Tips To Overcome Job Search Anxiety
August 14, 2019
Job searches can often feel like they’re a mountain of anxiety that you’re struggling to climb. Whether you’ve just started your job search or you’ve been conducting it for quite some time, we all deal with job search anxiety at one point or another. It can be difficult to remain optimistic about a job search when you feel like everything you do is causing you to take two steps backward and you’re not finding any success. It’s important to not let this job search anxiety creep in or remain rooted, because it will severely impact your job search efforts over time and potentially impact the career opportunities that present themselves to you.
If you’re conducting your job search for the first time, or you’ve conducted several throughout your career the tips we will be highlighting to overcome your job search anxiety will help you reduce stress in your job search and take control. Overcoming job search anxiety is something that everyone has to do at one point or another as they conduct a job search. Even though you’re worried about your job search and the fruits of your efforts, a few simple methods or tips can rapidly help you overcome the anxiety you’re feeling.
Even the most confident individuals feel job search anxiety when they’re trying to find new job opportunities. The key to leading an effective job search is to identify the reasons you might be feeling anxiety, identify potential ways that you can overcome it, and then set them into motion. The good news is that overcoming job search anxiety doesn’t require a hundred step plan.
Anxiety left unchecked can almost create anxiety paralysis in your job searech, where you feel like you’re not up to pursing new job opportunities, submitting new applications, attending interviews, and more. Overcoming job search anxiety is as simple as changing up your routine slightly and then watching the results create themselves over time. You don’t have to rapidly change your outlook on your job search to reduce your anxiety, you just have to take small steps to find balance in the routine.
Signs of Job Search Anxiety
You might be concerned that you’re showcasing signs of job search anxiety but don’t know whether or not they’ve transformed into full blown anxiety or if you’re just slightly worried. Feeling concerned about your job search is something every job seeker goes through. Over time though, that stress can compound into anxiety that negatively impacts your job search each day and makes you second guess important decisions like submitting job applications to certain employers, ignore job postings, avoid professional networking, and more.
Everyone displays signs of anxiety in different ways, but there are some common indicators that pop up between each person. We’ve outlined some of the key signs that you’re beginning to develop job search anxiety or already have a case of it.
1. You Fear You Lack Experience
One of the first telltale signs that you’re experiencing job search anxiety is when you fear you lack experience needed to apply to a job posting or be considered for a job opportunity. An innate fear that you lack experience when applying to jobs is a telltale job search anxiety warning sign that you should pay attention to, before it becomes a massive problem in your job search efforts and your body starts to wear down from the fatigue it can cause.
We’ve all been in a scenario where we’re reviewing a job posting and we like what we’re seeing, and then we get to the requirements section. After reviewing the requirements section of the job posting, we identify things that cause us to rethink whether or not we’re willing to apply to the job posting. Requirements like mandatory skills, training, certifications, previous positions, or years of experience.
Even though job postings often have a set of minimum requirements for candidates, there is also often leeway with these requirements. If you didn’t match all requirements with every single job posting, you can disqualify yourself from potentially hundreds of job postings because you’re unwilling to take a chance.
Even though plenty of employers, recruiters, and hiring managers list requirements with job postings, they’re almost always willing to consider comparable experience or skills that could be substituted in and out. If you find that your fear of not having enough experience is causing you to completely skip out on these job postings and notice that you avoid taking a leap of faith in filling out job applications because of it, you have job search anxiety.
2. You Find Yourself Filling With Doubt
We’ve all had moments of doubt when we’re conducting a job search. You might think to yourself that you don’t have what it takes to fulfill a position or that there aren’t many solid job opportunities that you’re truly interested in. You might even think to yourself, “I won’t find a job where I’ll be happy.” This is a telltale sign of job search anxiety because you’re filling yourself with doubts and constantly trying to undermine where you are or what you’ve done throughout your career.
There’s no reason to feel those feelings of doubt or give any leeway to fostering them within your mind. It’s important to remain apprised of the job search anxiety warning signs that might pop up from time to time, because your body is attempting to give you a signal that something needs to change. You’ve got plenty of things to offer potential employers, and your experience makes you the ideal hire somewhere — you just have to find the right match. With our tips in this article, you can overcome this job search anxiety from crippling you in your job search efforts.
3. You Feel Overwhelmed About Being Unemployed
Do you feel like you just can’t catch a break in your job search and that you’ll be unemployed forever? The good news is that you’re not alone in this feeling. If you’ve been conducting a job search for a while, one of the nasty elements that can sneak up on you is the sensation that you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed by not collecting a paycheck. Often times we can get distracted and allow anxiety to creep in by how we perceive ourselves compared to others.
It’s easy to start getting overwhelmed when you think about your unemployed status and start to feel upset about how long it’s taking to find a job or receive call backs about your applications. It might seem like everyone else has a job, they’re happy in their position, and that because you’re unemployed you’re not doing enough.
Unfortunately, those are all negative thoughts that can have a lasting impact on your job search and will severely impact your ability to remain optimistic in the long run. There is nothing wrong with being unemployed for a time. Sometimes it can take a little bit of time to find a job opportunity, and in some cases it can take a little bit longer than others.
It doesn’t mean that you should be stressing out over it, because everyone’s job search is unique in their own right and we all go through durations where we’re unemployed for various lengths of time. Not everyone can jump from one position to another, and you should feel anxiety about having to wait a bit between each job in your career.
4. You’re Growing Impatient
Another telltale sign of job search anxiety is that you find yourself increasingly growing impatient with how long it seems to be taking to find a job. It’s important to remember that great opportunities take time to develop — including job opportunities. Even though your peers might be able to find a new job at the drop of a hat, you shouldn’t stress out over how long your job search is taking.
You might find yourself growing impatient about how long the applications take, the length of tim before you hear back about the job opening, the timeline for the consideration and hiring process, and more. Unfortunately, the job search process and candidate evaluation process takes time. More importantly, it’s something that you have no control over. You shouldn’t allow things that you can’t control to influence your feelings of anxiety.
Our tips will help you overcome job search anxiety with ease by making a few simple changes throughout your routine.
Ways To Overcome Job Search Anxiety
There are plenty of ways that job seekers can overcome job search anxiety with a few changes to their routine. Sometimes all it takes is a perspective change to overcome anxiety that’s been gripping you for weeks or longer. We’ll highlight some of the best ways to overcome job search anxiety below.
1. Spend Time With Others
One of the first ways that job seekers can overcome their job search anxiety is by spending time with others. Often times we can isolate ourselves during the job search process because we’re so focused on submitting applications and then not hearing back from them for long periods of time. To combat this, we often feel that we need to continue to focus our efforts by putting our heads down and submitting even more job applications. Unfortunately, one of the things that can happen is that our relationships with our friends, family, or others suffer over time because we’re so focused.
Searching for a job can also seem isolating because it often feels like a personal journey. Your friends, family, and peers aren’t submitting applications on your behalf. They don’t know what you’re looking for in a job opportunity, and they don’t know what kind of information that you’re looking for when it comes to your experience and skill set. It can feel like a solo journey when you’re submitting job applications, and that often carries over into your personal life because you feel like you’re going through the struggles alone.
While it is true that you’re submitting job applications on your own, conducting a job search doesn’t have to be a solo journey and you don’t have to isolate yourself. A lack of interaction with others can wear you down over time, and you need to get out of the comfort you might find in isolation and reach out to others.
When you’re conducting a job search, it’s important to maintain a healthy social life. You can feed off the enthusiasm of others and also get feedback and advice from them at the same time. You never know what kind of recommendations your peers might have, and they often prove to be a wealth of knowledge that you can use to make your job search a little bit easier. Your social circle might know of new openings, potential connections you can make, and offer feedback on how you might improve your efforts. In many cases, you’ve built up so much anxiety because you’ve isolated yourself so much that you just need to get it off your chest by talking to someone else. Spend some time with others to get some additional feedback on your job search efforts, talk about things that are stressing you out, and take your mind off of the job search for a little bit.
2. Visualize Your Success
One of the overlooked ways to overcome job search anxiety is to think about your future success. You might be thinking to yourself, “How am I supposed to think about my future success, when I can’t find any right now?” Often times, those who think they are going to fail, and those who think they are going to succeed are both correct. In other words, your mind is your reality and when you constantly think about your failures and the tall challenges you have ahead, it makes those bright moments and future success seem impossible. Instead, you need to turn your attitude around and start visualizing the success you will inevitably have.
Often times, we just need a jolt to spark our enthusiasm in our job search once again. One of the best ways to create that jolt is to use our imagination. Your thoughts and inner-imagination is a great way for you to create ideas and set a plan into motion for your job search and future career success. Take some time to take a break and imagine what your future career will look like. Think about all the benefits you’ll have working in that new role. Create mental images about the sights, the sounds, and the joy you get out of your future role. Imagine a day’s routine from start to finish. What do your responsibilities look like? What working environment are you in? Create a mental picture or scenario in your head and go through the motions of your future career.
Think of this as a relaxation moment where you can wash away all of the stress that’s been building up over a long period of time. Think about all the accolades you’ll have, the accomplishments you’ll achieve, and more.
You’ll find that visualizing your success will not only help you remove some of the anxiety that has been building up over time, but remind you of what kind of job opportunities you’re looking for. Reminding yourself about the future is also a great incentive to work towards that future and re-energize a job search that might have gotten deflated in recent times.
3. Gather Research To Prepare
One of the biggest reasons that we often feel anxiety in our job search is because we often feel unprepared. We feel unprepared when we’re about to go in for an interview. We feel unprepared that we’re not putting all the right information on applications, resumes, cover letters, and more. One of the best ways to overcome this type of job search anxiety is by gathering research and using it to your advantage.
Take some time to gather research on companies that you’re considering submitting an application to. There are plenty of helpful resources available to job seekers that often go underutilized. One such example is Glassdoor’s Interview section.
In the Glassdoor Interview section, people can post interview questions and answers they were faced with during their interview. This offers an inside look into what kind of questions might be asked, and how you might be able to respond to them and increase your chances of landing a job. In addition, you should consider gathering more research on the job responsibilities and duties before applying.
In doing so, you can relieve some of the anxiety that you might be feeling because you’re gathering more research to set yourself apart and prepare yourself for success. When you gather research before submitting an application, you can include extra details that speak to the position and highlight how you’d make a good fit. In the era of the modern job search, research is king when applying to jobs. Take advantage of the information you can gather to alleviate your job search anxiety.
4. Seek Emotional Support
As we’ve highlighted earlier, sometimes you need to rely on others to get rid of the anxiety you’re experiencing over your job search. One of the biggest challenges that can come from a lengthy job search is the emotional toll that it can take. You’ve been searching for a while and you can’t find any success — whether it’s the feeling that you’re not getting any callbacks or the letdown of getting an interview but not being able to move into the next consideration stage.
Our emotions can play tricks on us over time and develop into anxiety that’s pretty difficult to shake. This is why you should be open to the idea of seeking out emotional support when things get a little tough. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do things on your own, and opening yourself up to others is a great way to strengthen relationships by showcasing you’re vulnerable.
Take the time to reach out to a friend or family member and express your need for some emotional support. If they’re open to it, talk to them about how you’re feeling and why you’re struggling in your job search. You’ll often find that your friends and peers are always willing to lend and ear and provide some emotional support, because there is a wonderful feeling in helping someone else who truly needs it.
Often times, we can figure out our own emotional problems by just talking about them with someone else or by hearing it. When you’re constantly thinking about the same thing, it can feel like a mountain of emotions, but you need to chip away at them one at a time to remove the anxiety you’re feeling. You will also find that an outside perspective can help you identify emotional drawbacks that are keeping you from remaining energetic about your job search.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Research can help you out in your job search, but practice helps you prepare like no other in your job search. Spend some time making sure that your interviewing skills are polished. It’s a good idea to apply for some jobs that you’re open to, but might not be thrilled about. Even if you’re not seriously considering the position, going to an interview and practicing your interviewing skills is a great way to make sure that you’re ready for those jobs that you’re truly interested in.
The more you practice, the more you’ll be comfortable when the time comes to conduct an interview that matters. If you don’t want to apply for jobs that you’re not one hundred percent set on, then the next best thing is to reach out to friends and family and ask them to conduct a mock interview.
Mock interviews are also a great way for you to receive some outside feedback on how you carry yourself in interviews, how you answer common questions, and identify things that you can work on. Interviews can cause a lot of anxiety throughout your job search, and conducting mock interviews and practicing your interview answers is a great way to relieve that anxiety.
6. Only Worry About What You Can Control
One of the biggest causes of job search anxiety is the sensation that we can’t control the things we wish to control. Unfortunately, there are going to be plenty of things that you cannot control in your job search. You are not going to be able to control the response rate you receive for applications. You’re not going to be able to control the feedback you receive from employers and recruiters as you go through the interview process. And more importantly, you’re not going to be able to control the time it takes to find a new job opportunity.
There are going to be plenty of things that you can’t control throughout your job search, and you need to become comfortable in not getting bogged down by trying to control everything. Part of conducting a successful job search is letting things fall where they may, and often times that means you have to let go of the things that you can’t control like the rejection letters you might receive or ignored applications that go unanswered.
As a job seeker, you need to remind yourself that you can’t focus solely on the outcome of each application and that you should be more focused on the journey. Conducting a job search is also an opportunity to learn about yourself, the process, what you like and dislike about potential opportunities, and more. This means that you have a great opportunity to grow as you conduct your job search and control what opportunities you pursue in the future. You’re not going to be able to control how fast the HR department gets back to you on your application, but you can control things like your attitude, the research you conduct before submitting an application, and the way you carry yourself in an interview. Focus on what you can control instead of getting bogged down in the things that you have no control over.
7. Take a Break
One of the best things you can do to overcome your job search anxiety is to simply take a break and relax for a moment. Even though you can apply to jobs from everywhere, albeit your phone, laptop, or somewhere else — that doesn’t mean you should do so. You should establish a routine that clearly sets your boundaries and offers you plenty of opportunities to take a moment to relax or take a break.
The more you focus on your job search outside of designatied hours or a designated routine, the more it will wear you down over time. The more it wears you down over time, the more your anxiety will rise as well. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break to relax and recharge. In fact, it’s necessary to stay sane during your job search. There are plenty of ways that you can relax and recharge like reading a book, watching television, hanging out with friends and family, or taking a night out on the town.
It might seem like a challenge to take a break because you’re stressing out over finding a new job, but it’s a critical step to making sure that you can pursue new opportunities with renewed enthusiasm. Establish a schedule that gives you ample time to take breaks and creates a routine that you can easily follow when conducting a job search.
8. Set Attainable Goals Each Day
Another fantastic way of lowering your job search anxiety and eventually overcoming it is to make sure that you have set attainable goals for yourself each day. Finding a new job means that you’re also setting up realistic expectations for yourself. In doing so, you’re preparing yourself for the future success, instead of setting yourself up for disappointment when you inevitably fall short of lofty expectations.
As an example, you shouldn’t expect to receive callbacks for an interview for an executive position when you’ve only recently held entry-level roles in your career. That’s an unrealistic goal that you are setting yourself up to fail. Attainable goals don’t have to be gigantic things that you can’t possibly complete in a daily routine either. For instance, you shouldn’t expect yourself to submit a hundred applications a day. The emphasis is making sure that the goals you set for yourself are one hundred percent attainable each day, with a little bit of work.
Some attainable goals that you can set for yourself are three to five applications a day or every other day. Attainable goals are a great way to keep your job search on track, and reward yourself for a good work ethic when you accomplish those goals each day. It’s important to remember that your job search is a journey — a marathon and not a sprint. If you set an attainable goal for yourself like three to five applications everyday or every other day, by the end of the week you will have submitted a potential 21 to 35 job applications. That is a massive victory for you and your job search.
Setting attainable goals is a great way to remind yourself of how far you’ve come in your journey, and how you can continue to set yourself up for success with a routine you can follow.
9. Identify What Sets Off Your Anxiety
The next way to overcome job search anxiety is to identify what sets your anxiety off. There are going to be some things that trigger your job search anxiety to go into overload when you’re not expecting it. By identifying the things that set your anxiety awry, you can work towards combating those anxiety triggers. Take some time to think critically about what sets of your anxiety. Are you doing certain actions that make you worry more about your job search or job status more than others?
For instance, if you’re applying to a company that you’ve never heard of versus one you’re familiar with, do you find that you get more nervous in one scenario or another? The more you can identify which things cause you to feel anxious in your job search, the more likely you are to combat those feelings of anxiety and feel confident throughout your job search.
10. Seek Professional Help
Sometimes, no matter what we do we just can’t overcome the job search anxiety. If you feel that you’re not capable of making some subtle changes in your lifestyle or changing your perspective on certain job search anxieties, then one of the next things you can do is seek professional help. There are plenty of individuals throughout the world that deal with severe anxiety issues, and they need professional help that can identify whether or not you have an anxiety disorder or if there are additional steps you can take to reduce the anxiety you’re feeling.
A mental health professional is a great way of interacting with someone from an outside perspective who can help you potentially identify anxiety triggers that we mentioned earlier. In addition, they can help you address some of the concerns you’re feeling throughout your job search, and identify ways that you could potentially improve those anxiety feelings that you’re experiencing.
Subtle Changes Can Reduce Your Job Search Anxiety
As we’ve mentioned several times, the key to overcoming your job search anxiety is by making subtle changes over a long period of time. You don’t have to make rapid changes that throw your life into chaos at the drop of a hat. Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective or some outside feedback on ways you can increase the success of your job search strategy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and you’ll overcome your job search anxiety in no time.