By Andrew Fennell
The prospect of a new job can be very exciting, but actually securing the role can be a lot less fun. With so much to consider and your future riding on the outcome, it’s easy to become stressed when searching for a job, no matter how experienced you are.
But letting stress get the better of you won’t make finding a new job any easier. In fact, it could end up costing you promising career opportunities. I have found that it is not uncommon for people to sabotage themselves during the application process because of their stress.
The good news is, there are several steps you can take to reduce your stress and increase your chances of a productive job search.
Have a clear plan in place
One of the best ways to reduce job search stress is to get a strong plan in place to guide you.
The first thing I recommend when starting a job search is to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable objectives. For example, your first goal could be updating your résumé, your second could be writing a strong cover letter, and your third could be applying to at least five jobs a week. By writing down all your smaller goals and having a clear plan in place, you’ll feel calmer and more in control of the situation.
Focus on the outcome
When it comes to the job hunt, there are lots of little elements that add up to make a successful search. For example, you have to update your résumé, apply to jobs, arrange interviews, and practice your interview techniques—all while juggling multiple applications and tailoring each résumé you submit.
This can feel understandably overwhelming.
In order to get past this, I recommend taking each application and interview as it comes and focusing only on the ideal outcome—landing the job you want. In doing so, you will feel calmer and more collected, which will reflect in your writing, conversation, and demeanor throughout your job search.
Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s no secret that the job market can be competitive, especially when you’re applying for desirable jobs. All of this competition can lead you to compare yourself to others in your industry or other potential candidates, which in turn can exacerbate your stress.
If you feel yourself falling into the trap of comparing yourself to others, you need to bring the focus back to yourself and the overall goal. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is the person you were (March 24, 2023). Always be thinking about the ways you can boost your skills, perfect your résumé, and generally drive yourself forward in your career. If you’re always taking positive steps toward achieving your goals, you are less likely to compare yourself to others as you’re focusing on yourself.
Whether you’ve fallen out of love with your job, you’re being made redundant, or you’re just ready for a change, the thought of being left jobless or having to stay in your current role can be daunting.
However, this doesn’t mean you should fill every free hour you have by applying to as many jobs as you can and attending interview after interview. This is going to lead to burnout and frustration, particularly if you’re still simultaneously managing your day job.
So as well as job hunting, be sure to prioritize self-care by taking some time out each day to do something you enjoy. This might be watching your favorite TV series, going for a run, having a coffee with friends, or meditating. Whatever it is, practicing self-love and care can help you approach your job search feeling happier and more energized, which can reduce stress and increase your chances of finding a job.
Always be aware of your strengths and achievements
Finally, it’s important that you are aware of your strengths and achievements and what makes you a desirable employee. You should never forget what you’ve already accomplished in your career, particularly if it’s taking longer for you to land a job than you hoped.
Don’t let stress dishearten you. Just think about how far you’ve come in your professional career and how you can make an impact going forward. This will also help you to highlight your top skills and achievements when writing your résumé or interviewing with a potential employer.
If you follow these five steps, you will reduce your job search stress and make the whole experience more pleasant. You might even find that taking a calm and collected approach speeds up the process and helps you land a job more quickly.
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and career advice website. He is also a former recruitment consultant.