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Keeping your spirits up while job searching

In times of economic downturn in may take longer to find a job. Job searching over an extended period can be a demoralising process as inevitably you may have to deal with many job application rejections before achieving your goal.

The following tips are designed to help you maintain your confidence and wellbeing:

  • While searching and applying for jobs can take up a lot of your time don't let it take over your whole life.
  • Engage in activities which could expand your skills and value as a job applicant-e.g. any activity which is exercising your people skills, organising ability or leadership can be presented as valuable as part of your resume.
  • Try not to ruminate (go over repeatedly in your mind) on the difficulty in getting a job, or any other unpleasant preoccupation, as this has been shown to increase risk of depression. Keep busy and distract yourself from unproductive thinking.
  • Find activities which give your life meaning, where you feel useful or competent e.g. community service, projects that you may have wanted to do but never had the time.
  • Physical exercise has scientifically proven health benefits. It is great for stress reduction and lifting mood if you are mildly depressed. Think about what sort of exercise you would enjoy and what is practicable and get started.
  • Keep socially active. People often withdraw when they feel down but this tends to make matters worse.
  • If you are feeling stressed you might like to join one of the many meditation or yoga classes offered in the community. Meditation CDs are also readily available for purchase or to borrow from libraries.
  • Watch that you alcohol consumption does not increase as heavy use can make it harder to feel motivated and while relaxing in the short term can lower mood the next day.

What are the possible indicators of anxiety?

  • Frequent worrying
  • Difficulty unwinding
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Noticing breathing difficulties
  • Notice heart beating fast in the absence of physical activity
  • Increase in physical ailments such as stomach and head aches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased muscular tension

Possible indicators of depression

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Lowered self esteem
  • Changes in sleep pattern
  • Change in appetite and weight
  • Loss of motivation
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Increase in pains and ailments
  • Poor concentration and memory.

If you've noticed a change in anxiety and low mood which has persisted for at least several days it may be worth consulting a professional such as a university counsellor if you are a UTS student, or a GP, private psychologist or your local Community Mental Health Service.

Lots of useful advice on job searching can be found at the Careers Service.