By its very nature, job searching can be stressful. It’s natural to have some job search anxiety.
You need a job, but don’t have one. You apply for jobs, but sometimes don’t hear back from employers. The situation can leave you feeling icky and unsettled. So it’s natural that when you’re under this type of duress that anxiety can start kicking in. Thing is, you don’t have to give in to the pressure and instead can learn how to channel it elsewhere.
If your hands are feeling a little clammy and you’re feeling overwhelmed, learn how to reduce job search anxiety.
Here’s how to reduce job search anxiety in six steps:
Step 1. Maintain your perspective.
When you’re in the throes of a job search, it can feel like an eternity. And once frustration and anxiety rear their ugly heads, well, it’s easy to start feeling the stress.
But it’s important to keep in mind that your job search won’t last forever—even if it feels like it will. Eventually, you will find a job that puts some pep in your step and that makes you happy.
So just try to hang in there and make the most of your job searching time by finding some ways to make it interesting or fun.
Step 2. Take a break.
You’re taking your job search very seriously. That’s why you spend most of your “workday” looking for, you know, work.
Thing is, it’s easy to burn out if you spend too much time job hunting. Remember to take breaks throughout the day (it’s best to get up from your desk and score some physical exercise when you can), and set aside at least one day on the weekend (if not both) where you’re not scanning job listings or working on creating the ultimate job application.
Depending on how long you’ve been job hunting, you might start to feel anxiety simply because you’ve been doing it too long. Set a timer if need be to remind yourself to take a break and take care of yourself.
Step 3. Set goals and deadlines.
A job search can feel infinite when there’s no clear finish line. To give yourself something to work toward, why not try setting smaller, more manageable goals along the way? After all, setting the goal of “Find a flexible job” can overwhelm anybody.
But if you set this week’s goal to redesign your resume, and the next to update your cover letter, and the following one to work on your LinkedIn profile, suddenly the all-encompassing stress of finding a job seems much more doable.
Step 4. Savor the success.
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 Skype interviews under your belt, or perhaps you’ve learned how to answer those troublesome interview questions that are designed to trip up any job seeker.
So don’t forget 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.
Step 5. 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, there are many things that 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 or constantly re-designing your cover letter) 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.
Step 6. Know when it’s serious.
Sweating. Shaking. Chest pain. Intense fear. If you’ve ever suffered an anxiety attack, you know that it’s no joke. So if you’re feeling that your anxiety is getting out of control, it might be time to talk to someone about it.
Sure, you can 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. But if you’ve tried everything and your anxiety persists, it could be a good idea to speak to a professional about it. It might be that your job search is making your pre-existing anxiety worse.
There’s no denying that a job search can be stressful. But don’t let it get to the stage where you’re feeling anxious every time you sit down to search. Try following some of the tips above to make it manageable and you might even be able to (gasp) enjoy your job search.
Courtesy: Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer