Do you overthink your job application to the point where you couldn’t eat or sleep for days? Does your fear of not finding a job keep you from being able to function normally? If you answered yes to these questions, what you’re experiencing is called job search anxiety.
You might think that you’re only worried, but worrying and anxiety are two entirely different psychological states. Worrying empowers you to solve the problem, while anxiety is more serious and it affects other areas of your life.
Symptoms of Job Search Anxiety
If you think that you have job search anxiety, look for these warning signs. Some of them are physiological, while others show through changes in your behavior. Please note that all of these symptoms are harmful to your well-being and can grow worse over time if they’re ignored.
- Being socially withdrawn
- Being too sensitive and emotional
- Feeling depressed and helpless
- Having trouble sleeping for several nights in a row
Causes of Job Search Anxiety
Among the most common causes of job search anxiety is feeling overwhelmed by how tedious the process can be. Applying to different companies means preparing and submitting different application requirements.
Some companies might require you to submit a portfolio, while others use different tests to gauge your knowledge and skills. And on top of all that, you need to customize your cover letter and resume. It’s a lot of work and it can definitely make an applicant, especially first timers, feel stressed and anxious.
Another common cause is feeling insecure about the other applicants. Too often, when we don’t hear back from recruiters, the first thing we do is compare ourselves to the competition. Doing this makes you doubt your capabilities and it breeds unhealthy thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough.” That belief gets stuck in your head like glue and soon enough, you’ll be losing sleep because of it.
Many of us are also “forced” to search for a job and that pressure can come from a lot of places. Some might be going through a financial crisis hence the need to secure employment as soon as possible, while others are pressured by family and peers.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t you. It’s possible that the position you’re applying for doesn’t suit you at all and you’re trying too hard to get it despite your lack of qualifications or whatever reason that makes you unfit for the job. This situation is impossible—it’s like forcing a square peg through a round hole. It’s frustrating and distressing.
Tips for Overcoming Job Search Anxiety
At times, you’re going to feel discouraged because you have been rejected or have been stuck in the pipeline for quite some time. It’ll be challenging, but you need to reframe your mindset in order to remain optimistic throughout the journey.
Instead of moping around because nobody is responding positively to your application, why not view the situation from a different perspective? Turn it into a learning experience that will help you ace your next application.
For example, ask the hiring manager what you could have done differently and what you should improve on. You might need to build more confidence or perhaps you’re missing out on some requirements. It’s also a great idea to look back on their questions during the interview and develop better answers for next time.
Despite the situation, motivate yourself to stop and smell the roses. Recognize your wins no matter how small they are. Review your portfolio and resume to remind yourself how far you have come. This will boost your confidence and morale.
Organize Your Job Search
Take out the overwhelm from your job search by keeping it organized. Track all of your applications, particularly what materials you have sent, which employers have gotten back to you, when to follow up, and so on. Here are different ways to do it:
- Go to Google Sheets to create a spreadsheet for your job search. Use it to track the jobs and companies you applied to, as well as other important information.
- Use Google Drive and Calendar to organize your files and schedules.
- Use a project management tool like Trello, Asana, and Monday.com.
- Use job management software such as JobHero, JobHuntBuddy, and Profilehunt.
Do Your Homework Before Sending an Application
Study shows that more than 90% of American job seekers feel nervous before an interview. A possible reason behind this is feeling unprepared. If this is what you’re struggling with, taking action is the best way to get rid of your negative thoughts.
Instead of ruminating, research about the position you want to apply for, as well as the company’s background. The more you know, the more prepared and confident you’ll be because you know exactly what the requirements are.
Not researching the company is among the few common mistakes that job seekers make. If you avoid this pitfall by studying all about the company including their vision and values, you’ll be able to craft a resume that matches the job description and a convincing cover letter.
Get Support From Your Friends or Loved Ones
If you feel emotionally depleted because you can’t seem to find any success in your job search, create a strong support system for yourself. Talk to family, friends, and other people that you trust. You can also reach out to career support groups or a career counselor. This
Take a Break
Don’t be afraid to take a break. It doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It only means you’re human. Take some time each week to step away from your job search and recharge. Exercise. Catch up on sleep. Do things that you love to do, whether it’s cooking, fishing, or going for a hike.
Reassess Your Career Goals
If it’s been several months or almost a year and you still haven’t had any success in your job search, you might want to revisit your career goals. It’s possible that the career path you’ve set yourself on is not the right fit for you. How will you know this?
- Talk to a career coach or counselor.
- Take online personality and career assessments.
- Review your academic and work history. Make a list of tasks and projects that made you feel excited and accomplished.
Improve Your Skills
Does your desired position require you to learn new skills? Thanks to technology, you can now easily access educational resources through the internet. There’s millions of content on almost every skill that you want to learn about and you can also take online courses for you to learn at your own pace.