On the fifth entry of The Link Up with Latesha, our incredible host Latesha Byrd, founder of Byrd Career Consulting, touches on the subject of job search fatigue. Is it a real thing? The answer is yes. She shares a handful of helpful tips to keep your stamina up while job searching and more.
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Latesha: What’s up, everyone? Welcome to The Link Up with Latesha. I am your host Latesha Byrd, and this podcast is for young professionals that need some real deal advice, tips, and resources to navigate corporate America and dominate their career. So if you’re looking to upgrade your brand, get the knowledge you need to level up professionally for your future, you are in the right place. I’m here with Living Corporate, and today we’re talking all about job search fatigue. Is it a real thing? The answer is yes. Job search fatigue is real – so, so, so real. So I want to give you all some tips on how to keep your stamina up during the job search. Some of you may be in the midst of looking for a job right now, and I’m sure you may be ti-red. After filling out 100 job applications, you finally get that one interview–and yes, it may take 100+ applications to get that one interview. And then check this out – by the time you finally get that interview, you’re already worn down and tired and have no energy for the freaking interview. [laughs] Has anyone been there before? I know that I have. So job search fatigue is most definitely a real thing, and unfortunately it happens to the best of us. You can be extremely educated, qualified, great skill set, and still have to put in application on top of application on top of application just to get one interview. I really, really wish that this process was easier for all of us, but I think it is important to find healthy ways to cope with handling the job search and to understand that for some of us it takes a shorter time to find a job and for others it takes longer. As a career coach, I’ve had clients that have landed jobs in just a couple weeks to one month to even six months. So the first thing that I want you all to think about, especially if you are looking at jobs or applying to jobs right now, is identify what’s causing that fatigue. Where is it coming from? Can you pinpoint the issue? Maybe, just maybe, it’s the time of day you’re applying. You know, if you’re working a 9-to-5, and you come home from work and you just jump right into applying for jobs, you’re probably tired from work and not really taking a break from getting off of work to going home and relaxing a bit before jumping into it. Or are you laying in bed, you know, up until midnight, 1:00, 2:00 in the morning, just scrolling the job boards on your phone? So that’s something to think about. What is the time of day that you’re applying? Can you maybe apply to jobs before you go to work? Or maybe, you know, during your lunch break. Not at your desk. [laughs] I know how some of y’all do. Y’all be right at the office, at your desk, applying to jobs. [laughs] Maybe you’re spending too much time. Maybe you’re spending too much time applying to jobs. Yes, there is a thing as spending too much time applying to jobs. I’ll talk about that in just a few moments. Maybe you’re getting a lot of no’s, you know? Maybe you’re getting really discouraged and that’s what’s causing that fatigue. You’re getting no after no. Sometimes you’re not hearing anything back, or maybe you’re hearing back from a job you applied to 2,000 years ago, right? And that can be extremely disheartening and discouraging. So I want to give you all some tips, just a few tips, on how to make this process just a little more easier. The first thing you want to do is you want to get organized in your job search. So when you’re ready to start looking for jobs, when you have decided “You know what? I’m tired of this job that I have right now. I’m ready for something new, so let’s do this thing,” what is the first thing you do? Is the first thing you do go on these job boards and start looking at jobs and putting in applications? No. [laughs] The answer is no. You have to get organized first. When I say get organized first, I mean making sure you have the basics, right? Like, the basics that you have to submit for your application. That is your resume. If you need a cover letter–I do recommend cover letters as a career coach. It doesn’t hurt to include one. They’re not going to not give you the job if you don’t include a cover letter, but most definitely the resume. You’ll need to make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated, and you need to have an elevator speech, or what I like to call your career brand, identity, or story. Who are you? What about your experience makes you stick out amongst all the other candidates that are likely applying to the same job as you? But this is the most important thing you can do before you really jump right into the job search – know what jobs you actually want to apply to, and get specific. Get specific. For example, if you are in the, you know, finance industry, there is a million to one different types of jobs that fall under finance. [laughs] So it’s important to know specifically what type of jobs that you’re interested in, because if you just put in the keyword search “finance jobs,” okay, you’re gonna be getting a little bit of everything. So can you get more specific? Financial analyst. Maybe there’s a specific type of financial analyst. Maybe you want to do financial planning, financial reporting. So it’s important to think specifically about those job titles and those key words that you want to search for. If you want to even get more specific, maybe there’s specific industries that you want to focus on. So if you can narrow it down, it’s going to be super important. And another example is if you’re in HR, there’s a million in one jobs in HR as well. So do you want to be an HR generalist? Do you want to be in diversity, inclusion, and equity? Do you want to mostly focus on compensation and benefits? You know, these are things that are really important to know. How specific can you get? So once you get organized, you want to stay organized. What I mean by that is keeping up with your job search, with the jobs you’re applying to, keeping track of your progress. One thing that I have my clients utilize during their job search is a job search tracker. Essentially, that is a spreadsheet–who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet? [laughs] A job search tracker is a spreadsheet–or maybe you could use, you know, Google Docs or Microsoft Word or, you know, just something that will help you to keep up with the jobs you’re applying to. The type of information that you will want to keep up with is the job title, the company name, the date you applied. You need to actually save the job description down, you know, like, in your own files. Copy and paste it into a Google Doc, a Microsoft Word document or something. Don’t just bookmark the job description, because–and I may have mentioned this already, but what could happen is–let’s say, you know, a company’s only taking up to 100 applicants. Once they get that 100 applicants, they may close the job board and the job posting is down. So make sure you save it in a separate–in a separate file or folder for yourself. Anyways, in that job search tracker you’ll have company, job title, date you applied. If you know the recruiter’s contact information, keep up with that as much as possible, because what you don’t want to happen is the recruiter calls you and says, “Hey, Joe. You know, I’m a recruiter with Such-and-such, and we’re calling you about this job that you applied to,” and then you’ve already applied to, like, 50+ jobs in the past day, so you may be on the phone like, “Uh, wait… who is this? What company? Can you tell me the job again?” [laughs] Right? That is definitely a turn-off to a recruiter. I’m a former recruiter, so I know. And that could be a sign of lack of interest if you don’t remember. And I get it. Sometimes we’re just out here applying to jobs because we just need a job, but you do definitely want to stay organized. You know, the other thing that you’ll want to keep up with is your contacts, your relationships. Think about who’s in your network, and go directly to the decision-makers, recruiters, the hiring managers, folks in HR that maybe know the recruiter. Or if you have a good referral at a company, that’s great as well, but definitely start to keep track of, who you’re talking to, what company they work for, what they do. Did they say they would put you in touch directly with someone? Do you need to follow up with them in a week or in a couple of weeks? The accountability is on you. It’s not on your referral. So you definitely want to just know who you’re talking to when you’re talking to them and keep up with when you need to reach out and follow up again. You know, maybe you could include a reminder on your calendar to say, “Okay, let me make sure I touch base with Such-and-such at this company on this day.” Put it in your calendar, right? So after you stay organized, or as you continue to stay organized, I want to talk about utilizing job boards. You don’t need to use 10 different job boards. I promise you they may all have the same jobs. If you see that you’re looking at the same jobs over and over and over again, it could be a few different things. Do you need to look at Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Glassdoor, all of these sites? Do you need to look at all of them, or can you narrow it down to maybe two or three job boards? My personal favorite–well, I have two personal favorites, but my first personal favorite is Google. This is a new job board tool that they rolled out maybe just over a couple of years, where you can actually search in your Google Search bar the job title, the city, and it essentially will pull jobs from various job boards, that way you’re not spending all of your time looking at multiple job boards. Google’s great, and of course I love, love, love LinkedIn, because on LinkedIn it’s going to connect you or show you who you can connect with who works at that company. So now that we’ve talked about utilizing the job boards, let’s talk about alerts. Do you need to set up daily alerts, or do you need to set up weekly alerts? I promise you that these jobs are not going to grow legs and run away. Setting up daily alerts, especially if you’re using multiple job boards, can be a little bit overwhelming, so maybe you set up daily alerts on just one or two job boards and maybe weekly on another, just to make sure that you’re not missing anything. But just be mindful of that. The other thing with job boards is that you can search usually by two methods. You can search by relevance, and you can also search by date posted. If you find yourselves seeing the same jobs over and over and over again, maybe change your search from relevance to actually date posted. Depending on the job board that you’re looking at, you can also search by jobs posted in the last 24 hours or in the last 48 hours. So that’s something to think about. Next is find a hobby or launch a side project or learn a new skill. Just do something else outside of solely searching for jobs, or you will drive yourself crazy. It is important to have balance in this process, so find something that you actually enjoy doing that will allow you to take your mind off of the search just for a little bit, maybe even if it’s volunteering. And get off of the computer. Go meet some folks in person. Do you ever sit in the house too long? I know that I do that, especially being an entrepreneur where I can work from wherever I want and I don’t feel like going into the office. I may work from home three or four days in a row, and then I start to feel crazy because I need to be around people or I need some sunlight. [laughs] So get off the computer. Go meet folks in person. Get out of the house. Set boundaries with yourself. Give yourself certain times to apply to jobs. You don’t need to look at jobs every second of the hour, and you can become obsessed with this to a point where it is unhealthy. Maybe there are certain locations in your home that you do not search for jobs in. I know for me I try really hard–[laughs] key word is try, but I try really hard to not work if I’m dead. You know, so when I get up, I make my bed, and–especially when I’m working from home, you know, I’ll get dressed. I’ll sit at my desk or at my table, and that is where I will work. So definitely set those boundaries with yourself. And then most importantly here is days. Take some days off. Like I said, these jobs aren’t growing legs and running away from you. I guarantee you if you take one day off, even two or three days off, you won’t be missing out on a job. Now, if a company is really posting a job and they take it down in 24 hours or in 48 hours, that probably wasn’t the best job for you, but I promise you most of these companies out here are not putting jobs up that quick and taking them down. The only time where I’ve seen where companies have put up a job like that is because they have to do it for compliance reasonings and they may already know who they actually want to give the role to. So set those boundaries with yourself, as well as with those days. Make sure you take mental health days. Give yourself time to recharge, re-energize, refresh. Don’t rush the process or stress yourself out. I promise you your job is coming, and when that job comes, you will know. So please be patient, be strategic, and–most importantly–stay positive. So that is all I have for today. Hope you all enjoyed it. If there’s ever anything that you want me to talk about on here, from anything–career development, professional development, personal branding-related, feel free to reach out to me. You can find me on social media at @Latesha_Byrd. That is L-A-T-E-S-H-A underscore Byrd. Well, thank you all, and again, this is The Link Up with Latesha and with Living Corporate. We’ll see you next time. Thanks.