It’s OK to feel bad when you are rejected. Just make sure that you feel sad, not guilty. “Any shame-based thoughts are only going to make it harder for you to get remotivated,” says Lennox.
After the sadness, reflect on the application you filed or interviews you did. Could you have presented yourself more effectively? The cycle of sadness and reflection allows candidates to rebound and improve their candidacies for the next opportunities.
Review how you’re searching.
Yes, job searches involve rejection, but perhaps you are getting rejected too much. Consider meeting with a career coach to evaluate your search tactics. Too many people rely solely on online applications, experts say, when networking to establish a connection to a hiring manager or organization can improve one’s chances dramatically (as well as alerting you to openings that aren’t posted publicly).
Those “no” responses aren’t personal.
A job search seems personal, for obvious reasons. Your work situation impacts every other aspect of your life, so you want it to be right. However, the job-search process isn’t personal at all. Indeed, it involves a lot of sending out emails to people you’ve never met or filling out online applications that these days often get screened by artificial intelligence software. Not getting a reply to those queries might just be the result of exasperated talent recruiters overwhelmed with applications (or jobs to fill) or even corporate email software glitches. Don’t treat every non-response as an insult, Olson says.
Give yourself breaks.
“Don’t think you have to pound the pavement every minute of every day,” Olson says. If you feel the search is taking a toll on you, take a vacation from it for a few days. The good news is that, with the surging job market, there likely will be plenty of attractive roles for you to pursue when you resume.
This content was originally published here.