How to Get a Job When You Have Depression

How to Get a Job When You Have Depression
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What happens when depression gets in the way of finding a job? How does someone who has depression get hired at their dream company?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the major depressive disorder affects over 15 million Americans yearly. The condition causes feelings of sadness or hopelessness, along with other symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and thoughts of suicide.

Depression is a mental illness that can make it difficult to manage day-to-day tasks, including looking for a job. You may feel like you’re not good enough or can’t do anything right. But don’t give up! There are things you can do to improve your chances of getting hired, even with depression. Here are some tips:

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1. Use Your Tools

When you feel like life is crashing down around you, it can be hard to figure out how to pull yourself out of the hole. But there are things you can do to help, even if you don’t have much experience with depression. Here’s what we recommend:


This one might seem obvious, but exercise does help. Research suggests that regular physical activity reduces symptoms of depression. This includes walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, yoga, etc. You can take classes at a gym, join a sports team, go jogging with friends, or go outside and walk around your neighborhood.

Get enough rest

Sleeping well is important, especially if you’re feeling depressed. Try to aim for 7–8 hours per night.

Eat well

Eating healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, lentils, legumes, dairy products, and olive oil can improve mood, reduce stress levels, and increase energy.

2. Prepare for the Rush

Depression is no joke. For many sufferers, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. But while depression can be debilitating, it doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness again.

For those living with depression, the key to beating the blues is often found in the simple act of “getting out there.” If you’ve been feeling down lately, here are five ways to start getting up.

3. Take a break

A recent study found that people are less likely to apply for jobs under emotional duress. Researchers say applicants stressed about being unemployed often miss opportunities because they don’t feel like making themselves presentable enough to interviewers.

While there isn’t much, you can do to change your feelings. Experts suggest taking a few days away from work to help clear your head. You might even want to consider taking a day off from applying altogether.

“If you’re having trouble getting motivated, just take a step back,” says Jennifer O’Neill, founder of HR consulting firm TalentSmart. “You don’t have to go straight from your current position to another one.”

4. Build a Support System

Being unemployed is tough for everyone. But being unemployed while dealing with depression can make things worse.

If you are struggling with depression, finding a job might feel like an uphill battle. You might think about giving up because there seems to be no way out. If you do decide to continue looking for jobs, you’ll want to find someone to lean on. Having a support network can help you keep going.

Friends and family can be great sources of support during times of struggle. They can remind you that you’re not alone and offer encouragement as you look for a job. And if you need some extra motivation, they can provide that too.

5. Stay Organized

A job search can be overwhelming, especially when you’re depressed. But there are ways to combat that overwhelm. One way is to pick one or more organizing tools to help you keep track.

For example, maybe you’ll use a spreadsheet to record the names of companies you apply to and how you did in each interview. Or perhaps you’ll use a calendar to mark dates and times you apply to jobs.

Whatever tool you choose, make sure it works for you. If you get overwhelmed, try breaking things down into smaller steps. You could start by applying to 10 different places within one day, then move on to 20 next week, 30 the following month, etc.

6. Organize your time effectively and consistently

If you’re looking for a new gig, it might help to try setting yourself up for success rather than waiting around for things to happen.

The key here isn’t necessarily to change everything about your lifestyle overnight; it’s to set up habits that make it easier to keep your head above water while you look for work.

These small changes can go a long way toward helping you feel like you’re doing something productive when you’re feeling down. And, hey, if nothing else, they’ll make you feel better.

7. Keep Busy

When you’re feeling down, it’s easy to want to curl up in bed and never move again. But that’s a mistake.

The urge to sit around and mope isn’t healthy. Instead, try doing something productive — like volunteering. Research suggests that people who participate in regular volunteerism are less depressed than those who don’t.

And even if you aren’t able to find a position where you’d normally volunteer, you can still keep yourself active. For example, you could sign up for a fitness class, join a book club, go hiking, start a blog, or take up knitting.

Whatever you choose, remember to keep moving. Even if you feel like crawling into bed and pulling the covers over your head, resist that temptation. You’ll feel better once you’ve gotten out of the house.

8. Practice Self-Care

A job search can be a long and stressful experience, especially during times of uncertainty. But taking care of yourself throughout the process is vital—no matter what that looks like for you—and having support from friends and family can make the whole thing easier. Here are ten tips to keep you sane while searching for work.

  • Have Fun With Your Job Search
  • Get Support From Friends & Family
  • Find Ways To Relax
  • Find Meaningful Work

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9. Know Your Rights

The ADA does not require employees to disclose their disabilities. However, it does prohibit discrimination based on those conditions. If you’re struggling with depression, know that you don’t have to tell potential employers about it. And even if you decide to speak up, you still might be unable to say anything specific.

In general, however, the law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. For example, suppose you experience panic attacks during stressful situations. In that case, you could ask for help from a supervisor or HR person and request that certain tasks be assigned to someone else.

If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against due to a disability, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

10. Stay open and adaptable in the face of criticism

When you’re struggling with depression and feeling like you’ve been rejected over and over again, it can be easy to give up. You might think that there are no jobs left for you, and you’ll never find one that fits what you want.

But here’s the thing: employers turn people down for many different reasons, and some of those reasons have nothing to do with how qualified you are. They often have little to do with your skillset at all.

If you’re having trouble finding work, it could mean that you’re applying for the wrong kinds of positions. Maybe you’re trying to land a job where you don’t have much experience, or you’re looking for something that doesn’t fit your personality. Or maybe you’re just not being honest about why you want the job.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that employers aren’t rejecting you because they don’t think you’re good enough — they’re leaving you because they don’t need you.

Try not to let yourself get discouraged. Instead, focus on what you can control. If you’re getting turned down for a job that seems perfect, ask yourself what else you can learn from the experience.

Key Takeaway

Depression can make it difficult to focus on your job search, but you can get hired with the right tools and support. Our expert resume writers can help you craft a resume that showcases your skills and experience in the best light possible.

In addition to our resume writing services, we also offer career advice and interview preparation tips so you can feel confident when you go in for your next job interview. Contact us today to get started!

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