Is It OK to Take a Break From Your Job Search?
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- Taking a break from job searching could benefit you in the long run.
- Treat completing job applications like a job in itself that needs breaks.
- Use your job searching break as a time to network, recharge, and reprioritize.
Looking for a job can be an all-consuming and exhausting task. You want to find the right fit, but the repetition of sending out applications can begin to wear you down. Whether you are working or unemployed, you can get burned out when searching for a new job.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2022, it takes an average of 19.5 weeks for someone unemployed to find a job. Sustaining a job search for that long at a high level might not be possible, whether you are working or not. Figuring out how to take a break from your job search may be the key to success, but you need to go about it the right way.
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Pros and Cons of Taking a Break
It allows you to reflect on your search so far and reevaluate. According to Michael Maniaci, employee experience and operations manager, "It is a good idea to take a break from a job search periodically to reevaluate what is important to you in a job and to reflect on what you have done in your search so far. Stepping back from the search can help a job-seeker better understand what is most important to them in a job or an employer."
You can use a break as a learning experience and a time for self-reflection. Doing so can help ensure you'll be in the right frame of mind to succeed when you start applying for jobs again.
It helps you gain perspective on other things. Even if you're not actively job searching, you can use this time to expand your network. Many opportunities come through LinkedIn and connecting with others. You can also use this time to learn a new skill or revise your resume.
Career Coach Michele Dye said, "If you've noticed that you're lacking specific requirements or knowledge, then spend some time learning to fill in any gaps that you have." Just because you're not actively searching and applying for jobs doesn't mean you won't still increase your chances of getting your next position.
You give your mind a break. No one can do something constantly. Your mind needs a break once in a while to refocus. Taking a break from job searching can give you some much-needed relief so that when you do come back to it, you come back fresh and ready to start again.
You may miss out on an opportunity. The riskiest part of taking a job search break is that you could miss out on a great opportunity if you're not paying attention. Your dream job could pop up, and you would never know it.
You have to start over. If you take a break, you may fall out of touch with all the connections that you made, and you may not be able to jump back in as easily. According to Maniaci, "A job search can build upon itself naturally, and it can be hard to get started after a break, so it is best to let the search results tell you when is the right time for a break." When you lose that momentum, it could pose a problem and cost you more time later on.
Your job search may be harder. When you take a break from job searching, other candidates could take your place. If you are unemployed and job searching, taking a more extended break can make it harder to find a job because you'll be out of work longer than other applicants.
Signs You Should Take a Break
You have lost your enthusiasm. If job searching is wearing you down and you are having difficulty getting excited about opportunities, it may be time for a break. You won't be able to convey your interest in a position if you can't find any excitement.
You don't know where to go from here. Skilled Trade Recruiter Stephanie Mattice said, "If you are feeling lost or unsure of what is right for you, please take some time to reflect on what your priorities are." Maybe you are applying to the wrong positions or need to update your resume.
You have stopped getting responses. If you have stopped getting responses to your resume or interview requests, it is a good idea to take a break and reevaluate your cover letter, resume, and interview skills. There may be something you're missing.
You are stressed out. Constantly job searching can be stressful. If you find that you're completely stressed or burned out, taking a break can help you get the relief you need to keep going. Successful job searchers know the benefits of relaxation when seeking a new position.
How to Take a Break Without Losing Momentum
When taking a break from job searching, you want to make sure that it's still a productive time. Mattice said, "Give yourself deadlines and due dates for this so you do not find yourself distracted and procrastinating."
This way, you'll use this time wisely and give yourself an endpoint, so you don't stretch your break too long. The longer the break you take, the harder you may find it to jump back in. Using a good job search engine is important to maximize your time.
Another thing that you can do to maintain momentum is not to give up your search entirely. Instead, you can schedule days off.
"A job search is work. In some ways, it is more challenging than a job. We don't work 100% of the time, and a job search should be no different."
— Michael Maniaci, employee experience and operations manager
You will rejuvenate by stepping away for short breaks while not losing your momentum.
Frequently Asked Questions About Job Searching
How many hours should you spend job searching?
When looking for a new job, it helps to get organized with your search. Take a look at the time you have and schedule job searching (as well as breaks). In terms of hours, you should spend about two hours per day, or 10-15 hours per week if you are working full time or in college.
If you are unemployed, you may want to bump this number up to 6-8 hours per day or 30-40 hours a week. Part-time workers and college students nearing graduation should spend somewhere in the middle at about 20-25 hours per week. Make sure to take breaks, days off, and weekends off when you're searching. Also, this time can include networking.
Should I job search every day?
It is essential not to burn out when you're job searching, but you also don't want to miss out on any opportunities. While you are in full job-searching mode, searching every day during the week is a good plan since employers post new opportunities daily.
Feel free to take weekends off because there won't be nearly as many postings, and you can always check back in on Mondays. Most people won't answer you over the weekend because they are taking a break, too. And it's okay to schedule days off during the week if you feel overwhelmed.
Why is job searching so exhausting?
When you feel like you are having a hard time with job searching, you may be experiencing job search fatigue. This can cause both physical and emotional exhaustion. This fatigue comes from various things, so the first thing to do is identify the cause.
Are you worn out because the jobs you're applying for aren't exciting, or is it because you're on the computer so much? It could be that you're discouraged by not hearing back about potential jobs or from getting rejected.
Job searching has so many ups and downs that it can be hard not to take things personally. Remember that it is okay to take time off, ask for clarification, or switch gears for a bit to get you through.