Looking for a new job can be fun and exciting, but may also bring some job search-related anxiety into a person’s life. With the global pandemic bringing so many changes, anxiety has—unfortunately—become a daily concern for many.
That said, it’s natural to have some job search anxiety. Maybe you need a job but don’t have one, or you’ve applied for several positions but haven’t yet heard back. Or, perhaps you’re just looking for something temporary to tide you over until the economy gets back on its feet. Regardless of your job search scenario, it’s not uncommon to feel anxious from time to time.
Fortunately, though, you can overcome job search anxiety and find your path to success by following a few simple suggestions.
1. Maintain Your Perspective
It’s important to keep in mind that your job search won’t last forever. It may take a little longer in uncertain economic times, but if you stick with it, eventually you will find a job that puts some pep in your step and makes you happy.
Perspective is a buzzword these days, and with good reason. Looking through the lens of COVID-19, what really matters in life has been boiled down to the very basics for many people. Try to see your job hunt for what it is (a temporary situation) and be patient.
2. Stay Positive
Staying positive is important when you’re looking for a job, even if it feels hard at times. Try to hang in there and make the most of your job searching time by finding ways to make it interesting or fun.
Set up a job search routine with a schedule of when you’ll look for jobs at a set time every day. Enjoy the challenge of discovering new positions to apply for, and reward yourself when you’re done by engaging in the activities that make you happy.
Exercising, volunteering, and working in the garden—and anything else you enjoy—can all be wonderful rewards for time well spent job searching.
3. Make a Plan
Create a job search plan to help you break your big goal into smaller, more manageable ones.
For example, start by writing down your highlights and “wins” in each of your positions, then plan to update your resume and cover letter accordingly (be sure to proofread). From there, you can update your LinkedIn profile, too. After that, create a wishlist of the types of positions you want to apply for.
4. Do Some Homework
If your concerns center on feeling unprepared, take action to reduce those negative thoughts. Spend time researching the kind of position you want and the career path you hope to follow.
Search for companies that offer the kinds of jobs and cultures that are a good fit for you (i.e., remote jobs in customer service), then learn all you can about those businesses and the people you would potentially work with and for. The more knowledgeable and prepared you feel in your job search, the more confidence will replace doubt in your mind. You’ll also be able to save time because you know exactly what you want.
5. Remind Yourself It’s a Process
Finding a new job doesn’t happen overnight. If you don’t get an interview for the first job you apply to, that’s fine. Be sure to reflect on your application materials if necessary and just know that during these times, companies are balancing a lot now, too, and may take longer than usual to get back to candidates.
6. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
It’s easy to get down when you’re searching for a job without success. And that’s when the negative self-talk can happen.
Studies have shown that when the negative self-talk starts, it generally decreases your motivation and performance. However, studies also indicate that if you use positive self-talk (“I’m going to do great in this interview!”), you’ll perform—and feel—better. So, do what you can to stay positive and upbeat during your job search. Employers will notice the benefits.
7. Savor Your Wins
Job search anxiety can set in when you only look ahead, and not backward. From time to time, stop to reflect on how far you’ve already come in your job search.
It might be that you’ve had a few successful interviews under your belt, even if you didn’t get the job. Or perhaps you’ve learned how to answer those troublesome interview questions that have the capacity to trip up any job seeker.
So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses once in a while and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve already put in. It can give you some much-needed confidence that can help carry you through the rest of your job search—sans anxiety.
8. Decide What Has to be Done—and What Doesn’t.
In an effort to expedite your job search, you’ve tasked yourself with every imaginable to-do. But here’s something to consider: You might not have to do it all. Sure, many things have to get done when you’re job searching, but trying to do them all (and all at the same time) is an exercise in futility.
A better option would be to determine how often something—say, updating your social media channels with breaking news industry info—truly needs to be done. You might discover that you’re actually overdoing it when it comes to your job search and that you can take it a little easier on yourself.
9. Take a Day Off
Our jobs are a big part of our identity, but we are so much more than just our jobs. We are family, friends, mentors, and volunteers, just to name a few.
If the job search has you down, take a break. Grab a cup of coffee with a friend, go to the park, etc. You can always practice coping mechanisms like deep breathing, switching up your scenery, talking to a friend or family member, or even learning ways to be more mindful.
If you want to take a break, that’s completely fine.
Moving Past Job Search Anxiety
While searching for a new job can present challenges, remember that you can succeed. If you’re prepared, organized, patient, and positive, you may even find joy in your journey toward a position that will be an excellent fit for you and your career aspirations.
If you’re looking for help with your job search, consider meeting with a FlexJobs career coach. They can help you find your footing and gain traction in your job search.
Don’t forget to share this article with colleagues!