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How To Deal With Burnout From Job Applications, According To A Her Campus Editor

Today, we’re talking about how to get a job after college. In Ask An Editor, Her Campus Editors answer readers’ questions about how to be a human. This month, Her Campus’s Deputy Editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, hosts office hours. 

Dear Editor,​

How do I manage applying to jobs without feeling burned out?


I Hope This Email Finds You Unwell

Dear I hope This Email Finds You Unwell,

Don’t get it twisted: Applying to jobs is a full-time job in and of itself, and anyone who disagrees with me can… I don’t know. Find their TikToks under review or something? Anyway, if you’re feeling emotionally and physically exhausted after applying to and interviewing for roles to no avail, day in and day out, you are 100% justified in how you feel. And if someone in your life is making you feel like you could be doing more, you should consider taking them off of your 2022 vision board — if you know what I mean.

First of all, writing cover letter after cover letter, tweaking your resumé to the specifications of each role, then proceeding to convince someone they should “allow” you to work for them is completely taxing. Then there’s the psychological toll that rejection takes on the psyche, one that I know all too well. As a writer, I heard the word “no” hundreds of times before I received the “yes” that kick started my career — and that’s when I would hear back at all. The lack of validation totally ate away at my self-esteem, and the combination of the two sensations left me feeling totally and utterly burned out to a crisp.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a few hacks to help me deal with the impact of burnout (an experience I’ve written about several times). Here are a few tips that I wish I’d known when I was first starting out in the industry. Hopefully, they’ll help you out, too — but, above all else, I want you to know that you’re not alone. 

You Are Not Your Job

Repeat after me: You are not what you do. Your self-worth cannot be equated to the product of your labor. In 2022, we’re separating the personal from the professional. Thanks to the great resignation, the 9-5 is dying out and the concept of the dream job is losing its appeal. I know what you’re thinking. Iman, that’s nice, but how is that going to help me deal with burnout? Because, Reader, you are going to remind yourself that, while the job application process is draining, you are already a complete and valuable person with or without a job. In order to do so, make sure to regularly engage in activities that make you feel the most like yourself, whether that’s spending time with your sister, drawing in a sketchbook, or streaming on Twitch. I like to play my guitar and sing my wee heart out. A little gift for you, from you. 

Take PTO From Applying To Jobs

Yup, you heard me right. If applying to jobs is, in fact, a job, to avoid feeling burned out, you have to give yourself boundaries. That means forcing yourself to sign off at 6:00 PM and doing something that serves you in your evenings. It could also mean waking up early to work out or write in a manifestation journal. Additionally, avoid doing any type of app work, whether that’s practicing your interview questions or prepping for a case study, on weekends. Use that time to sleep, catch up with loved ones, and engage in activities that actually serve you. You can’t do your best work if you aren’t your best self, and the same goes for when you’re applying to work. And don’t forget about staying hydrated, taking a hot girl walk mid-day, and eating plenty of snacks! 

Find A Mindfulness Practice

No, I’m not saying you need to spend 15 minutes a day meditating (although you totally can if, unlike me, your mind doesn’t immediately convince your bladder that you have to pee). But develop some sort of routine that draws you into the present moment and gives you perspective. That could mean writing down manifestations for the future, crafting a moodboard, or saying daily affirmations in the mirror. If you feel most intuitive when you do yoga or go for a run, have at it. Or maybe your body and mind is asking for an order of large fries in bed, with the new episode of Euphoria queued up. Don’t be afraid to be kind to yourself and take what you need. I know that’s easier said than done, but even taking a half an hour a day to do something nice for yourself can make a ginormous impact.  

For what it’s worth, Reader, every job I didn’t get really did pave the way for something so much better. I’m aware of the fact that what I just said sounds like a corny “adulting” line, but I don’t care because it’s actually true. Think of every rejection as the universe (or whatever you believe is out there) rerouting you to something better and every application round as an opportunity to grow stronger. 

And if you need to literally bury yourself in your bed and not talk to a single person for 24 hours in order to recharge, don’t hesitate to listen to your gut. 



Iman Hariri-Kia is a New York-based writer, author, and Her Campus Deputy Editor. A 2017 recipient of the Annabelle Bonner Medal and a nationally acclaimed journalist, she covers sex, relationships, identity, adolescence, and more. Her debut novel, A HUNDRED OTHER GIRLS, will be published in spring 2022.
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