Dealing with job search stress?
Everyone deals with stress on some level, at any given time in their lives. When you’re actively job hunting, your stress level is probably heightened.
Job search stress is a given when you’re job hunting. It comes with the territory, unless you’re very lucky and land a job you covet as soon as you start looking.
Job search ranks high on the list of major life events people dread because they come with such stress. It’s right up there with divorce, moving to a new area and public speaking.
Today’s search landscape is complicated and typically fraught with challenges, worries, setbacks, rejections and fears. Your stress level is likely to be elevated more often than not. You may find it hard to concentrate on even the littlest (but still important) things, let alone the big issues impacting your ability to land a job.
Or maybe you just had a great interview, it’s been several days or more, and you haven’t heard anything. You find yourself fretting about it. You can’t stop ruminating about your performance. “Did they like me enough?” or “Oh boy, I really blew that important question!”
Is money giving you the most job search stress?
For most job seekers, money is a main concern, especially if you’re unemployed, of course.
But Ken Sundheim, CEO of recruitment firm KAS Placement, suggests that, beyond money worries, job search stress often stems from less noticeable sources:
“It begins with control. There is an inherent lack of control any individual has during the recruitment process. I’ve noticed that the people who suffer significant stress during their job search are the people who tend to have more controlling personalities. Consider the following:
a. While searching for a job, you receive no feedback on why you are not invited to interview for a position, or why you don’t achieve a second or third interview.
b. You don’t know who your competition is.
c. You are kept in the dark during the phases of interviews. HR and hiring managers keep many cards close to their chests.
d. When dealing with a job search, hundreds of uncontrollable events can occur: economic shifts, internal hiring freezes, unexpected mergers and buyouts, etc.”
How good are you at decompressing and dealing with job search stress? Do you have some good tried and true tactics to distract yourself and regain focus?
I’ve pulled together advice from some experts on dealing with job search stress:
How To Deal With Job Search Stress
Alison Doyle, job search expert at The Balance, advises getting organized to ease the stress. To keep track of applications, networking outreach, and career events you’re planning to attend, she offers 10 ways to organize your search including:
- Creating a job application spreadsheet in Excel
- Using Google Spreadsheets and Calendar
- Creating a table in Word
- Using a job search management app and/or widget
Interviews generate lots of stress
According to Brian de Haaff, co-founder and CEO of Aha!, a provider of roadmap software, 73 percent of job seekers say that,
“Looking for a new job is one of the most stressful things in life. But it does make you wonder about the other 27 percent — how come they are not stressed? Maybe it is because they are the ones who are getting the second interviews.”
“When you are consumed by stress, it shows. You really, really want the job. So, you spend the interview searching for the right words to express this. You are focusing all your energy on what you think the hiring manager wants to hear — rather than telling the truth of your career experiences.”
And here’s what he advises doing differently in your next job interview:
- Do your research
- Tell a story
- Avoid canned responses
- Give it straight
Ease job search stress with self-compassion
Rebecca Muller, Assistant Editor at Thrive Global, cited organizational psychologist and career coach Adrienne Partridge, Ph.D., who advises being mindful of your self-talk, to boost your resilience and avoid negative thoughts when you face those inevitable setbacks:
“Continue to build self-compassion while on the job hunt — whether that means writing down your strengths on paper, or keeping a confidence mantra in mind throughout the process. “It’s natural to feel disappointed that you didn’t get a specific interview or that you didn’t get the offer you wanted. Instead of beating yourself up, consciously shift your inner dialogue.”
Time outs and other ways to deal with overwhelm
Bill Murphy Jr, contributing editor at Inc.com, described 17 things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed that easily apply to job search stress:
- Take an emotional time out.
- Take a physical time out.
- Breathe deeply.
- Be mindfully thankful.
- Pray or meditate.
- Phone a friend.
- Talk things over with your significant other.
- Write stuff down.
- Take a nap.
- Map your progress.
- Drink (water).
- Turn stuff down.
- Accomplish something different.
- Clean things up.