Are you feeling anxious about your job search? You're not alone. The competition for jobs is fierce and the search can be grueling.
In this article, we’ll cover the warning signs that you may be experiencing job search anxiety and the ways to reduce it.
What is job search anxiety?
Many job seekers experience anxiety, or a state of dread and unease, as they work toward securing a new job. This can be caused by a series of things, including the rejection that comes with applying, the uncertainty of the future, and the stress associated with interviewing.
Job Search Anxiety Warning Signs
It’s important to know the difference between the frustration and nerves that happen during any job search and the anxiety that can impact your mental health.
Here are some warning signs that you may be experiencing job search anxiety:
- Difficulty getting out of bed and/or focusing
- Increased irritability
- Disinterest in usual hobbies
- Feelings of helplessness and/or worthlessness
- Cluttered and/or dirty space
It’s important to note that these feelings can arise for anyone during the job search process. It becomes a more important issue once it persists and impacts your ability to live your daily life, as you used to.
In the next section, we’ll cover ways to reduce your anxiety and regain control over your job search.
How to Deal with Job Search Anxiety
Follow a routine.
When you have a full-time (or even part-time) job, you’re expected to stick to a schedule. That can be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., or something else. The point is, you stick to those hours.
When it comes to searching for a new job, treat that as your job. This means working for a set number of hours, taking regular breaks, and clocking out at the end of the day.
The issue many job seekers face during the job hunt is that it bleeds into their everyday lives. Just as it’s important to have work/life balance, it’s key that you follow a routine that allows you to disconnect.
This will ensure you have time to nurture yourself outside of “work” through socializing, hobbies, and more.
2. Fit in small wins in your schedule.
When you’re looking for a job, you’re not just looking. You’re sending emails, researching companies and hiring managers, reaching out to your network, making new connections, and more.
It can be overwhelming and that can translate into anxiety.
As you tackle your tasks throughout the day, fit in some wins that will keep you motivated. This can be related or unrelated to your job search, like:
- Reading a chapter from a new book.
- Connecting with someone in your industry on LinkedIn
- Getting to a new level on Duolingo.
Whatever it is that you can accomplish and brings you joy, fit it into your schedule.
Pro-tip: Schedule it whenever you tend to experience slumps in your day. The boost of energy you’ll get is arguably better than any cup of coffee.
3. Remember that it’s not personal.
Looking for a new job means facing rejection.
Although it’s hard to keep this in mind, there are so many factors and variables – outside of your control – that impact the candidates hiring managers consider for a role. As such, just because you were rejected, doesn’t mean the team didn’t like you.
Catch yourself when you think or say things like “What am I doing wrong?” Instead, take every interaction with companies as an opportunity to learn.
It can also help to remember that every “no” gets you one step closer to your “yes.”
4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
When you find an opportunity that seemingly aligns with what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get excited and start to fantasize about it.
Say you get to the third round of an interview process. You may stop interviewing elsewhere because you have faith that this one will work out. Resist that urge.
As mentioned before, there are countless factors that influence hiring managers’ decisions. Don’t commit to one company unless they’ve committed to you via a job offer.
Operating with flexibility and adaptability will allow you to stay motivated despite the disappointment that can come with job searching.
5. Destress every day.
Once you’ve clocked out for the day, it’s important to participate in activities that will destress your nervous system and re-energize you.
While you may be tempted to go on social media, don’t. Often, we end up distracting ourselves with stimuli from binge-watching Netflix or scrolling on TikTok rather than relaxing.
Here are some better alternatives:
- Go for a walk, run, or bike ride in nature.
- Listen to music or a podcast.
- Color or read a book.
- Catch up with friends and family.
- Complete a puzzle or sudoku.
- Play board games.
6. Switch up your strategy.
If your current strategy still has you feeling anxious, switch something up.
For example, maybe sitting at home all day isn’t productive for you. Perhaps, you’ll work better at a coffee shop or in a park.
Not getting much traction with your resume? Try hiring a resume writer or having a colleague review it.
It’s common to feel stuck during the job search, which can lead to anxiety. Adapting your strategy can help ease some of this and make you feel empowered during your process.
7. Ask for help.
If you find yourself still struggling and don’t know where to go next, reach out for help.
Job search anxiety is incredibly common and you shouldn’t face it alone. Consider reaching out to a therapist who can help you discover new ways of experiencing this journey.
Within your own community, reach out to friends and family. While they won’t always understand what you’re going through, they can offer the support you need.