Is your job search wearing you down?

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Looking for a new job can feel like it takes forever. I have written several articles in the past about how to assess the effectiveness of your job search  and how to conduct an effective search (See Resume Mistakes, and Find a Job You Love, and References, and Recommendations, to name a few). But even when you do everything right, the job search can drain your energy.

Mike was a software test manager with a solid career in IT. He lost his job in a recent cycle of lay-offs at his company. Mike took time between jobs to evaluate his career in order to find a job that he really enjoyed. He sought the help of a career coach to sift through his strengths and skills and target the type of job and company where he would thrive. He developed targeted tools for his job search, including a new resume, cover letter, personal branding statement, and LinkedIn profile. He actively worked his professional and personal network to locate job leads. Mike persistently followed up. Mike spent every spare moment looking for work, chasing leads, and checking emails and voicemails to see if recruiters or hiring managers had replied. Mike felt exhausted by the process and burned out on his job search.

If you don’t manage your job search efforts effectively, even when you are doing all the right things, you can burn out just from looking for work. So what can you do to stay committed to the search process, and maintain your energy and a positive outlook?

I have discovered three (3) actions you can take to keep your job search from wearing you down.

1. Establish realistic expectations.

Once you know what you want, and are doing all the right things to get it, it can be very difficult to be patient and wait for the outcome you desire. We tend to want it now, not later. Even when you leverage a targeted, effective job search, it can take up to six months to find a job in today’s job market (link). Is it possible to get a job sooner? Of course it is. But if you set your expectations for six months, you will be far less likely to burn out. Having realistic expectations is foundational to a healthy and happy job search.


2. Schedule your job search activities.

I often write and speak about the importance of scheduling any new commitment to action, because it is a critical component to successful change. Schedule time in your calendar in the same way that you would schedule time for an important meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment. Treat your job search appointments with the same care and value. If you schedule online company research Monday at 9am, then do not run errands for your spouse or meet a friend for coffee at that same time. Schedule all of your job search activities on your calendar, day by day, week by week, so you know when you are getting the job search work done. Make a commitment to yourself to follow through with these scheduled activities, and then keep that commitment.


3. Schedule your breaks.

Mike fell into the trap of never taking any kind of break from his search. Just as it is important to schedule time for your job search activities in your calendar, it is equally important to schedule time away from the job search. During your breaks, do not check your emails or voice mails. Instead, meet a friend for coffee, visit a museum, or take your kids to the park. Find things to do that you enjoy, activities that refresh and renew your spirit, and put them in your calendar. Make another commitment to yourself to follow through with these scheduled breaks.


You will be amazed at how different you will feel by taking these three actions. By setting realistic expectations of results, planning your job search activities and doing them, and scheduling breaks for fun and refreshment, you will be able to maintain your positive energy and outlook for your job search. If you are feeling drained by your job search, I encourage you to take one of these steps today. (For more ideas, see Recover from Job Search Burnout.)

What are some steps you have found helpful to keep your job search from wearing you down? Your answers might help someone else. I invite you to share them on my blog below.


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Client Stories

What did you need at the time you hired Lori?

I wanted to work in my industry and didn't know how to progress any further than I was. I knew I had much experience that could be put in the industry of my choice but not how to parlay that experience. I needed guidance.

What did you and Lori do together?

Many, many things. Overall, to get clear in my mind what I offered and really what I wanted in a work environment. Every week was another epiphany after another. One of my favorites was the "knowing your core values". Having had some experience on this subject I was all ready to dive-in. Core Values is key. Knowing your core values. 

Lori makes it so easy to pinpoint. One time we were speaking about something else and we both realized...OMG...that is a core value for me. I hadn't written it down before, but discovered later that if ever a core value fit was the one I mentioned at that time.  Knowing that piece of information also answered a long standing question in my head.  One of the "why's" as to my constant upset with other places I had worked.

What were the results from working with Lori?

Many things. One is a great looking resume. I thought, wow, I look good and it was all from work I had already done elsewhere but didn't know how to say it or present it. Another is the clarity of knowing where I will feel good when I do work. What I really want and with the kind of people I really want to work with on a daily basis. This entire process is so valuable. The best money I ever spent and I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was only hoping it would be valuable and it really was valuable.< I know stuff and it has value and is marketable. Lori showed me those things and it gives me confidence.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lori delivers above and beyond. The highest quality of exchange, 'more than you expected.' I told my friends this over and over: 'I wish I had her 10-20-even 30 years ago.' Every one, and I mean EVERYONE, needs a Lori. Her understanding,patience, how she problem solves, putting things in simple terms, was mind blowing. I wish I could that well. I present a problem and she could turn it around and yes...another epiphany.

Lori, is worth every penny. It isn't about a title. It is about enjoying everyday doing work you love with people you like and are like minded. You'll know what you are looking for when you interview.  I never say this, but I will say it here. Lori is a major key into the rest of my life doing what I always wanted to do. That is: Being happy doing what I do, everyday. Something I have been saying for years. Allowing be Sherlock.  Finding my people. They are out there and now I know what I am looking for in that respect.


Sherlock Ganz, Los Angeles, CA