Dealing with job search stress can take a heavy toll on us, both physically and mentally. If you don’t know how to cope with it, it can lead you to sabotage your job search unintentionally.
For many job seekers, it might seem unfathomable to be able to relax while looking for a job. Luckily, with the right job search stress tips, you can take control of how you are dealing with job-hunting stress.
Here are some of the most effective tips on how to cope with job search anxiety.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you are not making any progress throughout the process of looking for a new job. Unfortunately, feeling like you are not getting the results you want is a sure way of increasing stress and anxiety.
One of the best ways to deal with it is to set small and measurable goals. This technique will help you stay motivated, even when things seem to move slow.
To start with, set daily or weekly goals. Be specific when you define what actions you want to focus on. For instance, you could commit to creating 3-5 new connections on Linked every week. You could set a goal of sending a specific number of job applications per week. Consider dedicating time to researching job search tips or practicing interview questions and answers. You can even look for new professional development opportunities that can benefit you.
Next, create a spreadsheet to track your progress throughout the process. That way, you will be able to see that you keep moving forward and avoid frustration.
It’s true that you might not be able to control what kind of responses you get from hiring managers. What you can control, though, is what you do every day to reach your goals.
Much of our stress in life comes from overthinking.
Mel Robbins, a best-selling author of “The 5 Seconds Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage,” gives practical advice to tackle this.
The problem with overthinking is that it often creates more stress and anxiety and leads to procrastination.
“Thinking about change won’t change you,” Robbins says. “To change, you have to take action.” For instance, it’s not enough to browse jobs if you don’t apply for any of them.
When you catch yourself overthinking, Robbins recommends counting down from 5 and committing to work on a task for only 5 minutes. She quotes research which shows that 80% of people who do this will continue working past the allocated time.
The key is to take necessary action without overthinking or reconsidering.
Try to do this exercise every morning. It will help you start each day with a sense of achievement. It will also help with how you deal with stress.
Your daily progress might include something as simple as spending 5 minutes to update your cover letter and resume. You can also use this time to review recently posted jobs or seek career advice from career coaches. For the best result, try to focus on the measurable goals you set in the previous step.
If you feel overwhelmed by job search and find yourself spending too much time looking at job boards, then try to automate this process. Set up job alerts on your favorite job boards. That way, you will get new job opportunities delivered automatically to your inbox.
Use the advanced search options to get very specific on what you are looking for. As a bonus, many job boards offer a feature that allows you to block your current employer from finding your resume.
You can also set a specific amount of time daily or weekly to review the new job alerts and take action.
Another way to use technology to your advantage is to leverage social media. Follow the companies you would like to work for on social media to check for any recently posted jobs. Many companies use social media, i.e., Twitter or Instagram, to post new job openings to attract more job seekers.
Finally, aim to optimize LinkedIn in your search. Advanced search is one of the best features to browse jobs most relevant to you.
You can also show recruiters you’re open to new job opportunities. To do so, select the corresponding option on your LinkedIn profile. You can even control who sees this. This will make it easier for potential employers and hiring managers to find you.
The stress of job search can often cause us to neglect other aspects of our life. Unfortunately, when we neglect our body and mind, our level of stress tends to increase. Taking care of yourself is crucial to avoid job search burnout and goes a long way towards reducing stress.
By the time you meet with hiring managers, you want to be in the best shape possible. Make sure that you stay hydrated, move your body regularly, eat well, and, most importantly, get enough good quality sleep.
Once again, use technology to support you, not hinder you. It might be tempting to keep checking your phone, especially when you can’t sleep and worry about the future. Unfortunately, this will increase your anxiety levels.
“Our phones are repositories for all sorts of things that can stress us out, like a late-night email from your boss, or an unpleasant news alert,” writes Rebecca Muller, Community Editor at Thrive Global. Muller suggests putting the phone in a “do not disturb mode” to improve your sleep immediately.
Finally, if you feel that your mental health is being affected, reach out to get professional help. A qualified doctor can help you deal with stress and chronic anxiety.
Too much time on social media or Netflix might feel good while you are doing it. After all, it takes our mind off other things that stress us out. But the moment you stop and start thinking of the job hunting process, you might find yourself feeling the job search panic creeping in. To deal with this, use your time to optimize your job search activities and rewards yourself with other activities afterward.
For instance, just like social media can feel good for a moment, sending hundreds of job applications may give us a false impression that we are busy. Sadly, there is a difference between busy and productive.
If you focus on tailoring each job application, you may end up applying for fewer positions. But, the chances are that you will increase your job search success.
Additionally, if you have a full-time job already, you can manage your stress level throughout the process by doing less and getting better results. This technique is especially helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Looking for a new job can feel like a full-time job in itself. However, just like worklife balance is vital to our wellbeing, so is finding a balance when we are looking for a new role. Ironically, focusing on your search too much can increase the level of stress and anxiety.
Re-connecting with friends and family on a regular basis to get their support is crucial to our mental health. Those who are close to you can often provide you with a fresh perspective to reduce your stress level.
Your network can help you in even more ways. Some of the people you know may introduce you to potential employers and hiring managers. Research shows that referrals are the leading source of candidates for 88% of employers.
Your network can help you improve your results. They can also remind you that you are not in this alone.
When the job hunting stress increases, it can be tempting to send out a bunch of cover letters and resumes and hope for the best. However, your job search success depends on how well you prepare.
“Thorough preparation can go a long way toward easing interview stress,”writes Alison Doyle at the New York City-based personal finance site The Balance. “Identify your most relevant skills and be ready to share examples or anecdotes showing how you applied those strengths to work, volunteer, academic or co-curriculmar roles, and how you have generated some positive results.”
As you wait to meet with the hiring managers, use your time to practice interview questions. The more you practice, the more confidence you will gain, and the less stressed you will feel.
Consider getting career advice, resume writing support, or job interviewing tips from someone qualified as a career coach.
Be very honest about what else you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. Ask yourself:
Add any new ideas to your list of goals and set time to work on them.
Finally, the key to how you deal with job search anxiety is to experiment with what works. Try different techniques and see what works best for you.
For more ideas on how to optimize your job search check out our FREE Checklist to Kick Start Your Job Search… In 48 Hours Or Less
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