Applying for jobs can be overwhelming for anyone. It is a long process of looking for the right jobs, filling out applications, and going to interviews. People with a mental illness may experience additional barriers when it comes to searching for a job. Anxiety, gaps in work history, and continual illness are just some of the issues that they can face. Thankfully, there are many things that people with mental health concerns can do to make their job searching process less stressful and more successful. Let’s take a look at 4 important things to keep in mind, when searching for your next job while also coping with mental illness.

Tackle it one step at a time

Searching for a job can worsen symptoms of mental illness as it can be a stressful and emotionally draining process. As you are looking for that new job, remember to practice self-care throughout the process. It is very important to identify coping skills and resources that can help you on this job search journey. Don’t be afraid to seek support from family, friends, or employment services like stopping in to see your friends at FOCUS Employment Services. It’s also important to try to create a realistic work plan and tackle the process in steps but remember to give yourself some leeway if things don’t go according to plan.

Chose the right job

Before you start applying to all the jobs that you see in front of you, make sure that what you are applying to is something that you would enjoy doing. Doing a job that you hate in a company that you do not like can have a negative effect on your mental health and be incredibly draining. Start by first deciding what kind of job and work environment it is that you prefer and look for jobs that meet that criteria. Look for companies that have a positive work environment and value their employees. Make sure that the jobs that you are applying for will offer you the opportunity to apply your skills and do something that will be meaningful to you.

Work on your resume

Living with a mental illness means that there might be gaps in your career where you had to take time off work. If you are worried that this is going to look poor on your resume, there are a couple of things you can do to help minimize that effect. One thing that you can do is to focus on writing a functional resume that emphasises your skills and achievements that are relevant to the job. Mention other activities that you did during the time you were not working that show that you were still improving yourself. This will help demonstrate your go-getter attitude and commitment to life long learning.

Present your best self

When going into interviews, have confidence in yourself and focus on your strengths and achievements. Prepare for your interviews by going over your resume and researching the company. Look into possible questions that you might be asked during the interview so that you can feel less anxious going into it. Knowledge is power and will make your confidence gleam. When faced with unexpected questions, be honest and try to present yourself in a positive light – those gaps in your resume where you took time off work to tackle your mental illness demonstrate that you take personal responsibility and that you can overcome obstacles. Taking time for yourself isn’t a negative thing, your interviewer just might need a little help in understanding the gap and may even be impressed that you took control of the situation.

Starting the search for a job when you have mental health concerns can be a nerve-racking experience. Don’t struggle alone through the process; connect with the experienced, supportive team at FOCUS Employment Services. We offer workshops, resources and plenty of supports to help your job search be successful AND enjoyable! Connect with us today by stopping by one of our locations either in Alliston or Angus or by calling 1-877-513-0187.