A job search is tough. The process is unpredictable and can place a significant burden on your mental health.
According to a survey done by recruiting company Randstad USA, 82% of job seekers described their search experience as stressful. That's NOT good!
Many candidates find themselves surprised by the emotional demands of a job search. Many focus all their attention on tasks like résumé writing and interview preparation, while failing to implement the strategies and actions that would help them manage the pressure and stay committed to the process.
The good news is that you can avoid making this same mistake. Whether you are just about to launch a job search or are already knee-deep in one, here are some basic tips to help manage job search stress and anxiety while preserving your peace of mind.
1. Have a Designated Workplace
Technology (aka smartphones and tablets) make it easy to work on your job search from anywhere, but if you don’t choose a dedicated work area, you run the risk of tainting places in your home that were previously associated with sleep, relaxation or entertainment with the stressful emotions of searching for a job.
A room with a desk is ideal, but if you don’t have one, choose a kitchen or dining table over working in your bedroom or on your couch. Sometimes a library or coffee shop is best too! Sticking to just one work space takes discipline, but it’s important. You will find it easier to recharge when you maintain separation between your job searching and personal downtime.
2. Stop the Negative Self-Talk / Sabatoge
There are few experiences in life that trigger insecurity and lack of confidence more than a job search. I want you to understand that NO ONE PERSON has the perfect skills for every job. Yes, your unanswered emails will feel like rejection and it’s basically impossible to nail all the questions during interviews.
We all feel inadequate or regretful at some point in a job search. However, these uncomfortable moments can serve as an opportunity to build your skills at turning negative chatter into self-compassion.
The beginning of this is by monitoring your thoughts, especially when you are feeling sad or agitated about your job search progress. I suggest recording your feelings in a journal. Then isolate negative opinions that undermine your confidence. For example, if you keep thinking “I’m terrible at interviewing” or “I failed to build a good enough network,” redirect those thoughts into something nicer and more productive, such as “wow, I’ve come a long way with my interviewing skills and I’ll only get better” or “I’m so glad I learned the importance of networking as I know there are people out there that can assist me.”
3. Take Breaks from Selling Yourself
Yes, this process is about selling yourself. To land a job, you have to sell others on the value of your skills and abilities and past experiences. But living in that “sell mode” all the time is exhausting, especially if you forget to turn it off when you get home. Set times aside in your calendar that you perform a job search and times where you don't even think about it and are distracting yourself.
It’s IMPERATIVE to project confidence during a job search. If you seem convinced that you are capable and qualified, you have a much better shot at getting the job.
While companies commend a willingness to be real and authentic as an employee, they rarely reward candidates for showing vulnerability during the hiring process. Often a person that sells themselves better can beat out a more experienced applicant (which for introverts can be hard).
It's totally natural during a job search to want to camouflage feelings of fear and self-doubt. Just make sure you have at least one person in your life with whom you can share your disappointing job search stories (try not to make it a spouse). You’ll need an outlet to blow off steam and a place where you can seek support on rough days.
With a little planning and effort, you CAN land your next new and better job, all while protecting your mental health and well-being. You just have to plan accordingly and learn to take care of yourself!