The importance of self-care when looking for jobs

Guest BloggerAdvice, Final Year, First Year, Second Year

Ever find yourself mentally drained after spending the whole day applying to jobs? Or after seeing yet another email of rejection? I don’t know about you, but I have definitely experienced ‘job hunt fatigue’ and I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. We all know that looking after our physical health is important, but looking after our mental health is even more so, because as cliché as it is; healthy mind = healthy body. So, I would like to share some tips that I have learnt along the way through placement hunting and now graduate job hunting that will hopefully help make your experience less taxing and overwhelming.

Be organised
I can’t stress this enough but organising your applications is a great way to ensure you are not overwhelmed with the volume of applications you are making. It also allows you to have all your information in one place that is easily accessible. Use excel or create a table on word document to track the different roles you have applied to, the date of application, the deadline, and the status of the application. You can be as creative as you wish with this and if you struggle to create your own there are many free templates you can find on the internet. This method personally helped me keep track of all my applications and avoid any confusion or mix up.

Set healthy boundaries
Just like everything else, try and maintain a balance between your work/life/job hunting. Have a routine in place and ensure you have a varied day to avoid burnout and repetition. I found that completing university work during the day and job hunting in the evenings is what suited me and my lifestyle. I also tried to avoid job hunting on the weekend as this was my dedicated free time where I liked to switch off. Everyone’s routine will be different so find what works best for you as there is no right or wrong answer. Alternate days between university work and job hunting or keep weekends for job hunting only – whatever it is, find your routine.

Take breaks
Taking breaks throughout your day and is extremely important and links in with setting healthy boundaries for yourself. I find that it is very easy to mix your leisure time with job hunting which is why it is important to know when to switch off. Spend time with friends, go for walks, exercise, mediate, or read – do whatever it is that relaxes you, but take the time out to do it. This will help you feel more energized, and you will likely be more focused when you go back to your applications.

Talk to someone and ask for help
Lastly, and most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help or talk to others. Whether that’s turning to your family and friends or the incredible staff in different departments within the university, there is never a downside to speaking to someone.

A lot of your peers will be in the same situation as you, going through the same thing, so talking to them is a great way to relieve stress and find comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Alternatively, you can book an appointment with the Careers and Placements team if you are in doubt or are struggling. From experience, I know how helpful the team is and if it wasn’t for their support, I would’ve found it difficult to navigate all the changes that took place with my placement when the pandemic first began.

Finally, Aston University has a fantastic counselling and mental wellbeing team that you can get in touch with if you find yourself stressed and overwhelmed with your job search.

I hope you find these tips helpful in making your experience less stressful. Different things will work for different people so try it out and see what works for you. Also, don’t be afraid to switch it up. Listen to yourself and what your mind and body needs. For example, the third point says not to mix leisure and job hunting, and while I did that for the most part, some days I found myself being most productive when I had a Netflix show on in the background. Like I said before, there is no right or wrong method but just ensure you are looking after yourself.

Good Luck!

Written by Krupaa Vaghela

Top photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash