How to Navigate Job Search Anxiety: 6 Tips for Staying Calm and Collected

Feeling overwhelmed by your job search? You’re not alone. 

According to a study, post-COVID-19 pandemic nearly 50% of job seekers reported experiencing significant anxiety during their job search due to various constraints and uncertainties. 

The pressure to quickly secure a job can often lead to feelings of stress, guilt, and shame. But it’s important to remember that taking your time doesn’t mean you’re lazy or falling behind; it means you’re making intentional choices to find a job that suits you, your values, and your needs. 

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s crucial to highlight the importance of mental well-being during this process. In this article, we’ll share 6 proven strategies designed to enhance your job search and alleviate anxiety, all, without adding any additional pressure. 

1. Create a Healthy Schedule and Routine

Burnout from job searching is real. When you’re in the thick of it, job hunting can take over your life. This is why a balanced schedule comes in handy, allowing for organization and self-care. Rather than spending all day applying to jobs, set specific times for job hunting and ensure you take regular breaks. Quality over quantity is key here– you don’t have to apply to 100 jobs per week by spraying and praying. You know yourself best, and apply to jobs that fit both your schedule and values over a realistic timeline. 

Pro Tip: Set a realistic goal like applying to 2-3 jobs per day and make sure to carve out time for activities that you enjoy like seeing friends, working out, or enjoying hobbies.

2. Set Small, Realistic Goals

Thinking about job searching as a whole can feel like a daunting task. Break down the job search into manageable steps in order to prevent that overwhelming feeling. For instance, set micro-goals like updating your resume, refining your Linkedin profile, and applying to a realistic amount of jobs each week. 

Example Goal: Send out ten resumes per week or aim for one informal interview or networking conversation per day. Small, achievable goals will keep you motivated to move forward with the job search process. 

3. Ask for Help and Build a Support Network

Asking for help isn’t something to be ashamed of. In fact, it can be crucial to a successful job-searching experience. Networking, mock interviews, and resume reviews with friends are valuable resources. Don’t hesitate to lean on your community; talking with friends and your network about your job search experience can provide both relief and valuable insights. Your friends and network might be going through a similar experience themselves, helping you feel less alone. 

Pro Tip: If someone you know can help you take your LinkedIn photo or conduct a mock interview with you, take the opportunity. Job hunting feels less lonely when you connect with others. 😀

4. Learn New Skills

Life is a continuous learning experience. Use the job search period to grow professionally. There are countless online courses and resources available to help you learn new skills. This not only improves your resume but also boosts your self- confidence. 

Personal Insight: Reflect on a time when you learned a new skill and how it benefited your career. This could be when you decided to take a public speaking course. Public speaking can be intimidating, but can be important for career advancement. Through this course, you learned techniques to manage your anxiety, structure your speech effectively and engage your audience confidently. As a result, you became more comfortable presenting in meetings, workshops and representing your company at conferences. This can inspire you to take on new challenges during your current job search. 

5. Practice Self-Compassion and Avoid Perfectionism

Being kind to yourself is essential in general but especially when you’re going through a more challenging time. Avoid the urge to lean toward perfectionism and focus on what you can control. Take time to learn and improve every time you submit an application. Remember that it’s also okay to submit an imperfect resume or take interviews simply for practice. Each and every time, you will get better and feel more and more confident in your abilities. ❤️

Mantra: “I will land a great position, it’s just a matter of time.” Embrace progress, not perfection and celebrate both your efforts and accomplishments. 

6. Reflect and Celebrate Small Wins

Sometimes we look at the end goal without ever celebrating the steps we took to get there. Take time and reflect on your journey, celebrating the small wins along the way. Rejection can feel defeating, but recognizing each step forward will help you to become stronger, more confident, and closer to your dream position. 

Pro Tip: Write down something you learned or tried in each application process that was new. This can assist in helping you see the value in each application, even if you don’t

Remember, the job search is a marathon, not a sprint. Embrace the journey and find joy in the little moments along the way. Explore new interests, connect with others and celebrate your progress. Trust that the right opportunity will come at the right time. With a balanced approach and self-compassion, you can manage job search anxiety effectively, and who knows? You might even have fun with it.

Stay patient– your dream job is out there and you’re on the path to finding it, it’s just a matter of when! 

Kaileigh Klein is a creative and analytical person who mixes her passions for both the creative side and...