• Michelle Barsky

How to Cope with Depression While Searching for a New Job


Even under the most perfect circumstances, job hunting can feel like, well, a job.


Sending out job applications just to hear no, or even nothing at all, can make you feel anxious and depressed. This can come about when you’re looking for the first job to kick off your career or even when you currently have a job.


There are a few ways you can get a handle on your depression surrounding your job search. Overcoming your negative thoughts to land your dream job may seem daunting, but you are not alone. According to the CDC, adults ages 18-25 are three times as likely to experience depression if they are unemployed.


Not only will coping with this depression teach you some valuable mental health skills, but you’ll also be able to apply these tactics once you start working your new job.

Why does job search depression happen?

You may think that being depressed because of job applications sounds silly. However, this happens to many well-qualified candidates at some point or another. These feelings of depression can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Lack of positions in your field

  • Positions with low market salaries

  • Not receiving an interview

  • Interviewing but not getting the job

Being rejected time and time again will naturally wear on your self-esteem and motivation. When going through the job application process, it is important to remember that your job does not define you.


At the end of the day, your self-worth is much more important than your profession. It’s important to remember this as you begin to implement coping mechanisms to deal with your job search depression.

Coping with job application depression

Job hunting can feel so stressful because you may feel helpless and like none of your efforts matter. Putting yourself back into a position of control will help you bolster your confidence. Set aside a portion of time a few times a week to dedicate to your job hunt.

By doing this and following the below steps, you’ll feel back in control over your life.


Structure your time


Every time you begin to apply for jobs, plan out how you want to divide your time. Perhaps the first section of time you search for jobs you are interested in applying to, then you spend the second half polishing cover letters and tailoring your resume. This way, you have a routine you can default to when applying for jobs.


Set achievable goals


When it comes to job hunting, the overall goal is actually finding a job. Instead of aiming for this, set milestones along the way that you can celebrate. For example, you may set a goal of applying to five jobs a week. This will again help raise your confidence and give you a sense of achievement.


Follow your interests


Job hunting can feel stressful and it may threaten to take over your life. However, staying rooted in your identity will help you be a better candidate, as well as strengthening your mental health. Consider volunteering for an organization that is similar to the field you’re interested in working in or join a local art class. Setting aside time for yourself will do wonders for your self-esteem and morale.


Stay connected


Throughout the job application process, remember to stay connected to your friends, family, and colleagues. This will not only benefit your emotional and mental health, but it could also benefit your professional life! There is no shame in utilizing the connections you have to help you find a job.


This period of job hunting will not last forever, even if it seems like it might. Keep your head up and take care of yourself first. If you feel like your depression is worsening or you simply want someone to talk to, reach out to me. I can help guide you through this challenging time and help you land on your feet.


To learn more about therapy for depression, click the link!