Career Advice

5 Ways to Reduce Job Search Anxiety

John Smith

The search for employment can often be stressful and overwhelming, which can trigger job search anxiety. This stress can cause physical and mental side effects that can negatively impact your progress. This is why it is critical for job-seekers to try and eliminate as much job search anxiety as they can, for their own mental well-being as well as for the sake of their professional success.

Follow these 5 tips to help handle and reduce your stress:

1. Set Goals and Deadlines

Job searching can feel extremely daunting and overwhelming when your only focus is to find employment. This can negatively impact your motivation to begin your search. It can also lead you to feel discouraged  even though you are working extremely hard and taking the right steps towards being successful in your search.

To counter this, you should set  smaller, more manageable goals and deadlines to give yourself something to work towards. For example, one week you can set a goal to redesign your resume and next week to update your cover letter and the week after that to work on your LinkedIn profile, etc. This way, job searching seems much more feasible, which gives you increased motivation and less stress.

2. Stay Positive

It’s important to keep a positive mindset and take on one task at a time while job hunting. A positive attitude is much appreciated by recruiters and hiring managers in your contact with them.

The most difficult time to stay positive is in the face of rejection.  The reality is that rejection is inevitable during the job search.. It is imperative to remember that there will always be other employers and other opportunities that are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

As you experience rejection, learn how to turn it into a positive learning experience to help you in the future. Consider asking for feedback from the hiring manager on areas where you could have improved or what they thought you lacked as a candidate. They may not have time to give you feedback but it is always worth asking and showing that you want to develop your skills. Constructive criticism can be the best gift an employer can give you.

When you are feeling down about your job search, you should practice taking your mind back to a time where you accomplished something. Take time to think about your successes, talents, and passions to draw inspirations from as you move forward.

3. Take Breaks

It’s easy to burn out if you spend too much time job hunting all at once. That’s why it is so important to get up and take breaks by going outside, spending time with friends, participating in hobbies or anything else that will take your mind off of the job search to relax and de-stress.

Something to try during your breaks are stress relief techniques. Whether that is exercising, meditation, reading a book, listening to music or breathing exercises, find what works for you!

4. Reward your Successes

When job searching, it is easy to get caught up on only looking ahead instead of backwards. For example, when you finish one task, you’re already thinking about the next one instead of pausing and reflecting on how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished. Even if you don’t have a job offer yet, it’s still important to feel good about yourself and proud of yourself for all the work you’ve been doing to get there.

Don’t forget to reward yourself, whether that is with a break, a nice meal or a night out with friends. This will also give you some much-needed confidence as you continue with your job search, hopefully now with less anxiety.

5. Know when it’s Serious

It’s crucial to know when your job anxiety has reached serious levels. If you feel your anxiety is out of control and affecting other areas of your life (excessive worry, sleep problems, muscle tension, panic attacks, etc.), it might be time to talk to someone about it. Whether that be a close friend, family member or a professional, it’s possible that your job search is making your pre-existing anxiety worse.

For all the job-seekers out there, good luck! Remember to relax and take it one day at a time – your job search won’t last forever and your dream career could be right around the corner.

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Updated 20 June, 2019

Featured image credit: Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash