Look after your mind during your job hunt

6 August 2021

Joe O’Brien from UCL Careers writes about how to look after your mind while job hunting. It can be daunting to think about careers during a global pandemic – but UCL Careers are here to support you through it and help you land that job.

A person rests a laptop on their lap, with a page open to a networking site.

For many, job hunting can be a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. Add a global pandemic into the mix and it’s no surprise that you may be feeling worried about your next career move. But you have one advantage… a committed Careers service of over 60 people who are here to help you as best we can. In this blog, we will share advice and resources to help you feel prepared and ready for your job search.


Whether you’re studying, working part-time, or just trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance in lockdown, it’s important not to overstretch yourself and instead create a manageable schedule for your job hunt. We would recommend setting aside a small amount of time each day to search for roles and work on your applications. Even if you set aside 1 hour a day, you may surprise yourself how much you can get done in that time! It’s also advisable to set yourself goals, such as completing a certain number of applications in a week or meeting with a Careers Consultant to discuss your CV.

Having a schedule, and setting yourself manageable goals will help you to stay on top of things and ensure you don’t overstretch yourself, become overwhelmed or cause burnout. It will allow you time to decompress and focus on your wellbeing. You may even want to set aside time in your day just for relaxing and leisure while you’re at it!

Application tracker

As well as a schedule, it’s often a good idea to make yourself a simple application tracker. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a nice, clear spreadsheet that allows you to input the roles you want to apply for, your application status (i.e. not started, ongoing, application sent) and any other key bits of information that you would find useful to keep track of. Job searching can feel like a part-time job in itself, so any organising you do can have a really big impact on your search and your feelings around it. If you can quickly and clearly oversee all your applications, that’s one less thing to stress you out!

Appreciate the small wins

Job searching can be demanding and nerve-wracking at the best of times, so be kind to yourself. We are living through a challenging time and competition can be fierce for roles, so by committing to searching for a job, you are already doing so well. It can be easy to spiral or experience self-doubt when you get rejected from a job application. But it’s important to consider the context. You have no idea who else is applying for that role, and not getting the role does not necessarily mean you are a bad candidate. This is why we recommend celebrating the small wins in your journey. Did you get that application off in time for the job you really want? Excellent! Why not reward yourself with your favourite snack or an episode of whatever show you’re currently bingeing. Did you receive an invite to interview? Amazing!! Give yourself a pat on the back and consider how difficult it is even to get that far!

Use UCL Careers

Of course, we recommend making use of the events and services available to you to aid you in your job hunt and increase your chances! We are here to ensure you are as prepared as you can be. Maybe you could make use of our one-to-one appointment offering? We have short guidance appointments where you can chat with a Careers Consultant about anything, from your CV to what kind of roles you are interested in, or even where to begin if you’ve got no idea what you want to do. We’ve got application advice appointments where we will go through your application with you and help you hone it. We even offer mock interviews which will allow you to roleplay an interview with one of our team, gaining experience and useful advice!

There are also a range of events which we’d advise you keep an eye on, from CV workshops to presentations with employers looking to hire UCL talent. Sign up to the UCL Careers newsletter for weekly events listings and all things careers and employability.

Wishing you the best of luck if you’re currently job searching, and remember, UCL Careers are here for you and so are your fabulous Student Support and Wellbeing team. We’re all rooting for you!

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Joe O'Brien, UCL Careers