You’ve been applying to job after job in your quest to work in medical sales, and so far, nothing has panned out. The job hunt can feel like a full-time job of its own, and do you know what comes with full-time work? Burnout.
When you’re updating your resume, writing cover letters, submitting applications, scrolling through LinkedIn, and sending networking emails, you can easily spend upwards of eight hours a day in front of the computer. All of that time and energy online — on top of the stress of living in a pandemic — can leave you feeling more drained than ever.
It’s important to recognize when you are suffering from job search burnout so that you can effectively combat it before it’s too late. Here’s how:
Remind yourself what’s out of your control
It’s easy to feel down on yourself when you’ve submitted 50 or 100 job applications, but it’s important to remember that there is a lot more competition right now than there used to be. With the August unemployment rate being at 8.4%, you are competing with all of the medical sales reps who lost their jobs earlier this year.
It’s hard to feel optimistic in an environment like this. Keep your spirits up by reminding yourself that it’s not your fault. Just because you haven’t landed a job yet, it doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified for your goals. There are so many other outside factors impacting the market right now. You just need to keep going!
Set a schedule and stick to it
Spending every waking hour thinking about applications you’ve submitted or connections to reach out to is an easy way to find yourself suffering from job search burnout. Instead, you need to figure out a schedule for conducting your job search efforts throughout the week.
This could mean you work from 9 to 5 as if you were in the office. But don’t feel like you have to follow a traditional schedule. You could set aside a few hours every afternoon or evening. Or maybe you only conduct your search on weekends.
Whatever the case, it’s important to shut your laptop or log off LinkedIn once your designated time is over. And try not to dwell on the pending applications in between sessions. Come back fresh the next day.
Take breaks during the day and time off
Your job search schedule must also include time off. This means you need to take breaks during your day, and you need to take days off.
Just as if you were working full-time, step away from the computer for at least 15 minutes every few hours. Take walks outside, or even just around the house. This will help you come back to your desk refreshed and ready for more.
Also, assign two days out of your week when you will not look at or think about your job search. Otherwise, you’ll overwork yourself and burn out faster. Like the short breaks, a day or two off will allow you to return to your mission revitalized and ready to go.
Be honest with your network
If you’re looking for a new job because you lost your last one, it can sometimes feel embarrassing to ask the people in your network for help. It’s hard to admit when you’re vulnerable and in need of work. But reaching out to your network is one of the best things you can do to avoid job search burnout.
Send emails to your family, friends, and other medical sales reps you know — and be honest. Let them know you are looking for new opportunities, and you’d love any leads they might have.
Once you send these messages, you’ve alleviated some of the heavy lifting from your workload. You might be surprised by how many of your connections are willing to provide what support they can. It feels good to help other people, especially when the world is in a crisis.
Seek out informational interviews
Your primary goal right now, of course, is to land as many job interviews as you can. But job interviews should not be the only thing on your mind. Use this time to connect and engage with the people in your network, learn about their experiences, and gain information about the industry.
An informational interview is great because it takes the pressure off you. Instead of stressing about impressing the interviewer, you can simply take the time to learn from each other. For as many applications as you submit, you should spend an equal amount of time seeking informational interviews.
Look for medical sales reps who are secondary connections with you on LinkedIn, and ask your mutual friend to introduce you. By spending half of your time focused on learning and connecting, your day will feel more balanced. Plus, you might make a connection that will pay off later.
Celebrate small wins
It’s hard to celebrate any positives when you receive rejection after rejection. But, to avoid job search burnout, it’s crucial to take note of the small wins.
What counts as winning if you didn’t land the job? Landing an interview in the first place. Meeting someone at a company that interests you. A friend referring you for a job opening.
All of these moments mean that you’re doing something right. They are signs that you’re on the right track. Even if a job is not the right fit, these wins are signs that you need to keep going. Eventually, you will find a job for which you are the best candidate. It just takes time.