Coping Skills for Anxious Job Seekers
Are you unemployed and looking for a job? Or maybe employed but your job is not secure?
There are many job situations which can rob you of the confidence to face the following day, week, month or year. If you’re in such a situation, you definitely can’t sit pretty.
You’re on the job hunt. Maybe discreetly so your boss doesn’t suspect it. If you’re unemployed, job hunting might be what you do all day.
If it takes you long to get a job, then this becomes a source of stress. The kind of stress which can lead to high levels of anxiety.
If this is not managed, it can as well lead to illness.
AVOIDING ANXIETY WHILE JOB SEARCHING
Fortunately, this is avoidable. You don’t have to struggle with anxiety while job searching.
In this article, we share some simple steps you can take to reduce the anxiety buildup which is common while job hunting.
As you will see, these tips will require you to make changes in some of your routines. Follow through with the advice and make your life better and more peaceful.
Apply for Unemployment Benefits
The first thing you should consider doing if you’re coming out of employment is to apply for unemployment benefits.
These will go a long way in helping you meet your financial obligations before landing another job.
Do not ignore this thinking that it’s only for retirement cases.
Since much of the stress while job hunting comes from the worries surrounding bills, unemployment benefits can help reduce the stress.
If you’re fresh from college, you may not qualify for this as it requires some employment record.
These benefits are usually provided by the state government.
With state laws being different, the amount you get may differ. You can get more information about this from the US Department of Labor on unemployment insurance.
Some states provide extended benefits. You can apply for these once the regular benefits are over and you haven’t gotten a job yet.
One important thing to do at this stage, is to reduce your expenses.
Keep Record of Jobs Applied For
If you’ve never been employed, you can consider this as the first step to take in your efforts to minimize the job search anxiety.
While looking for a job, it’s common to submit many applications. You’ll check out job boards, search newspapers and even Linkedin.
You can also get information from your friends about companies which are hiring.
You’re likely to apply for jobs according to your qualifications and interests.
At the same time, note that you don’t have to apply for all the jobs you find interesting.
That is not what will guarantee you a call for an interview.
This way, the number of application you make becomes easier to manage.
If you take the approach of as many applications as possible, you risk losing track of what jobs you have applied for. This is especially so for the applications submitted online.
With no records, you may end up applying for some jobs twice or not applying for some thinking you already did.
To avoid this, you should keep a record of the applications you make. The most important details are those about the job and the status of the application.
This is a very easy and straightforward thing to do. At the most basic level, you can use any spreadsheet program to make the record.
Here’s an image of how such a record could look like.
For every job interview, record where you’re invited for the interview as well as the date and time as a calendar appointment.
You can even set the calendar alarm to sound several hours or days before the time. This will help you prepare and get to the interview on time.
All you have to do is ensure you update the calendar as soon as you get an appointment. You can do this after updating your spreadsheet records.
For options about calendar programs, check out this list of great calendar apps.
Increase Your Odds of Getting Hired
Another way of minimizing the job search anxiety is by increasing your odds of being hired. You can do this quite easily without incurring much cost.
This is aimed at making you stand out from the crowd.
There are at least three things you can do:
1. Improve your resume – this is often the document which will introduce you to the recruiter and hiring manager. And in this period of using Application Tracking Systems (ATS), your resume may never get to the recruiter in the first place.
This is a sad reality for many job seekers. Recruiters and hiring managers seeking to reduce the number of applications they receive, have resorted to technology. But you can still get past the system. Just learn what to do when sending applications to an ATS.
2. Improve your cover letter – similar to the resume, your cover letter may have to go through the same system. For this reason, it is important to know how to write cover letters which will go past the ATS systems. This will at least get your application to be read by a human.
With your application before an actual human, you get the opportunity to wow them by your skills, qualifications, personality and experience—if any.
3. Improve your interview skills – since you’re looking for a job, it’s important to have some tips to help you improve your interview performance.
In fact, some of what you learn about interviews can come in handy while writing your resume.
One of the biggest causes of anxiety while job hunting lies in your mindset.
With fear often at the root of all anxiety, you may have gone out expecting to do your best and get a job soonest possible. When this doesn’t happen, then stress kicks in.
It’s very easy to avoid this situation. You however need to note that it requires considerable effort from you to train your mind accordingly.
From the very beginning, tell yourself that it’s possible not to get a job quickly.
This is not being negative.
Rather, you should think of it as being realistic. Also note that we’re talking of a possibility. It is not a certainty that you can’t get a job quickly; it’s just a possibility.
When you keep this in mind, you become less likely to get stressed out by not getting a job soon enough.
When this is planned for, it becomes difficult for it to be a heavy burden on you.
It becomes something you’re able to deal with; a situation you look forward to successfully handle.
Do Some Networking
As part of your job search, you should also engage in networking.
Not only does this increase your chances of getting a job, but also gets your mind off the wait. The more your mind is thinking about other things, the less anxiety you’ll have.
When networking, you’ll do well to stay positive and not rush to say that you’re looking for a job.
If someone asks you however, that’s your opportunity. Take it and make good use of it. To do that well, you’ll need to have an elevator pitch ready.
There are various ways in which you can network. Here are three that will be easy enough for you.
1. Do Volunteer Work – although job hunting can be very tasking, do not allow it to become your full-time job. Create time for doing volunteer work. Not only will this keep your mind free from anxiety, it will also add to your experience.
Volunteer work will cover the gaps you may have in your resume for time not employed. Furthermore, working as a volunteer is still working. There are people you’re dealing with. There are situations you’re handling. At the end of the day, you are developing yourself.
Volunteering is also a great way of giving back to the society.
More than that, the volunteer work is a platform for networking.
You’ll have colleagues who have working friends. You will hopefully interact with managers who may play a role in getting you a job. They may also agree to be listed as your referees.
As with any networking, the key is in developing and nurturing great relationships.
Give the work your all and let everyone know that you’re dedicated to what you do.
That way, there will be people ready to recommend you. They will desire to see you have better days ahead.
2. Attend Networking Events – these events are the best places to do your networking. These are places where people go to with one specific purpose—to network. Although the organizers may have a talk given before the actual networking, the goal remains the same.
In networking events, you should be ready to describe yourself and what you do.
Even though you’re job searching, that is not what you should say about yourself—at least not the first thing. Instead, find something to say which you’re currently doing as you search for a job.
Wondering what you can say? Just pick one of your strongest skills which you can offer as a service. That is the best thing to say you’re doing. Make sure it’s something you can offer immediately in case someone wants it.
For instance, if you have some IT experience, you could say that you are a freelance systems admin. If you have some accounting experience, you could say that you are a freelance accountant. If you have no work experience, then you’re a volunteer with a certain organization.
Mention the organization where you’re volunteering and share some experiences from that. Share the most interesting bits about your volunteer work.
The more memorable you are, the higher your success chances later on when you take the conversation further.
3. Attend Career Fairs – career fairs are quite common as both employed and business people seek to improve their chances in their roles. As long as you have settled in your mind which career path you’re following, it should not be difficult to find relevant career fairs.
As with the networking event, ensure you have something to say about yourself and not that you’re job searching. If this is what you tell someone you just met, they’ll take it to mean that they cannot benefit from you.
This is the biggest failure made by many people even when approaching potential employers and business partners on LinkedIn.
They rush to ask for favors from the people they recently connected with, resulting in being ghosted.
Remember that people attend networking events to make valuable connections. They are all looking out for people they can benefit from.
Although that makes them like you, be smart and give what you have first. That way, it will be easier to get what you ask for.
Take a Break
After doing all these, do yourself a favor and take a break from the job hunt.
Yes, you need to urgently get a job. You need to pay your bills. You need to practise what you learned in school for the sake of your career.
But did you know that taking a break benefits you more than constantly going through job listings?
When you’re constantly going through job boards, you are first of all hurting your eye sight. Your eyes need to be away from the computer screen for some time to maintain good health.
Your brain also needs some rest. Always processing information as it works to craft the perfect resume dozens of times can be tiring for it.
Remember that your mind and body need rest for them to give you good performance.
Here are five ways to enjoy some peaceful time away from the job search.
1. Cut Down on Social Media – social media has brought about big changes in the way we communicate. Looking at the history of communication, we have really come a long way.
And although being connected is very important, studies have shown that social media has a downside too. Too much social media is even causing depression.
You’ll face massive temptations to check your social accounts for updates from friends in the hope for a job offer. As true as that may be, most of the times you check for updates you won’t find one.
The constant checks and disappointments will worsen the situation you are in.
You’ll only be seeing friends posting pictures of themselves at work or with colleagues. Or maybe post pictures of themselves in places you cannot afford to go.
This will remind you that you don’t have money because you don’t have a job.
The best thing to do? Just stay away.
2. Try Some Hobbies – when was the last time you enjoyed your hobbies? Do you know what your hobbies are? In case you don’t, this could be a good time to discover them. Check out these hobbies which can give you something to mention during your upcoming interview.
The good thing about hobbies is that they are so many. You can also pick new ones if you enjoy them and drop those you no longer like.
Taking a break through enjoying your hobbies is a great way to avoid job search anxiety.
3. Do Some Cleaning – did you know that cleaning up your home can be a remedy for job search anxiety? This works in two ways. The first is the diversion of your attention from the job hunt to something else.
Since you’ll be doing something different from applying for jobs, your mind will experience the joy of doing something “new.”
Also, there is the benefit of having a clean and organized place. It might be just a single room, maybe your study or home office or the whole home. This facilitates clearer thinking and more peace of mind.
4. Exercise – exercises are well known to help in relaxation. As you burn calories and strengthen your muscles, you avoid fatigue and laziness. The more active you are, the more proactive you’ll be.
Endorphins, one of the hormones released during exercises will help you relax and reduce your anxiety levels. It will also help you get better sleep at night and increase your level of happiness.
5. Sleep – whatever you do, do not ignore sleep. Sleep is essential for your brain and body to function properly. Failing to get enough sleep reduces your productivity in the long run.
Sleep should also be planned for when planning your day.
You should not just go to bed at the end of the day. Plan to shut off electronics before sleep and at least read a printed book. Eat at least two or three hours before bedtime and keep the meal light.
Last thing to consider is the number of hours you sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be sleeping between 7 and 9 hours every day.
The process of seeking a job is never an easy one. But despite the frustration that often comes with it, you can make your case different.
Following the above tips and putting them to practice will reduce the anxiety which comes with job hunting.
Above all, the tip about volunteering is a great one to consider.
The experience you get during this time is very similar to when employed.
Volunteer work also shows that you are a responsible person. It says that you’re willing to serve.
This is a good quality to show any potential employer.
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