Carrera Salud Mental

Unemployed and stressed

10 tips to handle an effective and stressless job search

It’s impossible to remove stress from job searching. According to scientists, some level of stress is important for our survival and is what keeps us moving forward. Therefore, a little dose of stress is necessary in life. The problem is when there is an overdose of it. And during a job search that’s very likely to happen unless you find a way to convert the stress into your ally. That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article.

Is it possible for a job seeker to control or even avoid feeling stressed and anxious? How?

I have put together 10 tips to help you handle an effective job search keeping stress and anxiety aside. Bear in mind that what works for one person does not necessarily work for everyone, so read it carefully and take the advice that makes sense for you.  

1- Set up your unemployment benefit – Practical details first.

One of the major sources of stress is worrying about our financial situation. Take care of the practical details first: get information on unemployment benefits. Some countries offer recovery programs and financial aids for people unemployed. If you’re eligible: the first thing you should do is to set it up. 

This can give you some financial security and income while you’re searching for your next job. 

2 – Set up your job search schedule and stick to it.

Your job search is a job. It can be full time or part time, depending on your employment situation. It’s very important to set up a job search schedule and stick to it. 

If you’re unemployed: looking for a job should be a full time job. From 9am to 5pm, 1h break, or the arrangement that works best for you.

If you are employed looking for a differente challenge, better work conditions or career growth, consider your job search as your second, part time job. 

Having a schedule helps you focus on what matters when it matters instead of being thinking about your job search all the time, everyday nonstop. That gives you a sense of control and routine.

3 – Define your job search strategy and an action plan.

Before starting to send resumes all over, define your job search strategy and the action plan to get there. 

A big part of the anxiety is because we tend to focus on the final outcome: getting a job ASAP instead of acting on all the steps we have to follow until getting a job offer. It’s most likely that your new job will not happen from one day to another, unfortunately.

It usually takes time, preparation, several applications, interviews and meeting with people that may help you. Many steps need to occur before you get a job offer. Set up your action plan and focus on the steps that will take you where you want to be.

Some questions that may help you design your plan:

What types of jobs are you looking for? Where? Office based or remote? What’s your salary expectations? Does your resume need a review? What about your Linkedin profile? What are the best job board websites for your search? Who could help you find your next job?

Those are some questions that help you define your strategy and plan your job search. Break the big plan into milestones, that’s much easier to track and maintain the focus. 

4- Organization is key.

Keep a record of your applications and interview process status – you don’t wanna lose track of the process you’re in.

And most importantly: celebrate the achievements. Every step you overcome in the process, an invitation for an interview, meeting more people in the company, approving the technical test, scheduling a coffee with that person that will introduce you to a big boss… every small thing must be celebrated because it means you’re getting closer to your final goal.

5- Set your boundaries: role and company fit matters. A lot.

This is my favorite one. It’s extremely important to ensure you’re going in the right direction, applying to the correct companies and talking to the right people. To that, you need to know your boundaries and respect them.

What do you like about your job? | What don’t you like about your job | What can you tolerate? Think about it. Write down your answers. That’s your manifesto and helps you keep on track, heading to what makes sense to you and avoid losing time in recruitment processes that do not fit you. . 

6 – Prepare and practice your interview answers. 

HR people start calling you to schedule interviews. It’s time to prepare your answers. Feeling confidence is important and a great way to feel it it practicing your pitch. There is plenty of information available online on how to prepare your interviews. 

Define your pitch: Who you are? What are you looking for? Why? Why are you the best person for this job? Because you know you are. 

Have your elevator pitch ready. You’ll never know who you’ll meet in the supermarket, or in the coffee shop, right? Having your pitch ready reduces a lot of your anxiety because it gives you a sense of control: you’ll feel confident to pitch yourself to anyone. 

7 – Do other stuff. Keep your routine as normal as possible.

Being obsessed with your job search is terrible. You’re allowed to enjoy our life and your time off. Go for a walk, read a book, hang out with your friends and family, do some exercise, watch a movie on Netflix. You have the right to enjoy some free time as everyone else.  When you’re working, you take breaks, right? You must and need to. Therefore, apply the same rule now that your job is to search for a job: take a break.

Having a break is extremely important for your mind and body to rest and recover energy to continue later. 

8 – Ask for support and assistance: other people can help you.

Talk to other people if you start feeling bad, heavily stressed or hopeless and are feeling lost about what you’re doing or what you should do…If you have a supportive community, share your concerns with your family and friends. Being in touch with other job seekers can also help since you can share experiences and knowledge to support one another.

If you don’t find a supportive community or realize you need professional help, contact a career counselor or a psychotherapist. They can be of greater help to navigate your job search and manage stress. 

9 – Know how the hiring process works.

This is a very practical tip. Researching how the recruitment process works helps to balance expectations and manage your anxiety. Knowing the steps helps you feel like you have some control over it. 

Ask the recruiter about the process: what’s happening next? How many interviews? How long will the process take?

10 – Unemployment sucks, but could also be an opportunity.

The last one. It’s not a real advice rather something to think about.

Searching for a new job is inherently stressful, there’s a lot on the table and our professional life is a very important part of us. You may be thinking that having to search for a new job is a big issue in your life, a problem you’d prefer not to have now. And I agree with you, would be better to skip it, right?

However, that’s what you have right now, so, what if you embrace the possibilities? Change the way you look at it. Could it be a new opportunity? A new beginning to do what you really want, or to make more money, or living a new challenge, moving to a different city, start your own business… Perhaps it’s an opportunity to do that thing you’ve been thinking about for a long time but didn’t’ have the guts or the opportunity to make it happen. Have you thought about it that way?

Taking care of your mental health matters a lot to get you a good new job

Studies have shown that high levels of stress are correlated to low employment quality. Job search fatigue is related to quit intentions, low commitment and reemployment quality.

People living high levels of stress during their job search may end up in low quality jobs, bad remuneration and feeling a general misfit, leading to an early drop out or fired and back to unemployment; or employed but searching for a new job. And the whole process starts over.

You don’t wanna be there, right? 

Taking care of your mental health while looking for a job matters a lot to get a good new job. I’m sure you don’t want to land in a trap job because you were completely overwhelmed, frustrated, feeling hopeless and impatient and accepted any job offered to you just to get out of the uncertainty.

I hope those tips will help you handle your job search process and reduce or at least control your stress and anxiety. 

If you think that a professional help may be necessary to help you navigate this process in a better and healthier way, leave me a message. One of my services is career counseling and I’ll be glad to guide you through your change process.

Take care.

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