Self-Care: The Overlooked Job Search Technique - Part 1
Self-Care: The Overlooked Job Search Technique - Part 1

I talk a lot on this blog about specific things to do while job searching. (Have you updated your LinkedIn profile yet??) But there’s another aspect about the job hunt that is less talked about, though it’s getting more attention recently: self-care.

If you’re looking for a new job, it’s a pretty safe bet that you are experiencing some changes in your life. Whatever the circumstance is, the challenges ahead are going to be scary and new and frustrating. And when that’s the case, taking care of your self is more important than ever.

Self-care during the job search looks a lot like self-care during every other moment in your life, but now taking care of yourself is imperative. If you don’t get eight hours of sleep when you have a job, maybe you miss a thing or two at work and you get a slap on the wrist—no worries, you can always make it up the next day. But being sleep-deprived when you need to force yourself to find a new job can make everything so much worse.

This is a two part series—there are a lot of ways we inadvertently work against ourselves!


  • Stop beating yourself up. You, whether you like it or not, are stuck listening to yourself. So start saying nice things to yourself. This means in your head, out loud (maybe wait until the room has cleared), or in a journal. Treat yourself like you would a friend who is unhappy with their job or just got laid off. Think of what you would say to them, and say it to yourself. It’s incredibly hard to do, since we’re our own worst critic. But honestly it’s kinda the only thing that needs to be on this list. Everything else stems from this.

  • Stop complaining about the job search or being let go to friends. While once is okay, anything after that starts to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And your friends might appreciate it too.

  • With the last point, try to surround yourself with positive people. Do you have that one friend that brings out the complainer in you? Be careful who you listen to. Our moods are infectious. Surrounding yourself with positive, forward-looking, and eager people will help keep your spirits up!

  • Surround yourself with inspiration. Read books like Designing Your Life and You Are a Badass. Create a vision board on Pinterest or a whiteboard. Make a collage! Look up other people who have jobs that you want and follow them on social media. Watch some good Ted Talks. (Have you tried Susan Colantuono’s The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get, Carol Fishman Cohen’s How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break, or Alain de Botton’s A Kindler, Gentler Philosophy of Success yet?) Start envisioning your future.


  • This is your job now, finding a job. It doesn’t matter if you already have a job or you haven’t had one in a while or you’re a stay-at-home parent. You have to place this in the front of your daily, weekly, and monthly vision.

  • Get planning. Buy yourself a new planner or scrounge up an old one. Get a new app. Get something to help organize yourself. You’re going to need it. Plus there’s something about committing even just a little money to a goal and having a new toy to play with that makes it more fun—and more serious.

  • These next two are for the currently unemployed: Schedule your day as if you’re employed. That means establish and maintain a morning and evening routine. Take a shower (please). This also means no daytime video games, Netflix, or any other time- and energy-sucks. Creating a sense of formality and productiveness will help put your mind in the right place.

  • This also means adding a stopping point in your daily schedule. Don’t spend all your day worrying then work on your LinkedIn profile at 9:30 at night. Make sure to shift out of the job search mode and into nonwork mode, a.k.a. relaxation.

  • Clean! Nature’s best productive procrastination. Personally, I think that cleaning and organizing isn’t a form of procrastination; it’s a form of preparation. Do this in small chunks, however, or you’ll find yourself spending a whole week cleaning and not job searching. First tackle anything that is related to your job search. Clean the desk, office, or kitchen table if that’s where you’re set up. Go through that dreaded stack of papers and do something about them; don’t just shuffle them around. Use 30 to 60 minutes of cleaning to help clear your mind.

You may think that you don’t have time to do all these things—you have to get a job! Like, now!

I completely understand. But being frantic and panicky doesn’t get anyone anywhere. All it does is waste our time and energy. By taking time for yourself and remaining the person that you are, rather than just a job-hunter, you’ll actually have more time and be more productive. It definitely adds up. And pumping yourself up for the tasks ahead is definitely worth your time. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but I challenge you to give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised how well it works.