How not to get depressed during the job search?

CareerLunch Team
CareerLunch Team
4 min read

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Whether it’s your first job hunt or your hundredth, it seems impossible to avoid the inevitable sadness that comes with it. And no wonder! Ironically, job searching becomes a full-time job of its own, and an unpaid one as well. After painstakingly filling out multiple applications, tailoring your CV, writing letters of motivation on why they should choose you, and going through multiple interviews to only get an email saying “We thank you for your application. Unfortunately…”.

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That would even get the ultra-optimistic SpongeBob depressed. So, what do we do? We all are bound to change jobs and look for new opportunities; it’s an unavoidable part of life. Don’t worry! Luckily, we’ve got you covered! We will show you not only how to keep your cool but to actually enjoy the process and reap benefits along the way.

Reframing your point of view

First things first, it’s important to frame the situation in your mind correctly. Most of us view the recruiting process as a challenging and time-consuming process, which is fair. However, approaching the job hunt from a different angle will shift the power dynamic in your favor. Not only will you be able to control your attitude during the whole process, but also to stay sane during the drought period a.k.a. no new interesting positions or no callbacks after an interview. I know it sounds repetitive and easy on paper: “Just stay optimistic and everything will get going”, but research backs it up. David Burns M.D., a psychiatrist who graduated from Stanford University promoted cognitive behavioral therapy in his book “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy”. He states that “Your emotions follow your thoughts just as surely as baby ducks follow their mother. But the fact that the baby ducks follow faithfully along doesn’t prove that the mother knows where she is going!”

To simplify, letting yourself to fall into that pit of negative thoughts will inevitably drag you into a bad emotional state along with it. And as we all know, nothing good comes out of it. To avoid that, Burns suggests identifying the pattern of how your negative thoughts start to emerge. Therefore, when you’re aware of the pattern, you can battle that negativity with actions or thoughts that puts you back to a positive state. With time and practice, this will come to you naturally and you’ll be able to keep your cool and stay in a good mood.

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No expectations

As the old saying goes, “If you have no expectations, then you’ll never be disappointed”. Yet again, easier said than done. However, when you act upon having great expectations, you are bound to set yourself up for failure. By diversifying your choices, which means not putting all your eggs in one basket, you’ll be able to manage your expectations and handle rejection without getting upset. There are plenty of great opportunities, and therefore, ensure to you take advantage of them but not obsess over it. Don’t fixate on something specific. Keep your options and horizons open. And who knows, what exciting new opportunities you might discover!

Networking and the game of hide and seek

One word we are all much too familiar with in the professional world is “networking”. Although, it is a tiresome concept, it is crucially important. Most job positions are filled without even being published. It’s easier and faster to hire someone internally through friends or recommendations as trust and familiarity with the potential candidate’s skills and abilities play a crucial role.

Even if there are no positions currently available for you in a given company, doesn’t mean that the desired spot won’t open up soon that in the future there won’t be. Being on a company’s radar sets you far ahead any other candidate in the recruiting process, as you will be the next one to access the hidden opportunities. Therefore, start building relationships ASAP with the companies you’re interested in.

Yet again, easier said than done, right? But bear with me.

  • First, go on informational interviews with your companies of interest. This is a way to make connections and leave a good impression. Do your research in advance and ask the right questions. Find out whether the company’s culture fits your needs, if they value their workers and care for their growth. Who knows, maybe your dream company is not what you expected it to be, or the opposite, you’ll be reassured of your choice. One of the form of informational interviews out there is the informal lunch. A free platform like CareerLunch provides an opportunity to meet the potential employers relaxed and informal environment for informational interviews over a lunch.
  • Secondly, make authentic connections. Don’t bend over backwards to make a good impression but find commonalities and keep an upbeat attitude during your interaction. According to research done by Lauren Rivera of Northwestern University, likable people are 90% of the time hired over other candidates with similar background and skills. Image source:
  • Thirdly, seek connections everywhere. Maybe there is a guest lecturer or a seminar from a company you’re interested in, you crossed paths with one of the employees in a coffeeshop or you have friends in common, don’t forget to reach out and leave a pleasant impression. It might just play in your favor; you can gain a new friend or a position!


Approaching your job search positively and making meaningful connections along the way actually has an upside effect of making the whole process not seem so bad – you might actually find yourself enjoying it. And while you continue the experience and grow your network, it will be evident when you speak to people that you are the type of person they might like to work with.