How to: Manage your mental health whilst jobseeking

There’s no doubt that looking for work can be stressful. 

Even if you’re an experienced jobseeker, knowing exactly how to apply for the perfect role can be a challenge. When you add to this the uncertainty around whether or not your CV has been successful, or, even just waiting to hear back from a recruiter, it’s easy to see how it could have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing.

To help you take the process one step at a time, here are some of our top tips on how to manage your mental health whilst jobseeking:


Manage your expectations 

Applied for a few roles, but still not heard back yet? Don’t panic.

It can often take up to six weeks to hear back from a recruiter after applying for a position. For some roles, the application process may take even longer. 

The biggest takeaway here is learning not to take it personally. Although it can often be easier said than done, taking an objective approach to jobseeking is an essential way of keeping your emotions in check. 

Unfortunately, we can’t always guarantee that every company will come back to you after sending your CV. But reminding yourself that the process can take longer than you’d expect is always a step worth taking. 

Why haven’t they called?

Eight ways you’re selling yourself short in your jobsearch


Be proactive 

Being patient doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive. 

Whilst it may seem easier to accept that an employer simply isn’t that into you, that might not necessarily be the case. And, even if it is, it doesn’t mean you still can’t gain valuable feedback from them. Whether your application has been successful or not.

To help put your mind at rest, we always recommend reaching out to a recruiter a few weeks after submitting your CV. Either by sending a very short email, or just a quick message on LinkedIn to ask if your application has been received. 

Even if you’ve been unsuccessful, you’ll be able to stop worrying about the situation and move on to the next opportunity. You’ll also have the possibility of finding out why they didn’t think you were right for the role – which could be an invaluable asset moving forward.

And with 82% of recruiters indicating that it reflects well on a candidate when they get back in touch, you might actually help yourself stand out just by taking the initiative. 

Four ways to follow up after an application

Interview thank you email template


Take a break 

It can be all too easy to think of jobseeking as a numbers game. Especially if you’ve been out of work for a while.

Firing off as many applications as possible may seem like a good approach to begin with. However, without taking the time to really work on each one, you’re only likely to get more frustrated by the lack of potential responses. Not to mention becoming burnt out by the whole process. 

Always try and take regular breaks throughout the day. Even just to get some fresh air, and a second wind before getting back to it. 

And instead of firing off as many applications as possible, really take the time to research each role you’re applying for – and try and tailor what you write to the job description. It may seem like you aren’t getting as much done, but trust us. 

Remember: it’s better to send one really well-written CV, than firing off hundreds of irrelevant ones. Especially when it comes to your mental health.  

Tailoring your CV: what you need to know


Ask for help 

Let’s face it: looking for work can be an incredibly isolating experience. 

However, no matter how down you may be feeling, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many of us have been in a similar situation, (possibly including your own family or friends). There are also many organisations out there who can help. 

Specifically from a mental health standpoint, Mind, the NHS, and the Samaritans have all got people available to talk to – any time, in any way that works for you. 

You could also visit your local Jobcentre, who can provide a wealth of advice. Especially when it comes to your financial situation, and things like Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Which could be invaluable for anyone struggling with the financial burden of unemployment.

And don’t be afraid to talk to people you know. There’s still a stigma attached to unemployment, which makes it difficult for many people to talk about. 

However, something as simple as asking someone to look at your CV and give you honest feedback could pay huge dividends. Even if it’s just getting your worries off your chest. 

How to: talk about mental health at work


Don’t give up

Finally, there can be a lot of doom and gloom when it comes to looking for work. Especially in the current climate.

With large numbers of people unemployed, and seemingly more competition out there than ever, it can be all too easy to feel like giving up before you even start. 

Don’t. Ever. Give. Up.

Jobseeking is a process that always takes time. But even when you’re at your lowest point, remember that every application you send is something you can learn from. Whether it’s knowing which jobs best suit your skills, or making small adjustments to your approach based on feedback gleaned from companies or close friends. 

Try and take every day as it comes, and remember that things will get better. Things can always get better.

How to: Deal with stress in an interview

How to: Deal with interview rejection


More mental health tips when looking for work:

  • Find a proper workspace (that isn’t your bed)
  • Take care of your physical health, as well as your mental health
  • Try and add structure to your day 
  • Set realistic goals each day (e.g. sending five well-written, tailored applications)
  • Take an online course to add to your skillset (and your confidence levels)
  • Celebrate small successes – even if it’s just getting some feedback, or being asked to your first interview
  • Don’t overthink gaps in your CV – but do deal with them in the right way
  • If you have any mental health concerns at all, don’t panic. Recruiters can’t ask about this at an interview, so you don’t need to disclose any details unless they’re absolutely necessary (and you’re comfortable to do so) 


Do you have any mental health tips for working from home? Let us know in the comments below, or message us on Twitter @reedcouk, and we’ll keep adding to this list. 


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