I have had a rollercoaster year when it comes to my career, and I know many people have lost jobs due to the pandemic and find themselves searching for work. When you have poor mental health this can be a challenge.
In the last six months I have applied for jobs, had interviews, been rejected, and had job offers all of which have triggered my mental health in different ways.
The process of job hunting itself can affect us in different ways. For me I find it mentally tiring which, when I’m already sleep deprived can have a negative effect on my wellbeing.
Planning is essential
So, I have to plan my time well. Simple things like staying hydrated, eating healthy and getting out in the fresh air are super important for me. This is alongside talking to trusted friends who I call ‘my bench’ when considering jobs or needing someone to read through applications and spell check CV’s.
What works for you?
I function best first thing in the morning, so I would structure my day to start with one or two hours of job hunting. This could be looking at job vacancies on the usual online job sites. But I made sure I was also registered on local sites that I knew advertised jobs that I was looking, for such as Dorset Council jobs.
I would make a list of closing dates and then plan time in my diary to apply. I made sure I knew what the company required, such as a CV or whether I had to complete an application form.
You know yourself best, so pick a time that works for you, and it doesn’t have to be two hours it can be small blocks of 10 – 15 minutes.
A point to note is that if you don’t a have CV you can take some pressure off yourself by contacting specialists who offer free advice such as the National Careers Service. It’s a government website providing resources and advisors to help support you and your job search. This service is available to people who live in England.
Should you disclose mental health issues?
I am comfortable in disclosing my mental health and the fact that the diagnosis of a Generalised Anxiety Disorder is why I left one of my jobs, if I have to list ‘reasons for leaving’ on application forms. I know many of you will not feel confident to do the same and this is very much my personal choice.
I was lucky in that I got invited to various interviews. But that brings it own issues for me as the anxiety levels start to rise. Especially as the day and time arrives for me to put myself in front of a panel of people. Having worked in careers and been through many interviews, I have learnt to ‘reframe’ the situation. I redirect my thoughts to be excited at having the opportunity to meet the panel and find out more about the job, rather than be overwhelmed by nerves. You many find this resource from Total Jobs on interview nerves helpful. Don’t worry that it’s aimed at graduates – there are still lots of hints and tips.
Finally getting the job is great, but dealing with rejection if you aren’t successful can be tough. Trust me I’ve had my fair share of rejection and it can be hard to keep putting yourself through that.
I try hard to take the positives: they called me for interview, so I know my CV or application was good. Maybe I didn’t do myself justice in the interview, but I take it as a learning curve. I reflect about what went well and what I could do better next time and I always ask for feedback. Employers don’t always respond to this request but all we can do is ask.
I know it can be demoralising and hard not to take it personally. But sometimes we might be beaten by someone more suitable for the role on the day. On these days, being kind to yourself is absolute key.
Our guest blogger:
Huge thanks to our Ambassador Sarah for her blog detailing her experience and tips for job searching. Sarah is passionate about sharing her experience to help others and uses her role with us to do so.
Mind Field is a 7-week online course, designed to help get people back to work and support their mental health. The next course starts on 6th January, 2022. Find out more here, and email our friendly practitioner Vicky at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’ll find links for 1-2-1 and groups mental health support we offer here.