5 tips to overcome job search fatigue

Maintaining a healthy balance while searching for new employment can be overwhelming. As a student completing their second post-graduate certificate, working part-time, trying to make time for family, friends and myself, and searching for new job opportunities, trust me when I say I understand the struggle.
April 12, 2022

By: Rachel MacMurchy

Twenty-four hours in a day doesn’t feel long enough when you’re a student. Not only are you trying to balance your schoolwork, but you might have a job, extracurricular activities, family life and personal time to manage. On top of that, searching for a new job can lead to job search fatigue.

It’s exhausting.

However, there are ways to help relieve that job search fatigue. Here are some of the tips and tricks I learned on how to job search while avoiding burnout.

1. Discover the hidden job market

When most people think of job searching, they probably think of online resources such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc. However, this is only 15% of the available job market. While searching online is an easy way to access some job postings, you should spend 85% of your job search time accessing the hidden job market.

You might be wondering what the hidden job market is. This is where career opportunities are that you might not be aware of. Only 15% of available jobs are posted online, while 85% of jobs remain in the hidden job market.

First, do your labour market research. Start researching companies you’d like to work at. Refer to directories and websites that list companies you might not know about. Learn about company values and missions, and identify if they align with yours. Check the Job Search Strategies tip sheet for a comprehensive directory list.

Once you find a company you’re interested in, start to network. Search for people who work there and request an informational interview. Think of an informational interview as a coffee chat. You aren’t meeting with them to ask for a job but rather to create that connection that could lead to a job in the future. You could also attend career fairs, company information and recruitment sessions, etc.

2. Plan time to job search

This might seem obvious, but it’s a commonly overlooked strategy. Check your weekly schedule and identify gaps of time for job searching.

Treat your job search like a class. Set aside dedicated time just like you do for lectures and studying. Ideally, you would dedicate at least five hours a week to job searching. Allow some flexibility in case some weeks are busier than others. And remember, you don’t have to get everything done in a single day. Be realistic and know when you need to adjust your timeline.

3. Start with small tasks

Start your job searching time with smaller tasks as a “warm-up” to help you stay motivated. When people go to the gym, they don’t start with the heaviest weights. They warm up, so they don’t pull a muscle. This also applies to job searching.

For example, rather than applying to every job posting you find in one day, break down the postings by submission due date. Prioritize the postings that have a closing date the soonest, and then go from there. You can also dedicate separate times to work on catering your resume and cover letter. While this might take longer, it will result in a better resume and cover letter and less stress on yourself.

4. Be kind to yourself

Burnout will begin to creep in if you concentrate purely on job searching and neglect your interests. Remember, spending time on things you love isn’t a waste. It’s essential to have some joy and time just to be yourself. Take time to recharge so you can perform at your highest level when you get back to job searching.

Sometimes, we don’t complete every task we set out to do in a day, and that’s okay. Life can get in the way with unexpected events and obligations. I remember when I planned time for job searching, and my grandparents unexpectedly knocked on my door to visit. My plans had to change.

Busy times can be stressful, and it’s essential that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

5. Know when to ask for help

Job searching is hard. Even when we plan everything and set goals and timelines for ourselves, we can still become overwhelmed. Sometimes, we need that extra support — from people in our inner circle, co-workers, school friends or career development professionals.

The SSC’s dedicated career development professionals are here to guide you through the job search process and offer advice and support.

Remember, taking care of yourself is essential to the job search process. If you need someone to talk to about your well-being, then check out the Student Wellness Centre (SWC). They have trained counsellors who are more than willing to help if you need and want it.

About Rachel

Rachel is a student at Conestoga College in the Career Development Professional Postgraduate Program. She is completing her student practicum with the McMaster Student Success Centre as a part of the careers team, where she can follow her passion for helping students in their career journey. 

Rachel MacMurchy