A quick search on Reddit for ‘job search burnout’ and you’ll find countless threads with reoccurring comments like:
“After months of job searching and almost 150 resumes and cover letters sent…I was burned out.”
“At my lowest point, I just kept shotgunning and not expecting anything.”
“I went for sheer volume, sending out just my CV/resume to dozens of companies a day without even reading the job description. After 200+ applications, I got three interviews.”
If you can relate and your mental health is declining because of this defeating process, Erik Harbison, veteran marketer, co-founder of The Marketing Help, and UVM digital marketing certificate program lead instructor, wants you to know there is a better way.
“It pains me when I hear people say, ‘I sent out 100 resumes last month, and nothing happened.’ That burned a lot of energy, not just physical energy but emotional energy,” Harbison reflected. “With the energy it took them to send out 100 resumes, they could have followed this process instead, connected with 30 companies, and gotten probably five good conversations.”
First, Change Your Mindset to Prevent Job Search Burnout
Harbison says the approach to avoiding job search burnout happens in two phases. The first is to change your mindset. Instead of mass emailing your resume, get more selective and take control.
Don’t ‘Spray and Pray,’ Use This Process Instead
Harbison says marketing plans aren’t just for products. When you’re selling yourself to prospective employers, you need a marketing plan too.
“You want to control your actions so that you’re not getting burned out because the spray and pray is not a recipe for success,” Harbison said. “When you make a plan, you’ve given yourself structure, focus, and ideally milestones to achieve.”
Here are the three steps to creating a thoughtful marketing plan for your job search.
1. Prioritize your six career factors
Rank the six career factors below in order of importance and define what they mean to you.
- Company culture: What company culture and values are important to you?
- Work-life balance: How many hours per work do you want to work?
- Location: Do you want to work remotely? In an office? In a specific state?
- Salary: What is your minimum salary requirement?
- Title: What level role do you want? For example, a specialist, manager, or director.
- Challenge: Do you want to be surrounded by experts or drive innovation and new ideas yourself?
2. Create a list of 10 companies that are a fit with your top 3 career factors
Instead of cruising Zip Recruiter or Indeed for jobs, selectively search for ten companies that fit your top three career factors by doing research.
“If company culture, challenge, and location are your top three important things, and you’re looking for a social media management role, you’re going to Google ‘top remote social media agencies 2022.’”
3. Engage and connect with those companies
In four steps, you can land conversations and a job at one of the ten companies you selected.
- Research: Verify that each company meets your three factors. If not, select a new one.
- Engage on LinkedIn: Like and comment on each company’s content and choose 3-5 employees at each company to engage with too.
- Message employees via email or LinkedIn: Customize your message with Harbison’s tips below.
- Show massive value: Ask for a 15-minute meeting and show value.
How to Do Cold Emails Effectively
Harbison says people often get hung up on sending an email or message because they think no one will respond to cold outreach.
“But it shouldn’t be a cold email because you’re engaging with their content, so it’s passively or sublimely on their radar,” Harbison said.
When reaching out, Harbison says it’s vital to establish a connection, whether it’s the university you both went to, the type of roles you’ve shared, or the type of work you both do.
“When someone sees you’ve done research on their background, and you call out something specific that will get their attention initially. Then you need to provide something of value,” Harbison said. “Be proactive and audit their client’s social media account and suggest some things you would change for them, for example.”
Harbison says you can also provide a social media calendar you built in a prior role or other pieces of work you’ve done. Then, if the opportunity presents itself, ask for a 15-minute meeting using a script like this: I’ve researched agencies with solid values and outstanding leadership, and your company is always coming up in my research. I would love to learn more about what it’s like to work there.
Have a Career Coach Walk You Through the Process
Another way to show value is by showcasing your commitment to staying ahead of the trends. When you enroll in any of UVM’s digital marketing certificate programs, you demonstrate you can provide leading expertise. You also get free, 5-week, online, and interactive Career Coaching to boost job search skills and confidence.