7 Powerful Job Search Burnout Strategies To Build Confidence

Inside: Job search burnout recovery strategies to manage stress and build new momentum toward landing your next dream role.


Are you feeling burned out in your job search?

*Looks out to the sea of raised hands*

Ah, my friend, you are definitely not alone. The job search can be stressful, exhausting, and confidence-busting.

The good news is that we can turn this around.

Use these 7 strategies to manage job search burnout and build new momentum toward landing your next dream role.

1) Hit Pause
2) Brain Dump
3) Clarity Check
4) Focus on What You Can Control
5) Remind Yourself of Your Wins
6) Play to Your Strengths
7) Seek Out Community

Hit Pause

It’s okay to take a job search break, and it might even be necessary. Here’s why.

If you’re burning out in your job search, then you will not be bringing your best self to informational conversations, networking, and interviews.

Then, since you aren’t showing up as the best version of yourself, you won’t get the results you want, and the cycle continues.

Hitting pause can look like…

  • Going to bed early instead of staying up late to apply for another job.
  • Taking three days off from all things job search-related to spend time with family and friends.
  • A longer break to manage a big project in your current position so that you can come back into your job search with renewed focus.

Long story short, your job search needs you at your best. So take a rest, then come on back.

Brain Dump

If your brain is overflowing with job search stress, it might be time to dump it all out!

When behavior change scientist Dr. Jacqueline Kerr discusses burnout, she references a two-pronged model — reducing stressors and leveraging resources.

But if you want to leverage the RIGHT resources, you need to know what your specific stressors are. That’s where a job search stress brain dump exercise comes in.

Pull up a chair, a pen, and a notebook and think about what is stressing you out right now — in your job search and in life in general? Write it ALL down with no judgment.

Then, as Dr. Kerr recommends, look at what you’ve written down to determine if other stressors in life are getting in the way of your job search.

  • Can those stressors be reduced?
  • Are there creative ways you can get more help with those stressors during this time so you are not approaching a job search already depleted?
  • What resources would help you to manage those stressors?

If that seems rather simplistic, GOOD! Simple solutions to complex problems are my favorite because that means they are doable.

Clarity Check

Hitting pause in your job search to take a breather, get some sleep, and unplug is super important, but you may also need to hit pause in your job search so that you can ask yourself an important question:

Am I crystal clear on what I want and need out of my next job?

If the answer to that question is “NO,” then hold up, time out! You are adding extra stress to your job search and we don’t want that!

That extra stress shows up because a scattershot approach to a job search will lead to many rejections or radio silence. Or you’ll be burning the candle at both ends and going to countless exhausting interviews for jobs you don’t actually want.

Instead, with a clarity check and targeting, your FOCUSED job search will keep you motivated because you have a clear goal in mind and clear action steps to take to get there.

Focus On What You Can Control

As a self-proclaimed “control enthusiast,” nothing sends me into a spiral more than not being in control of what happens next. It’s THE WORST.

Does that sound like you too? If so, and you’re in a job search right now, try this strategy.

Grab a pen and paper and make two lists — things that are within your control and things that are outside of your control in your job search.

Things that are outside of your control might include…

  • When or where a company posts an open job
  • If your target job will become available
  • The economy.

Things that are within your control include…

  • How many outreach emails you send to people in your target industry/company/function
  • Your interview prep
  • The effort you put into making your LinkedIn profile stand out

Now, commit to focusing your energy on what you CAN control. In fact, let’s make a vow!

“I, (your name here) commit to focusing 100% of my efforts on what I can control and 0% of my brain energy on things that I cannot control. In doing this, I will use my time and energy most effectively and be better equipped to capitalize on opportunities.”

Kind of freeing and exciting, right?

Remind Yourself of Your Wins

A job search can really damage your confidence. Rejection, burnout, stress—ugh, it’s the trifecta of confidence killers.

So how can you manage the stress and burnout of rejection? Remind yourself of just how GREAT you really are!

Career Coach and Corporate Wellness Speaker Aileen Axtmayer recommends that clients keep a “Happy Folder” in their inbox that they fill with positive messages and accolades about their work.

You know, that random note you got from a co-worker thanking you for your insights. Or the client who was gushing about the project you just finished. Yup, ALL of that goes into the folder! 🗂

(I’ve called this a “Brag Folder” in the past, but I like Aileen’s take on it!)

SO, if you HAVE a Happy Folder, open it up and read those messages from colleagues and clients. Let their words of praise remind of you of your accomplishments, skills, and experience. Did you forget just how much value you bring in the workplace and the impact you make? Wowza, look at you!

If you DON’T have a Happy Folder (yet), read your LinkedIn recommendations or check out your past performance reviews. Or email a former colleague and ask them what they think you’re good at.

(You can completely put the blame on me for this and say your career coach gave you a homework assignment. Happy to be the weirdo for you in this situation!)

The big takeaway here is that you have done exceptional work in your career so far, and your next employer will be lucky to have you. 

Play To Your Strengths

Time and again, I see job search burnout arise because people are battling their way upstream in their job search and not playing to their strengths.

For example, if you are naturally introverted and you’re forcing yourself to go to in-person networking events, you might get exhausted quickly.

Instead, take your networking online and find people you’d like to chat with 1:1 on a Zoom or phone call. This way you are setting yourself up for success by leaning into what you’re great at — building individual relationships with deep listening instead of working a crowd.

Or maybe you stumble in interviews, but you know that you crush it while writing out your thoughts. Lean into that!

Write out the stories you want to share in an interview and script out the specific words you would like to use as transition statements during the story. Like: “What I learned from this experience was…” or “I was proud of the solution my team and I developed as it resulted in…”

Consider where you’re pushing yourself so far out of your comfort zone that it’s depleting your energy AND where you could better utilize your #strengths.

Seek Out Community

One of the most important tools in your toolbox for managing job search stress and burnout is community!

Here’s why:

Confidence Booster

If you feel like you’re the only one struggling to find a new role that’s a better fit for your life, it can be super helpful to learn that you’re wrong!

Super smart and talented folks just like you are managing through job search stress and career confusion. When you look around your community of job seekers, you’ll be reminded that just like all these people you admire, you too have amazing gifts to share with the world.

Strength in Numbers

If you’re like a lot of people, you hear the word “networking,” and you want to run for the hills.

But you also know that networking is a very effective way to land a new position. 80% of new jobs are secured through networking and referrals – for real!

So with that in mind, find a way to network that works for you. Like working within a community of job seekers where you can expand your professional network among one another, and by making introductions!

Lightbulb Moments

It’s easy to get in your own head during a job search, asking yourself the same questions over and over and spinning your wheels.

But, when you surround yourself with other job seekers, you’ll be exposed to new industries, functions, and ways of working because of their experience. Plus, when they ask a question or share a lightbulb moment in your job search community, it can spark something brand new for you too.

How to Land a Fulfilling Job You Love Without Giving Up the Flexibility You Need
Hosted by Becca Carnahan
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How Will You Beat Job Search Burnout?

Your turn to put these job search burnout strategies into practice!

Let’s make a plan right now. Which job search burnout strategy will you try this week? Find what resonates with you and seems the easiest. Low hanging fruit can be just as sweet!

And if finding community is the strategy that will work for you, come join us in the Career Clarity Program! Inside, you’ll find a community of mid-career professionals ready to make a change and support you every step of the way. Learn more here!

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