Dealing with depression while trying to find a job: Tips & support

22 May 2024

Dealing with depression while trying to find a job: Tips & support

When you’re dealing with depression the smallest tasks can feel insurmountable, so we completely understand why searching for a job may not be the top of your priority list. But the truth is that when we’re not working, our social and emotional well-being can suffer. 

Work provides a sense of achievement, it fosters independence, combats social isolation, and contributes to our overall sense of self. So, although it might feel counterintuitive and overwhelming, finding work could be the secret to helping you more successfully manage your depression. 

But easier said than done, right? Finding work can be grueling, even for those not dealing with depression. Being overlooked for a role can lead to feelings of rejection and defeat and when you’re already feeling worthless that can impact your sense of self. So how can you arm yourself to ensure you’re as prepared as possible to deal with the job search?  

Tips for finding a job while dealing with depression

Know what you want in a new job role 

Take some time to sit down and make a list of all the things you want in a job.  

What kind of hours would you like to work?  

  • How far away from home are you willing to travel?  
  • What kind of people would you like to be surrounded by?  
  • Would you like a job that allows you to help people?  
  • Do you want to work outside in the sunshine?  
  • Do you need a work schedule with structure and more flexibility?  

Take stock of your skills 

Next, make a list of your skills, experience and qualifications. Your depression might be telling you that you don’t have any value, but it’s simply not true. Write down everything you learned at previous jobs, and if you haven’t had previous jobs that’s okay too.. are you kind? Are you a good communicator? Do you know how to navigate social media even with your eyes closed? All of those things are skills that can be leveraged into a job. Write them down.  

Make a plan (and stick to it) 

Make a schedule for your week. Job hunting doesn’t need to be a full-time job – in fact we’d recommend it not be! Make sure you’re making time for therapy, socialising, self-care and all the things you normally do to keep your head above water. Set aside a few hours a couple of times a week to look for or apply for jobs, or to work on your resume and cover letters. Don’t let yourself get too consumed with the process; it will only lead to burnout.  

Stay organised 

Depression can impact your memory, so it’s important to prioritise being organised. Keep a digital calendar with all the details of phone interviews or irl meetings. Keep a spreadsheet that lists all the places you’ve applied and include a little note about why you wanted to work at each place (in case you get asked that in an interview, later!)  

Know your rights 

You are not required to disclose to a prospective employer that you suffer from depression unless it impacts your ability to fulfil the inherent requirements of the job you have applied for. However, if you DO want to disclose you are absolutely free to do so, and because mental illness is covered in The Equal Opportunity Act (2010) the employer is not allowed to discriminate against you because of it.   

Create a support network 

Let your friends and family know that you’re starting this new phase, ask them if they can offer help and support, your family may know of someone who is hiring, your friends may have the perfect outfit for you to borrow for interviews. Let your people support you.  

Call on the professionals 

The team at CoAct can help you navigate the job search through Disability Employment Services (DES). Our employment team can help you by providing training, mentorship, practical support like helping you create a resume or write cover letters, and by connecting you with caring employers who can support you appropriately as you transition into work. Contact our team today to find out if you could be eligible for DES. 

If you or anyone you know needs help:

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