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JOB HUNT / 14 December 2016
5 Tips to Manage the Stress/Anxiety of a Job Search
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Sarah Landrum
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Formatted your new resume and cover letter? Check. Got your references in order? Check. Job site alerts ready to hit your inbox? Check. Even when you think you’re prepared, the process of a job search never ends. There’s always more.

Every job description requires another unexpected hoop for you to jump through. There’s a major fear of making mistakes. What about the typo you found in your cover letter seven minutes after you clicked send? What if you’re too personal or not personal enough in your interview? What if you don’t know enough? What if you know too much? 

Anxiety and stress around job searching has a major impact on your day-to-day life and may affect your ability to secure a job. You’re not alone in your fear. Seventy-five percent of job searchers are afraid of being overqualified, and 92 percent of job searchers are afraid of messing up the interview. Yikes! It’s time to zap stress and anxiety, and put zest back into your job search by following these tips.

1. See Rejection as a Positive Opportunity

It’s easy to become daunted after a job rejection. Several job rejections may have you feeling down. It’s natural to take job rejection personally because careers are personal things to many people.

This is an opportunity to review how you’re applying and why you’re applying to certain positions. Is this a signal to narrow your job search to a specific position or look in a different area? Even if you’ve had many jobs, your versatile skillset will be of value to an employer. 

Perhaps you only need to adjust your strategy or the language you’re using to describe yourself. Choose the positive alternative. See your perceived weaknesses as strengths, and find out how to make them stronger. Sometimes that’s through taking on new experiences and ideas by crowdsourcing through your networks, reaching out to others.

2. Seek Out a Mentor or Touch Base With an Existing Mentor

Ideally, have a mentor both at the start of your career and where you want to work. It could be the same person. Have a mentor who has known you from the start of your career and will remind you of how far you’ve come and grown. Have a mentor whose career inspires you and who has taken a path that you currently relate to and aspire to reach. 

Choose a mentor who will help you see your own path clearly and visualize the career that you want to create for yourself. Your mentor will remind you of your goals and to be proud of your career’s development.

3. Remember: You’re Not the Only One in the Hot Seat

You’re interviewing the company, too. Why should you take on the employer? What is their real interest in you, and what about your resume and experience snagged their attention? Don’t let the employer ask all the questions, and as appropriate, intersperse your own questions.

These insights empower your answers to their prying questions, by allowing you to target your responses. It also gives you insight into what is appealing about your experience to employers. You may learn you need to look deeper into a company’s history before you apply, to make sure their mission and brand will align with your career path.

4. Invest in Life Outside Your Job Search

For the many people facing unemployment and underemployment, you may think “Yeah, like I have time for that!” Time is money, but experience is everything. 

The stress adds up. Seven out of ten people suffer from and seek relief from stress daily. Stress comes from both negative and positive events in life. You’re overwhelmed, pushed to meet deadlines and stay on task. Your life faces changes. Life goes by too quickly, and focusing on what really matters to you will aid your job search.

When you’re always on, when are you switched off? You need balance in your life. Get it by doing the following: 

You’ll get a huge boost of confidence and feel centered. You’ll have an answer to the random interview question, “So, what’ve you been reading lately?” Besides, when you’re out on a day trip adventure, you never know who you’ll meet. Networking happens at the strangest of times and places.

5. Define Realistic Job Search Hours

The keyword “realistic” is very important to your job search sanity. Designate an hour or two every week for specific tasks, but don’t go overboard and overbook your time. Don’t let your job search take away from your life.

Look for time you didn’t know you had. Do you have a long commute to an existing job? If you’re able to sit down, scroll through ads and review your resume, do it. Automate certain job search tasks, such as setting up job alerts for specific career keywords. Are there other opportunities in the day to get the small stuff of the job search done? 

The small tasks are the ones that add up quickly. These are perfect to do during the mind-numbing tasks of everyday life that have become second nature.

6. Take Control of Your Job Search

Your job search, and the stress that goes with it, doesn’t have to uproot the balance of your life. Be realistic about the time you dedicate to the job search. Be specific in your strategies and inquiries. Be prepared to adjust, because it comes with the territory. Seek out support systems, keep at it and live your life.

Don’t give all the power to the search and the employer. This is your career, your life path, and you offer something unique and valuable. Trust that, and use it to your advantage.

Sarah Landrum is a career expert and the founder of Punched Clocks. For more tips to accelerate your career, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on social media. You can find her tweeting tips and articles @SarahLandrum