How to Set Healthy Boundaries in your Job Search Journey

Devant is a safe and inclusive space for all international students. We meet a lot of students and often times our discussions move to topics of challenges and barriers you face in the Canadian job search. These include moving to a new country, making friends, understanding Canadian culture and so much more.

It’s important to keep this idea in mind especially when finding a job can come with feelings of rejection, overwhelm, and disappointment. In fact, a recent article by Global News reported on some of the measures international students take in facing these challenges. It goes on to “encourages anyone who is struggling with loneliness, overwhelming stress or anxiety to reach out for help”.

Your Canadian journey is so much more than simply finding your job. To help you balance your priorities, we’ve outlined 4 steps you can take today to help you manage your mental health while staying focused on your job search.

Break it down

When you have a big goal like landing your dream Canadian job in mind, it can take up a lot of your mental capacity whether to not your efforts are yielding any results. In fact, there may be other pressures in relation to the job search that may cause additional stress. This can include supporting your family, getting good grades, and long-term immigration goals. That said, it’s important to stay organized in you’re your career journey. It can alleviate stress, and keep you on track with your goals. This is one of the reasons we emphasize the planning stage in our career development process. Breaking down this large task – GET A JOB, into smaller more manageable tasks, is a great place to start. Archive your job applications. Get feedback from your coffee chats and interviews. Taking the time to complete these small but important tasks can help you stay on track and not feel so overwhelmed by the job process.

Set time restriction on job search tasks

This is a simple and effective tip you can use today to help keep you on track. I can’t be the only one who has lost track of time looking up and working on job applications. It can be tiring and not very productive. If you spend too much time on each of these tasks, it can feel like you aren’t actually making any progress. You could also be taking away from other areas of your life (school, social etc) because of this cycle. It is OK to close those tabs on your browser or to step away from an application to chat with a friend. Especially when it comes to physiological needs, try not to sacrifice sleep and food. It can make a big difference in your attitude and ability to focus.

Speak to others in the community 

A job search can also feel isolating since only you really know the efforts, successes and failures you face daily. This is especially evident when oftentimes only successes are really broadcasted and celebrated. You may end up feeling like you are alone in your journey. However, this is simply not the case. There are so many others who are facing similar struggles and challenges. In fact, in 2019 there were over 640,000 international students in Canada. It’s all about finding the right community to plug yourself into it. One option is to join us at one of our events where you can meet both industry professionals and like-minded peers. It is so refreshing to share your path and to learn from others.

Reward Yourself

It is so important to give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. It’s easy to compare your life path with those around you or with aspirational people across the world. However, everyone’s journey is going to be unique. When you keep this in mind, it’s easier to notice the things you’re excelling at. Reward yourself when you complete a difficult application, when you have a successful coffee chat, or when you land your first interview (regardless of if you get the position or not). Give yourself permission to celebrate small victories by yourself and the important people around you.

Many of our Devant team members are also former international students. They understand the physical and mental toll the job search process can have on an individual. This is especially true with international students as you face even more barriers of entry to Canadian jobs. If there’s one thing we see time and time again in our community of international students, it’s that you continue to be resilient in the face of these challenges. This deserves recognition. The success stories we hear from our co-op students, event attendees, and program partners make the Candian journey all worthwhile.

We hope the practical tips above make your job search just a little bit easier to manage. Come out to our career assessment session, to meet one of our career coaches and discuss your particular job search hurdles. We hope to see you soon.


For more information on mental health and wellness, please don’t hesistate to connect. Resources available here.

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Contact Us

If you’d like to ask a question about something you’ve read here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Director, Operations & Client Experience, Sejal Ahir at sejal.ahir@devant.ca or by phone at 1 (647) 781-2945.