How to improve your mental health when looking for a job

Job hunting can be draining on your mental well-being. Here’s some tips on how to combat difficulties you might find looking for a new post.

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Searching for a new job is often lengthy, complex and time-consuming, which, coupled with parental duties, can be extremely draining. The impact of these difficulties is sometimes felt beyond administrative headaches, with recent research conducted by RoleCatcher finding that managing the process of seeking new employment opportunities is having a detrimental impact on an individual’s mental wellbeing.

The survey of 500 job seekers across multiple sectors, age groups and locations revealed that 44% of job seekers agreed that the stress of looking for a new job negatively impacts their mental health. This can go on to have a detrimental impact on the success rate of an interview, with 51% of respondents stating that the stress of job hunting makes them feel that they aren’t bringing their best self to the process.

So how can working dads boost their mental health during the job search? James Fogg (pictured below), CEO and Founder of RoleCatcher, tells us more.

Make time and plan

Anticipating and planning for tasks that need to be done by a certain time can help. While being proactive is certainly essential, for this to work, you need to put some dedicated time aside that does not coincide with dad duties. Scheduling focus time when you know the kids will be in bed or with other childcare arrangements will help you feel more in control and, in turn, reduce job hunting stress levels.

Set realistic targets

The stress of job seeking can make all of your responsibilities feel heightened and sometimes even unmanageable, but instead of becoming discouraged, set yourself realistic goals to help break down and manage the job search. For example, set a goal to rework your CV one week and make a start on writing a compelling cover letter during the next. This will make the whole process much easier to manage and provide you with the all-important motivation you need to keep searching for the right employment opportunities.

Interview preparation

While it can be both stressful and anxiety-inducing to think about the interview – particularly with children around – the right preparation can help alleviate some of the stresses. Having information to hand around which roles you’ve applied to, when you last contacted them and easy-to-locate versions of your CV or cover letter will ensure you’re set for an interview, no matter what happens in the lead up to the conversation. I myself have had the misfortune to get an out-of-the-blue call from a business I’d applied to, but spent the first half of the conversation frantically trying to figure out what the role was I’d applied for and what details I’d shared with them.

rolecatcher mental health job search


Ultimately, organisation will be key in balancing the daily demands of parenthood and the pressures of searching for a new job. But post-it notes scattered across your desk or scribbled to do lists in the back of a notebook are not going to cut it. It’s a smart move to set online task reminders that alert you on deadlines, and it’s also a good idea for all of your documents to be saved in one easily accessible place, so when these handy reminders go off, you can respond efficiently.

With businesses increasingly using tech such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, you should be digitalising your job search at the very least or consider investing in a robust software that will streamline the whole process and make the job search as enjoyable as it should be during a time where there are so many opportunities.

Build a support network

Of course, having a support network around can be hugely valuable when it comes to bolstering your mental health while searching for a new job. Other dads in similar scenarios will know what you’re going through and it is important that we all share our experiences and what’s worked for us.

The impact that searching for a career is having on stress levels and, ultimately, applicants’ mental wellbeing, is definitely cause for concern. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The next step in your career should be a positive and exciting move that you look forward to. Things might not always go to plan, but controlling what you can will certainly help dads juggle home life, work and a career change.

Read more:

Could a degree apprenticeship work for you? One man’s story

Do you let your job define you and how healthy is it?

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