How to Job Search When You’re Desperate for a Job -The Muse

The job search has been dragging on, and you get to the point when you start thinking:

I’ll take anything


I get it.

I once took a position photographing autoparts in the back room of a warehouse. I knew shooting brake calipers all day long wasn’t going to advance my career, but it was the only full-time job available to me, and for a few months, it’s what I needed to do.

Which is to say: I understand there’ll be times when you feel the only move is taking a job you’re not excited about—and I’m not going to judge you for it.

But that’s different than talking yourself into making a

bad career move

because you’re

desperate for a job


If you’re not sure whether an open role is your best (or only) move—or if you need to hold out for something better—ask yourself these three questions. If all the answers aren’t “yes,” then it’s probably time to rethink your choice.

1. Am I Still Firing on All Cylinders?

Burn out

doesn’t just happen at work, it can happen on the job search, too.

You’ve been investing so much time, and energy, and hope into your quest, that you’ve hit a wall. You’re ready to reclaim those hours you’ve devoted to applying for new roles and no longer spend every waking moment obsessing about when you’ll hear back.

If You Answered No

Keep in mind: Landing a new job doesn’t mean you can suddenly start coasting. Yes, you won’t have to go through the motions of being an applicant anymore, but in its place you’ll have all of the expectations of being the new person on the team.

A big part of what makes that an exciting, new challenge—as opposed to a different way to feel drained each day—is having a good feeling about the role you’ve signed on for.

If you’re not under financial stress to take a new job yesterday, consider

taking a breather

. While it seems counterproductive (since you still want a new job), even a week away from browsing postings and composing cover letters can be really valuable.

Use that time to reconnect with whatever you’ve been sacrificing (sleep, exercise, time with friends), and when you get back to searching, you’ll have renewed energy to stick it out until you find the right role for you.

2. Will I Still Want to Work There in 6 Months?

So, this isn’t your dream job. But it’ll pay the bills, and that old saying, “beggars can’t be choosers” keeps playing over and over in your head.

And again, it’s an opportunity to stop searching and start working: That can’t be so bad—right?

If You Answered No

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it actually can be so bad. That’s because if you don’t like your work, you’ll start dreading it, and your productivity will wane. Then, you become part of a futile (and pretty crappy) cycle of looking for a job, not liking it, and looking for another one.

Now that you have that depressing thought in mind, you should know: It doesn’t have to be this way! If you’re not struggling financially, you can avoid this simply by listening to voice in your head. And moving forward, ask yourself this before you even hit “apply” on a posting:

Is this work I’ll be excited about doing in the future?

And, if you’re in the

I have to take the photograph car parts job

stage, go into it with a clear intention to make it a

bridge job

—and keep looking for the role you really want. (On that note, here’s

a strategy for finding time to job search

while you’re working.)