How to avoid job search burnout

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    • 24th September 2019

    If you're working in design or marketing (or thinking of doing so) now is a really exciting time for these industries! The UK's design sector grew by 8% last year, while the advertising and marketing sector grew by 9.5%. But if you're on the job hunt in these sectors, it's easy to lose your motivation in the process.

    Job search burnout is a common problem when you’re looking for a job. A string of rejections can tank your motivation, and it’s often tough to pull yourself out of a vicious cycle when you’re stuck in the middle of it.

    Applying for—and failing to get—jobs can devolve into a vicious cycle of hope and rejection, which can have a big impact on your wellbeing. You can beat this burnout by taking a look at our top tips, inspired by our experience as a graphic design recruitment agency in Leeds.

    Focus on quality over quantity

    Avoid taking a cookie-cutter approach to your CV writing.

    Sending the same CV out to lots of different employers might seem like a good strategy. It makes sense to cover all your bases, right? But this isn’t always the best way to get the job you’re after. You need to tailor each CV to a job’s specific requirements; by failing to do this, you’re expending lots of energy for little reward. Getting stuck into three applications is better than sending out the same, cookie-cutter CV en masse.

    It does make sense to apply for a few different jobs at once. But the best approach is to put your time and effort into a few job applications that fit your goals. Try setting yourself a target number of applications to complete, and sticking closely to it.

    Remember the other side of the coin

    Before you apply for a job, think about your potential employer. Try putting yourself in their shoes and carefully going over the job spec. Ask yourself what skills and experience you’d need to see from the applicant, and if you have them.

    If you don’t think you have these things—or your CV doesn’t show this—you might need to have another crack at it. By making sure you can prove your worth, you’ll be ticking off all the things the application demands. The flipside of this, obviously, is that omitting the right evidence may cost you an interview.

    Keep your eyes on the prize

    Do you have a clear idea of what you actually want from a job? If you feel like you’re casting too wide a net with your applications, try taking a step back and writing down your career goals. By firming up your ambitions, you can better understand why you want a job, and if it’s actually right for you.

    It’s possible that the jobs you’re applying for aren’t a perfect fit for your career goals. But it’s okay to see a job as one step on a longer journey towards what you really want. The point is to always have a clear image of your target; by doing this, you increase your chances of hitting it.

    Take care of yourself

    Hanging out with friends and family is a great way to keep your spirits up.

    Job hunts are almost always stressful, and there comes a point when your stress levels are counterintuitive to your efforts. That’s why it’s important to make time for your wellbeing on a regular basis.

    It’s vital that you don’t isolate yourself during a job hunt. Meeting up with friends and family helps prevent low mood, and provides a good source of support. Try combining this with exercise, too; it aids your physical health, and it’s another opportunity to socialise!

    …Or take a step back

    Another good strategy is to take time away from the job hunt altogether for a bit. Spending hours on the job hunt after work is a surefire way to compound your stress. Try limiting your job searches to weekends or other low-stress times.

    Don’t be afraid to take the odd day off from job hunts, either. Spend the time doing whatever makes you happy, and give yourself the chance to fully recharge.

    Always remember: the job you want is out there, even if it doesn’t always seem to be! Don’t beat yourself up if it’s taking a while to find it. The best things in life often take some time to achieve.

    Maintain your motivation

    If you’re not in work at the moment, it’s easy to let mundane daily routines (or lack thereof) erode your motivation. A good way to combat this is to make your job hunt a routine. Do it at a set time for a set duration on a regular basis, to ensure you don’t lose sight of your wider ambitions.

    Another way to stay motivated is volunteering for an internship at a Leeds agency you’re interested in. As well as getting a better sense of what the agency is like, it shows employers you’re eager to keep working.

    You might also want to consider volunteer work for good causes. There’s plenty of different options, but something as simple as working in a charity shop can help maintain your drive and discipline. If you’re thinking of changing careers, volunteering in something related to your sector shows you’re serious about this new direction.

    Graphic design job burnout

    Consider putting your portfolio online for ease of use.

    While the above tips apply to all job searches, graphic design job applicants have unique challenges to think about.

    Avoid portfolio burnout

    It’s very important that you don’t lose confidence in your skills. This can easily happen if you think your portfolio is getting repetitive, or you’ve been assembling portfolios for some time as part of the job hunt.

    One remedy is to consider other ways of showing what you can do. Online portfolios are a very popular option at the moment. They’re easier to assemble than physical versions, and you can tailor work to different employers by sending them different links.

    Crucially, remember that not everything you create has to be for work! Make sure to add the occasional just-for-fun design or personal project to your portfolio; this is a simple way to demonstrate your passion for design. You can, of course, post this work on your social media channels as well.

    Avoid criticism burnout

    It’s easy (if clichéd) to say creative professionals need a thick skin when it comes to criticism. But let’s not forget that we’re only human. Even if you’ve got skin like a rhinoceros, it’s easy to let criticism get to you if you’re getting rejected a lot.

    Try asking friends or past colleagues for constructive criticism on your efforts. Good critiques don’t just say if something is good or bad; they learn what you want to achieve and help you work towards that. It’s likely that someone you know well can make criticism a more positive experience.

    You can also take the pressure off with some just-for-fun design challenges. Check out Twitter accounts such as One Minute Briefs for quick, no-pressure bursts of inspiration. We at Gloss also run design competitions; these are ideal for boosting your ego and reaffirming your skills. A win also looks great on any job application.

    Get back into nature

    We all benefit from getting away from our screens for a bit, especially if we’re working in a creative role. Getting out and about in the fresh air—and enjoying nature—is an excellent way to keep your stress levels low. Get into the habit of going for a walk outside at lunchtime, or even first thing in the morning.

    Talk to graphic designers near you

    Networking is a great way to speed up the job search, but it’s also a way to share experiences with people in your own profession. You can stay in the loop with graphic design trends by going to networking events specifically for graphic design. If you’re struggling to find people to talk to, check out our previous article about The Best LinkedIn Groups For Creative Professionals. It’ll show you how to benefit from one of the strongest business networking sites.

    Feel the burn? Heal the burn!

    Finding a job doesn’t have to be a solo process.

    The main reasons we suffer from job search burnout are taking too broad an approach, and failing to unwind afterwards. It’s best to take a thoughtful approach to a few specific applications, get feedback from people you trust, and make time for your own interests and wellbeing.

    If you’re looking for a little more help with your job, it’s worth finding a reliable recruitment partner. For Leeds professionals, a graphic design recruitment agency in Leeds is a great idea. Gloss Recruitment is an excellent choice for the job.

    Our agency brings more than a decade of experience to the table, and strong relationships are the key goal of all our staff. We make sure that we’re hearing your needs and aspirations, and we’ll help you through the entire job-hunting process from start to finish. By working with us as a partner, you’ll develop your skills, increase your confidence and find the job you’ve been looking for.

    Get the ball rolling today by sending us your CV. If you’d prefer to speak to us directly instead, you can give us a ring on 0870 3219788. Your next exciting role is closer than you think!