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While overall unemployment rates are trending down from a high of nearly 15 percent in April 2020,[1] long-term unemployment – people who have been out of work more than 6 months – remains high.[2] 

Recently a graphic design professional shared about her own six-month job search that included hundreds of rejection letters and countless interviews before finally being hired. Stories like this combined with national trends all indicate it’s taking longer than ‘normal’ to find work.

Then, add in the challenges of living in a global pandemic: balancing mental health with physical health and safety; adapting to partners, roommates, and kids working from home or doing distance learning; and having to pivot and adapt again and again. One thing quickly becomes clear – job search fatigue is real.

If you’re a job seeker in the COVID pandemic job market, consider three ways to combat stress and stay motivated:

1. Celebrate small wins.

Getting hired is the end goal, but don’t wait until then to celebrate. Set small, attainable weekly goals like the number of networking calls, LinkedIn outreach messages, jobs applications, or practice interviews. Track your results using sticky notes and a Kanban board or Trello. Celebrate achieving every win! Treat yourself to your favorite coffee drink or call a friend to join in the celebration. Finding what works best for you will ultimately get you closer to your end goal – a job offer.

2. Set boundaries.

Living in our 24/7/365 pandemic world with less separation between home and work makes it tempting to scour job boards multiple times a day.  But setting parameters may help you avoid burn out. Some candidates find it more effective to time box each task – networking, applying, searching, etc. Others schedule job searching time each day like a work meeting. Whatever your preferred method, take regular breaks away from the job boards to keep your mind engaged and recharged so you can present your best self when it is time to interview.

3. Learn something new.

While trying to land your next job, take time to build a new skill. Consider low or no-cost online trainings and webinars on trending skills in the market like data analytics or RPA/automation. Find a podcast on a topic that interests you. Or be bold and join a Meetup group in a completely new geographic location. Not only will you learn something new, but you will demonstrate your self-motivation and learning passion to a future hiring manager.

In the current COVID job market, be prepared to spend a little more time finding next job. But don’t get discouraged. Use these tips to increase your job search endurance until you land that next great job.


[1] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 13, 2020
[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2021


In the current COVID job market, be prepared to spend a little more time finding next job. But don’t get discouraged. Use these tips to increase your job search endurance until you land that next great job.

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