Why Job Hunting Depression is Real and What to Do About It

Remote Job Hunting

If your job search has you feeling down, anxious, or pessimistic, you’re not alone. Use these six easy steps to lessen your job-hunting depression and get back on track now.
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Is job hunting depression real?

If you’ve been searching for your dream job to no avail, you may be feeling anxiety, pessimism, and depression slowly creeping in.

But you don’t have to live in this melancholic haze forever. 

You can shake those unwanted feelings, start feeling like yourself again, and land the job you were always meant for.

Your first step?

Understanding and accepting that this totally normal experience happens to everyone at some point in their careers. 

Why Job Hunting Depression Happens to the Best of Us

If you’ve ever felt sad, anxious, hopeless, defeated, or even depressed about your job search, you’re not alone.

Even the most well-qualified candidates experience these symptoms for a number of different reasons, including:

Lack of quality positions. You may be struggling to find jobs that actually interest you, which makes the whole job-hunting process feel hopeless. 

You may even fear being forced to take a job you don’t enjoy simply for the paycheck.

Not getting called for an interview. If you’re finding and applying for jobs that you like and you’re the perfect fit for, but fail to score an interview, you may start questioning everything.

Is it something in your resume or cover letter that’s not connecting? Are you really as qualified as you thought?

Not landing the role after your interview. It’s especially difficult when you don’t hear back at all after an interview.

You’re left wondering what went wrong with no concrete answers. And the more time that passes, the worse you may end up feeling.

Soon enough, you may start to doubt yourself and your skills. You may feel as if you’re never going to land something valuable.

This uncertainty tends to fester and only makes matters worse over time.

You may even start to feel like a failure the longer your job search goes on.

If there’s any good news here besides the fact that you’re not alone, it’s that you can remedy this unpleasant situation with a few easy tips.

How to Beat Job Hunting Depression

Follow these steps in order, and you’ll start to see the light at the end of the job search tunnel.

Complete them, and you’ll kick that job hunt depression to the curb. You may even feel a renewed sense of excitement to start looking again.

Here’s how you can accomplish that:

Step 1: Don’t Let the Job Search or Rejection Define You

It’s important not to take the results of your job search and any subsequent rejection personally.

The truth is, there could be several reasons why you didn’t hear back or land the role, many of which may be out of your control.

So just because you were “rejected,” try not to dwell on it. Keep the mindset that it’s their loss, not yours.

Remember: focus on the things you can control and forget the rest.

This step is definitely harder to practice in reality, but it’s not impossible. It also gets easier over time.

Step 2: Take an Organized Approach to Your Job Search

If you’re not having much luck with your job search, it may be time to buckle down and get more serious.

Rather than blasting out as many resumes as you can handle, or only looking once a day, you should take a more targeted approach.

A good way to do this is to set daily targets for yourself that you can control.

Saying you’ll apply to 10+ jobs each day isn’t feasible. After all, there may not be that many available if you have a highly specialized skill set.

A better approach is to block out specific hours in your day to dedicate to different job-hunting tasks. In this way, you start treating your job search like an actual job.

For example:

Spend two hours/day browsing for jobs and applying to your top picks. Start with one in the morning and one in the afternoon. You’ll see what’s out there and won’t miss anything new. 

But you’ll also limit this time to work on other productive tasks.

Spend one hour networking. Reaching out to your connections, meeting new ones, and building relationships may lead to your next role.

If you’re hesitant to network, try the online route first. Join relevant professional groups on LinkedIn or Facebook. And instead of asking for a job, focus on chatting with others and getting to know them.

Again, you never know what this legwork may lead to.

Spend one hour on follow-ups. Send follow-ups to any jobs you’ve applied to or have interviewed with.

Even if you haven’t heard back, it still pays to do this. The hiring manager may just be inundated with work and forgot to touch base with you.

By reaching out, you’ll keep your name top of mind and you’ll help do some of the heavy lifting for the hiring manager. 

You’ll also show that you’re eager for the position, which is always seen favorably in their eyes.

Keep all your efforts organized in a spreadsheet. Track where/when you applied, whether you’ve heard back, and the results. 

This will help you stay on top of your job search and follow-ups.

And never be afraid to go the extra mile with a handwritten follow-up note. The effort will always look good.

Spend one or two hours updating your resume and cover letter. Research the best ways to make your documents stand out from the stack of other applicants.

Do some keyword research to ensure your application passes parsing software. And spruce up the top third of your resume to pique the interest of whoever reads it.

Step 3: Focus on What You Can Control

The previous step gave you at least five to six hours of tasks to focus on. And that means you shouldn’t have much time to dwell on the negative aspects of your job hunt.

This is one of the biggest secrets to beating job search depression: focusing on what you can control.

So think more about what you’re doing on a daily basis and less about what’s not happening. You’ll be in much better shape.

Step 4: Expand Your Skills or Add Some New Ones

If you run out of things to do in your job search, switch gears and fill your time sharpening your skills or adding new ones to your toolbelt.

You can add these new or updated skills to your resume, which will also help you stand out as a well-qualified candidate.

An easy way to do this is to see what the job ads you’re applying to are looking for. If anything is missing in your skillset, start there.

At a minimum, stay abreast of the latest articles in your industry so you can hold a conversation and know exactly what’s going on.

Step 5: Stay Social

If you’re currently out of work, you may be feeling more isolated and alone.

To combat this, make sure to get out there and stay social with your friends and family.

Instead of hiding out to avoid the dreaded question of how your job search is going, you can confront it head-on.

Let everyone know you’re doing everything you can, and reiterate that you’re hopeful something will come up soon.

Then ask how they’re doing, and if they happen to know anyone hiring. You’ll get past the uncomfortableness and segue into networking right away.

If you can’t physically see people right now due to COVID-19, make plans to catch up virtually so that you can enjoy some human connection.

Connecting with people who make you happy is one of the best natural remedies for beating depression.

As long as you don’t dwell on the negatives of your job search, you may forget all about it and actually have fun.

These much-needed breaks from the hunt are necessary to come back to your search the next day with a clear head.

Step 6: Change Where You Look for Jobs

If you’re continually turning up goose eggs where awesome positions should be waiting for you, it may be time to switch up where and how you’re applying for jobs.

Consider being open to new possibilities, such as applying for remote work, and you may just land the job you’ve been searching for.

But that won’t happen if you only stick to the same job boards and the same old method of applying where the masses do.

Search out niche job boards and tap into your network to try a new route to get your foot in the door.

Final Thoughts on Beating Job Hunting Depression

Job hunting depression is real, and it requires real solutions to beat.

Remember, this unfortunate period is only temporary, so don’t sweat it. When you follow these tips, you’ll be able to dig yourself out of it in no time.

You’ll then be in a much better position to give it everything you’ve got to land the role you’ve been waiting for.

Open to finding remote work? Try giving our job board a shot! You’ll connect with the best remote companies in the world and broaden your search outside of your zip code.

In the end, you don’t have to let your job search get you down. You have the power to change this situation, and we believe that you can!

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