Self-Care and Support During the Job Search Process

Job searching is full of ups and downs – excitement, anxiety, joy, and also disappointment. We’ve collected some tips and strategies to help you take care of yourself during this time.

Pacing and Routines

You may be feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks you need to complete for each application or you may feel energized to apply for as many things as possible each day. It’s important to be systematic and approach this as if it were a large project.

Schedule time for yourself to focus on job searching, networking, and completing applications. Remember to set realistic goals for yourself and take breaks.

The job search process is a marathon, not a sprint. Pushing yourself too hard for too long could bring on burnout, so it’s important to be mindful of how you’re spending your time and making sure you have boundaries as well as flexibility build into your schedule.

Physical and Mental Health

If you’ve pulled an all-nighter or crammed for an exam, you know what a lack of rest can do to your body. During the job application process, make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep, eating and drinking regularly, and even getting in exercise to keep your mind and body functioning well.

Likewise, make sure that you are not using negative self-talk or being hard on yourself about the process. Inadequacy, self-doubt, and perfectionism can easily creep in during this time. Try to approach from a perspective of self-compassion. You are not the only person who has struggled with this process and know there is a wealth of support and resources for you. For more about those resources, see Building a Support Network, below.

You can also choose to incorporate mindfulness techniques, including meditation or breathing. If can be beneficial to stop and focus on something like body scanning or diaphragmatic breathing to cope with anxiety, tension, and fear.

If you are really struggling, don’t hesitate to contact the Center for Wellness and Counseling. They offer drop-in hours during the school year and also have connections to other local and virtual counseling support for you.

Manage Expectations & Celebrate Small Wins

As mentioned above, job searching can be overwhelming and can be a long, drawn-out process. Break things down into manageable pieces and celebrate when you can. Submitted a lengthy application or scheduled an interview? Treat yourself to something you enjoy.

Know that rejections are normal and that few people receive an offer right away. On average, a person will apply for between 21-80 jobs before they receive an offer. That’s a wide range and you may end up being on the lower end, but don’t be disheartened if it takes more time.

Dealing with Rejection

Rejections are inevitable – it’s a hard truth and can be very difficult to deal with, even for those who are seasoned from years in the workforce.

  • Allow yourself to feel your emotions and give yourself time: You’re allowed to feel upset, disappointed, frustrated, and whatever other myriad of feelings might be coming up for you. Take time to process them and don’t push yourself too hard to get back into the job hunt. It’s understandable that you’d be upset because it matters to you.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others or think there’s something wrong with you: You may never know why you were rejected from a job – unless you’re working with a recruiter, it may also be difficult to get feedback about your application. All you can do is put your best self forward and, if you believe you have opportunity to grow, focus on those areas. It doesn’t make you any less of a person for not landing a certain role.
  • Frame as a learning experience: Reframing can help you move on from a difficult rejection. Thinking of it as a learning moment or a opportunity to grow endurance and resilience may help you move on to the next opportunity. This will not be the last time you experience rejection, but it can help you grow and develop your mechanisms for coping with it.

Building a Support Network

Remember that you are not alone in your job search – you have a network and community of people on whom you can rely on and connect with for support. If you’re new to networking, check out our resources here.

A little rusty on networking? Remember that people such as your friends and peers, professors, staff members (such as folks from the Strommen Center), family, employers you’ve connected with, mentors, and alumni are all people who can help you during this time. Consider:

  • What are your support needs? Do you need information or feedback? Do you need emotional support to deal with discouragement or connections who know of opportunities?
  • Start with your existing network and build out. Show your gratitude for their help and use them for referrals, recommendations, introductions, and endorsements.
  • Plan how you want to expand your network. Do you have a lot of people with information but not emotional support? Are you lacking information in your industry? You can connect with people online or in person, through support groups – or building your own support group, and through networking groups.
  • Diversify your network: You never know who might be a good person to know or where they might pop up, so do things you enjoy, attend conferences, and other social events. Just because someone works in a different career path than you are planning on doesn’t mean they don’t have knowledge or perspectives that might be helpful to you.


HERC Jobs: Self-Care Strategies for Job Seekers

Welcome to the Jungle: Self-Care Tips for Job Seekers

GCF Global – Overcoming Professional Rejection

Harvard Business Review – Rejection Doesn’t Have to Sting