Whether you’ve been let go, or you quit your job to pursue a new career, looking for a job today can lead to depression. The advent of online job portals and communication tools has only made it more difficult to get a new job. Today, every candidate can apply to hundreds of jobs at once, with the click of a button. As a result, there are hundreds, if not thousands of applicants, for each opening. To make things worse, online collaboration tools have made it possible for recruiters to hire candidates from any part of the world, leading to increased competition among job seekers. To top it all, social media platforms have made it impossible to stay low and focus on getting a new job.
According to a study by Connie Wanberg, Associate Dean at the Carlson School of Manager, people experience a sense of well-being for the first 10 to 12 weeks after they lose a job. However, if they’re unable to find another job during that period, they start feeling rejected and depressed.
Here are 3 common reasons why people experience depression when they’re unemployed:
1.Uncertainty about the future
You have no idea when you’ll find another job, or if you’ll be able to get one ever. Also, you don’t know where and in which company you’ll be working. This can be hard on people with spouse & kids.
No one likes being rejected, whether it’s for a job or anything else for that matter. It’s really depressing when you get rejected for a job opening you thought you were perfect for or were excited about. We all know that during a job search, the number of rejections will always outweigh the number of positive responses. However, as the number of rejections start piling up, it gets tougher to keep going. It also confuses a person whether they should lower their standards or try something else.
Whether you’re employed or not, your expenses refuse to cease. Utility & credit card bills, groceries, and other household expenses can dent one’s self-confidence. Some even have to move back with their parents or live on their spouse’s income, which can seriously hurt one’s self-worth.
How to Prevent Job Search Depression
Here are 6 ways to prevent feeling depressed while you’re looking for a job, and keep you going.
1.Maintain your routine
Even when you don’t have a job, continue with your routine of waking up early, and getting dressed for work. Only now, think of job search as your new job. Avoid staying up late or sleeping till noon, missing regular meals and avoiding your family & friends. This can disrupt the structure in your life. During the hours when you’d be otherwise working, send out job applications and attend interviews. If there’s nothing else to do, research companies online for job openings.
Doing exercise is one of the best ways to beat stress and stay active. It’s easy to sit at home doing nothing, once you lose your job. Get out of the house and exercise for a while. Use apps like My Fitness Pal to track your progress and stay motivated. If you don’t like exercise, take up an outdoor sport. Play basketball with your friends, or take your kids out to the park.
3.Keep a Job Search Journal
Keep a record of all your job search activities in a notebook or even an Excel spreadsheet. Track job opportunities, applications sent, resumes, people you met, and the responses you received over time. Analyze it every weekend, to see what worked and what can be improved. For example, you may notice that you’re getting better responses when you apply to high-tech startups, instead of approaching large enterprises. You may realize that a particular variant of your resume generates a lot of interest. Insights like these will keep you engaged, improve your job application and help you succeed faster.
When people are out of a job, they tend to go into a nutshell and avoid their social circle altogether. Stay in touch with your family & friends. Tell them about your situation and ask them if they can help you out. They’ll be able to connect you with potential employers, or provide valuable advice. For example, if you are looking to transition to a new field, they can tell you which companies you should aim for, and how to position yourself as a desirable candidate.
5.Refine your resume & cover letter
Use this opportunity to proofread your resume and cover letters. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a resume with factual errors or grammatical mistakes. Also, experiment with different writing styles in your job application. For example, start with a story in a few of your cover letters, and begin with a few industry stats in others. See how each one plays out. Use the learning to improve your application.
6.Become a volunteer
Joining a volunteer group is a great way to keep your skills sharp and add new achievements to your resume. They’re also a good opportunity to network with new people, who might even help you find a job or refer you to key employees in other companies. It’s also a healthy way to spend your time while you’re waiting to hear back about your job applications.
Looking for a job is tough. If you stay busy in productive ways, and systematically analyze & refine your job application with each attempt, you will be able to stay positive and quickly get a job.