6 Tips For Managing Job Search Stress

Stressed out by the job search? Anxious about what’s on the other side? You’re not alone. Fear, frustration, and general tension (both physical and emotional) are common side effects of the effort to identify your next role. But there are ways to counteract them. Related: 10 Creative Ways To Beat Career Stress Fortunately, there are time-testing techniques for managing this stress, which I call the six P’s (not to be confused with the four P’s in the marketing world). They are planning, persistence, perspective, positivity, physical attentiveness and “phriends and phamily."


1. Planning

Create a long-term plan for your search, recognizing that it may take several, or more months to land a role. Once you’ve set a goal for a reasonable period of time in which to obtain a position, estimate how many contacts, and interviews you may need to generate during this time to achieve your goal of at least one job offer. Break this down into monthly and weekly figures, then even to a daily summary. You want to know how many calls, how many letters, how many networking contacts will be required on a daily basis to attain a position. Assume a conservative average “hit” rate of one interview per 15 resumes sent, and one interview per 15 contacts generated. On the positive side, assume that half that number-1 in 8-interviews may yield an offer (since you already made it to the interview stage).

2. Persistence

Stick with it. Don’t enthusiastically start the search by sending out a lot of resumes but then slow down due to lack of response. Remain consistent in your efforts to build contacts, pursue opportunities, and bring your best self to interviews. Just like a diet, these techniques only work if you keep on working them.

3. Perspective

Be realistic; statistics are on your side (even an unemployment rate of 6% means that 94% of eligible workers are employed). The unemployment rate is declining and, if you are reading this, you are likely a determined, focused job seeker. Believe in yourself and keep in mind that success favors the prepared job candidate.

4. Positivity

You’ve heard it a thousand times, but viewing your efforts from a positive perspective really makes a difference. Instead of criticizing yourself about a less-than-successful interview or a quiet month with respect to resume responses, encourage yourself with specific, positive feedback from mock interviews with friends or your college career center. Look for ways to find positivity in your life in general, too, like seeking out laughter (which has been shown to have stress-related healing properties) and continuing to pursue your favorite hobbies.

5. Physical Attentiveness

How many of us let our bodies go during the job search process? It’s critical to get enough sleep and to eat right during this time, including getting exercise (even going out for walks) and making time to treat our bodies well. Whether it’s getting a massage, trying aromatherapy or doing yoga, taking care of ourselves helps to relieve the tension that inherently accompanies the job search process. If we neglect our health, we are just adding to the stress we already feel. Tai Chi and meditation can work wonders, too.

6. Phriends And Phamily

While not technically a “p," the support of friends and family can be life-giving during the pressure of the job search. Communicate frequently with those who care, being attentive to avoid isolating yourself due to not wanting to discuss the situation. Conversely, avoid those “toxic” types who may bring you down with negative comments or fatalistic thinking. Surround yourself with those who support and believe in you. If you can keep these tips in mind, you’ll find the stress of the job search process to be significantly lessened. You may even identify a position sooner since you are more “phocused” than ever before! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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