Sometimes—despite your best intentions—your job hunt doesn’t go well. No matter how much work you put into it or how prepared you are, you keep on hitting roadblock after roadblock. The weight of that failure eats at you, both in financial stability and self-esteem.
I’ve been there myself with my job searches, and it’s no fun. But you need to pick yourself up again and get back in the saddle, because if you don’t the only other option is staying unemployed.
Here’s how to continue your job search when everything sucks.
The first thing you’ll want to do is take a short breather for your health and headspace.
This can be hard when the job search is weighing you down, but you need time to regroup and figure out where your search is failing. There’s no point in throwing yourself against a proverbial wall for no profit.
During this break, sleep some more, do some relaxing activities, and talk to your friends. Misery loves company, as they say, and if your friends are job searching too they’ll know how tough it is. They’ll be able to sympathize with you without brushing off your concerns about the process.
If your friends aren’t searching, they’ll be your biggest cheerleaders. In both cases, your friends might be able to spot an error in your application that you haven’t found yet—especially in you’re trying to find work in the same industry. They might have contacts that can connect you to the right people at the right companies, or tips on job searching itself.
One of the best tools for job searching online is finding search engines tailored to your interests. Check out our article on the best ways to use Indeed for job hunting.
2. Hunt for Resources
While you’re taking this short break, look for job hunting resources that are in your area: they can support you when things get rough.
These resources often take the form of an employment office, where you’ll potentially have access to career counselors, free wi-fi, printers, internal job postings, free or conditional training, resume writing classes, and financial support.
Sometimes there’s this mindset that if you need the “help” from one of these offices, you’ve failed. There shouldn’t be, however, as this idea of failure couldn’t be farther from the truth.
These employment offices are there to give you structured guidance during a complicated, time-consuming process. I’ve used one before, and when I did, it made the job search so much easier. Think of them as mentors.
You can also find additional resources online. If you’re looking for a place to start your search, there are usually government-run or government-adjacent websites that compile links on where to find employment. They also list the steps that you can take if you are eligible for extra assistance.
3. Look Into Temp Work
One of the inevitable things that comes from a very long job hunt is the financial strain. No matter how much money you’ve saved, or how much support you have from your family, your funds will start running dry.
The looming fear of debt can be terrifying. Persistent, low-grade anxiety about a lack of money can make it hard to sleep or eat. This might make you perform worse during interviews. It’s a vicious cycle.
To deal with this financial burden, you can try looking into temp work.
This work doesn’t have to be in your field or full time, or even above minimum wage, although a higher wage would be nice. The goal is to simply find something that helps you pay the bills and lets you job search on the evenings and weekends.
If and when you start a temp job, it may feel frustrating. The temp work probably isn’t what you want long term.
It will help you, however, because it will relieve some of the financial stress. It might also motivate you to find the job you really want to do.
Resources you can use:
This is a non-exhaustive list of job search websites that list temp work. If you want to find something that is more specific to where you live, we recommend doing a quick Google search on your own location. There’s a good chance you’ll find services that are local to your area.
4. Leave One Day of the Week for You
One of the major reasons that people get burnt out on job searches—especially if those searches go on forever—is “the grind”. If you’re doing the same thing every day, all day, for months on end—or even years—it can be enough to drive a person to despair.
You’ll get mentally and physically exhausted.
One way to avoid this burnout is to save at least one day of the week for yourself. On this day, do fun things to recharge and give yourself a break, whether that’s exercising, reading books, hanging with friends and family, or watching Netflix. Sky’s the limit so long as it’s within your budget.
This “free time” might feel weird at first. Your brain might try to trick you into feeling guilty about taking some time for yourself.
By having this regular break, however, you’ll feel more rested. You’ll also be able to perform better on the days you are job hunting. Treat it like a reward that you give yourself after a long week of working at your job search.
5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Lastly—and this is super important for your mental health—don’t compare yourself to others.
This can seem like overly-emotional advice compared to the other items on this list, but understanding that everyone has a different path to employment is crucial for your success.
A good example of this mindset is when you and your classmates graduate from university or college. After you’re done, everyone you know will be job hunting, and some folks get those dream jobs faster. It’s really hard not to think “why not me?”
I know I did.
This anxiety is compounded by the fact that we’re living in an age of social media over-saturation. If someone’s life is amazing, you’ll see it. But their success is not your success, and it doesn’t change the fact that everyone’s path is their own.
Keep your eyes on your own paper and how your own journey is making you feel. Have an internal barometer for success. You’ll be happier with yourself when you focus on your personal transformation, instead of some arbitrary, external marker of success set by others.
Good Luck on the Job Search
These tips are designed to help you if your job hunt is going poorly. That said, they can also work well if you’re just starting out. It’s better to avoid burnout before it starts.
Looking for more practical tips on how to increase your chances of landing a job? Check out our tutorial on how to create a resume from scratch using Canva.