Tips on Overcoming Job Search Depression

Depression in Your Job Search

A few weeks ago I went to go hear Richard Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute, speak at Graceworks . This is a man who is regarded around the world as THE job search expert. I had bought his book right out of college but hadn’t really spent much time with it until I bought it again after this talk. It really is a fabulous resource.

Anyhow, he was speaking on the topic of depression. He explained how there are two types of depression, situational and clinical. What he was talking about was situational depression which can be brought on when you are going through a tough time in your life. Situational depression is temporary and there are things you can do to alleviate it.

While searching for a new job can be exciting, it can also be lengthy, arduous and frustrating. I loved his presentation on how to overcome this and thought I’d share my notes with you.

He started by saying that depression comes when you feel like everything is out of our control. You feel powerless. He then said “Hope depends on having alternatives”. I loved that quote.

While it feels like your destiny is in the hands of others and you have no control over where you may land, the truth is, there is always something we have power over.

I challenge you right now to write down three things in yours that you have control of.

Richard broke the experience of depression into 4 parts – Physical, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual and gave advice on how to overcome each.

(Note: The author is a former minister so his lecture did have a religious tilt to it)


1. Increase your intake of water

2. Give yourself permission to nap

3. Exercise

4. Release your anger – pillows are best for hitting or yelling into or kickboxing – anything safe to get it out


“In transitions, the left side of brain freezes because it doesn’t know how to keep you safe. You need to tap into the right brain.”

1. Write what you are grateful for daily (I started this practice in January and have noticed huge results – I only write one line per day)

2. Listen to music – it is the food of right side of brains, it says “Let’s treat this as an adventure”


“Your uniqueness is the combination of your talents & skills.”

1. Remember, you are not your job title and where you are does not define who you are.

2. Redefine yourself – he who is successful in a job search frames it around the below…

…. love to do (this) kind of work

….. has (these) skills

….. pays no attention to job openings – networks first

…… has (this) type of experience

3. Look at your past successes – what has worked well for you?

4. What skills do you love to use? “God gave us the gift of delight to let us know what we are meant to do.”

5. Spend most of your time creating your vision – More clear the vision, more likely to hit it


1. “Pray as through everything depended on God and work as though everything depended on you.”

2. Pay attention to the constant – the person you are

3. Volunteer – get out there and help people less fortunate than you with your current skills