You feel unmotivated, underpaid, underappreciated, or overworked. You know you deserve better, but when you actually go through the job hunt, do your actions match that belief?

The cause of your burnout may be poor job hunting habits. A better job hunt can lead to a better job, but this is easy to say and tricky to execute.

I work with clients time and again who are burning out in their job. Your job hunt habits may be causing you stress if they go something like this:

  • You scan online ads only for jobs you’re 100 percent qualified to do. This seems like a good idea, because you don’t want to waste time, and deep down, maybe you don’t want to risk failure.
  • You apply to the job, interview, and don’t pay attention to the hiring manager’s demeanor, concern for your welfare, or excitement about her job. You don’t ask questions about the objectives of the job or the company’s mission and culture.
  • When you get an offer, you don’t negotiate the salary, hours, benefits or anything else that would make your life easier. You just accept whatever terms they offer.

Did you say yes to any of the above? This is the part of my blog when I’m supposed to scold you for everything I’ve listed, but you know what? I’ve done it all too. It’s human nature to want to avoid pain, to be efficient in an overwhelming world, to let things ride when you have so little energy.

But when you’re burning out, you need to do things differently. You need a better job, and you need to conduct a better job hunt at a time when you’re batteries are running low.

Where do you start?

Start with the job application process. I’m not going to tell you to ignore the online postings completely, because I’ve seen clients get jobs through them, jobs that they’re  excited to pursue.

But these clients didn’t shoot low. They aimed for something that excited them, that if they didn’t get it, they’d be sorely disappointed. In short, they risked failure and disappointment. They also applied to jobs they weren’t entirely qualified to do. There was a learning curve.

(Raise your hand if you think getting paid to learning is exciting. My hand is up.)

To get to these good jobs, you need to overcome unconscious thought traps, also known as cognitive distortions. This, simply put, is when your mind takes a detour from logical thinking. It does this in a number of ways, including skewing toward negativity.

It takes mindfulness to catch your mind in the act of deceiving you. One study recorded the pace of internal dialogue, the voice in our heads, at 10 times the rate of actual speech, (or twice the rate of Lorelai Gilmore’s speech)

Exercise: Trigger Your Negative Thinking with a Job Ad

The goal of this exercise is to lure out that nasty voice in your head, the one that tells you you’re kidding yourself, wasting time shooting for something you want. The one that tells you you need another degree or certificate to even think of that job.

  1. Off you go to What’s your boss’s job title? Enter it.
  2. Read through the job description. Which parts have you never done? Could you do them? What training would you need? Did you know your local library may offer free access to, which has more than 1,200 video trainings business subjects alone? If it doesn’t, you can now get free trials through LinkedIn.
  3. Imagine applying to this job. If you think you’ll never get called for an interview, why?

The key is to focus on evidence. Notice I didn’t ask for your gut opinion, because our guts sometimes lie to us. What concrete reasons would the hiring manager give, under oath in a court of law, for not being able to hire you? What could you do or say to address those concerns for the least investment in time, money and education?

Actually list out the reasons in writing.

Why will your lack of bachelor’s degree affect whether you can do a data analysis job that you’ve learned to do to perfection on the job (and isn’t that learning more valuable than book learning?)

Why can’t you ask for a $5,000 more, an amount that will mean you can cover childcare costs without sweating out every payment to the daycare center.


Call Yourself on the BS

If your gut is constantly telling you that you need to be perfectly qualified, don’t trust it. The numbers are with you, job hunter. The economy is good. Now is the time to screw up your courage and apply higher, apply to something exciting, and get the money and job you deserve.

When you finally apply to something that excites you, something magical happens. You get a boost of energy instead of the other way around. You’ve set events in motion that may result in you having a better job, one that gets you out of bed on time Monday morning.

And even if you don’t get a call, that boost of energy is still worth it. Take more risks, have more fun, and make your job hunt worth it.

Need help silencing the voice? Schedule a free consultation with me or email me at