7 Ways to Ward Off Job Search Depression

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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: On average, it takes 43 days for a job seeker to find a new job. I’m sure many would agree that is a less than ideal time frame. And, of course, depending on a person’s industry, the overall economy, and a number of other factors, it can sometimes take job seekers much, much longer to find a new gig.

These slow-going, seemingly endless job searches can really take a toll on a person’s mood. So, we asked the experts: How can people combat job search depression, even when things seem bleakest?

Nancy1. Reflect on How Much You’ve Done

Write down everything you did last week to try and find a job – every email, every phone call, every article read. When you’re finished, do the same for the week before. Reflect on how much you’ve done and give yourself a well-earned pat on the back.

Remember that you only need one job – not three offers, just one. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

Nancy Halpern, KNH Associates  

Cheryl2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Being around positive people will help you be positive yourself. Isolating yourself or associating with negative people will only breed negativity. Positive people can help you look on the bright side of things and give you encouragement when you need it.

Cheryl E. Palmer, Call to Career  

dan3. Create an Action Plan (and Stick to It)

Having actions to take weekly and daily can help you keep your momentum, and you will actually feel like you’re making progress. Checking off tasks on a list helps you feel accomplished.

Dan Cumberland, The Meaning Movement  

ryan4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

There is no shame in being unemployed. The more people who know about your search, the better your chances of finding a new career.

Ryan Guina, The Military Wallet  

Julie5. Spend Some Time Helping Others

One way to combat job search depression is to get out and help someone else. A way to do that while also helping yourself is to volunteer for an organization where you’ll have access to CEOs and others at high levels in their careers, such as a golf tournament or gala. Volunteer to be in a position where you are more visible, as opposed to stuffing gift baskets in a back room. One of my clients volunteered to drive celebs around in a golf cart. He got to know them and they could see his potential through his actions, not a resume.

Julie Austin, Fun Job Fairs  

Goulston6. Solicit Feedback

If and whenever you get rejected, do your best to see if you can find out why. As difficult as this might be, you will not only learn things you can improve, but you will also feel increased self-respect for having the courage to do that in the face of feeling down.

Mark Goulston, MarkGoulston.com  

lauren7. Remember: You Are Not Your Job

I can’t emphasize this enough. Your identity and sense of self-worth shouldn’t be contingent on whether or not someone is paying you. Yes, being productive and contributing and being able to put food on the table are critical to feeling good about yourself, but keep it in perspective. Your employment status shouldn’t determine your identity.

Lauren McAdams, Resume Companion  

By Recruiter Q&A