Job Search Anxiety - Reasons and Ways To Overcome

Has the very thought of searching for a job induced anxiety in you? If yes, realize you are not the only person experiencing job-searching anxiety.

Many job seekers experience a feeling of shallow breath, panic, and tension in the body when thinking about job hunting and interviews. And your inner voices become hyperactive, questioning your confidence levels and convincing you of impending failure.

So what causes this job-searching anxiety, and how could you effectively overcome this?

The common causes of job search anxiety are – No response for your job applications, Lots of preparation work, Competition from other applicants in the job market, Failing to clear interviews, and Not getting a job offer after the final interview. You can effectively deal with job search anxiety by staying positive, creating a schedule with deadlines, preparing well, and reminding yourself during difficult times that it’s a process.

Some stress or anxiety is beneficial to a certain level, and it keeps us motivated and forces us to perform our best.

But anxiety can be harmful when it stops you from progressing forward and you stop looking for jobs. The trick is not to avoid anxiety-inducing situations but to learn to deal with anxiety-inducing situations, so you can perform better and get ahead in your life.

In this article, we will dive into the reasons for job search anxiety and tips on how you could effectively overcome your fear.

Why Does Job Searching Give Me Anxiety?

Why Does Job Searching Give Me Anxiety
Why Does Job Searching Give Me Anxiety

Searching for a new job can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. Job searching can create anxiety in job seekers because they have to deal with uncertainties throughout the job search process.

To avoid the anxiety of searching for a new job, many employees continue with their current stressful jobs. They are stuck in their current job forever until they are laid off or made redundant by their company.

Anxiousness is caused due to many reasons. Once you know, you will be anxious; you can work towards reducing your anxiety through good preparation.

Common reasons for job search anxiety:

  • No response for your job applications
    • Once you start applying for jobs, you will quickly realize that most of your applications will not receive any response from employers.
    • The ones that receive a response might not make it to the initial screening interview process.
    • You don’t have to be anxious about not getting a response because this is normal in the current job market.
    • There are many reasons for not getting a response – multiple applicants applying for the same job role, ATS software doing the pre-screening of resumes, or job offers via employee referrals that could take precedence over online job applications.

  • Lots of work and preparation
    • Before starting your job search, you must prepare your resume and references, prepare for interviews, consistently monitor job openings and apply for jobs daily.
    • In addition, you will have to customize your resume and cover letter for every job application you submit.
    • Doing all this could feel a bit overwhelming initially, as there’s a lot of work to do daily on top of your current job responsibilities.

  • Competition
    • Every job opening in the current job market has several applicants applying for the job role.
    • If you’re worried about competition, this could create a lot of anxiety when job searching.

If you’re avoiding job searches and interviews, it could indicate that you are anxious about job searching and the rejections that come along with the process.

Warning Signs Of Job Search Anxiety

Warning Signs Of Job Search Anxiety
Warning Signs Of Job Search Anxiety

When you are out in the job market looking for a new job, you are sure to deal with many uncertainties and fears, which could be stressful.

And once you start applying for jobs, you can be almost certain to deal with either no response from employers or constant rejections.

As the job search process length increases and the applicant faces constant rejections, the frustration grows, and the applicant becomes discouraged to continue searching further.

Job searches tend to trigger various warning signs of anxiety. Recognizing early symptoms of anxiety can help manage it more efficiently.

  • Feeling Pessimistic and unhappy – As you continue to apply for jobs, attend interviews, and constantly get rejected, it’s natural to feel negative about yourself. But, being aware at the start of your job search that you might reach this stage makes you more resilient. Have a plan in place to change something that’s not working.

  • Lack of Sleep – A good night’s sleep is critical to ward off pessimistic feelings. Do not overwork yourself during the preparation or job application phases. Make it a priority to get a good solid 8 hours of daily sleep.

  • Becoming Isolated or Socially Detached – Rejections could affect a person’s confidence levels, and they tend to draw inwards and become socially detached. When you see this happening, try harder to connect with your former colleagues, friends, or family and talk to them. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  • Feeling of Shame – Everyone knows their worth. When candidates start searching for jobs, their self-worth meter could show high readings, but once the rejections start coming in, the meter readings start going down. Feeling ashamed about not getting a job is a natural human response. Be aware; don’t let your emotions stop you from doing the work and continuing your job search.

The most common warning signs of anxiety are feeling pessimistic and unhappy, sleep problems, becoming isolated or socially detached, and feeling shameful.

How Do You Deal With Anxiety When Looking For A Job?

How Do You Deal With Anxiety When Looking For A Job
How Do You Deal With Anxiety When Looking For A Job

Suppose you’re avoiding job hunting or interviews. In that case, it could indicate that you are anxious about the job searching process because of the rejections that come along and the reasons we discussed in the earlier topic, “Why Does Job Searching Give Me Anxiety?”

Recognize that this feeling is quite normal, and you are not alone. It is common to feel overwhelmed or afraid when you start thinking about the work involved. You might even feel worthless or an imposter when you start getting rejections during applications and interviews.

There are many ways to work through job search anxiety – take it one day at a time, and bring a positive perspective to manage your stress.

Create a process

Job search anxiety increases when you think about all the tasks and preparation activities you must do, and you quickly get overwhelmed. Break down the steps involved into daily tasks – Resume, Interview preparation, Daily job openings monitoring, Job Application, and Followups.

Create a schedule

Once you have identified the main tasks you must work on daily, set aside two hours daily to work on the process. Keep a commitment to yourself that no matter what, you will sit down daily to work on the tasks.

Realize that not all days will be the same – some days will be exciting, and some days will be a real drag. This is entirely okay; put your head down and continue working.

Set a Deadline

If you are currently unemployed, you already have an actual deadline – work based on this deadline. But, if you already have a job and are looking for a change, you must create an artificial deadline.

It’s critical to set deadlines for every task you identified – for example, resume creation- because you will never feel like the job is completed and goes on indefinitely without an end date.

If you haven’t done job hunting for years – set 2 weeks to update your resume, and if you updated your resume last year – set aside two days to update your resume.

Focus on Specific actions

Instead of worrying about things that may go wrong, focus on things you can control, like updating your resume, preparing for common interview questions, searching for job openings, and applying. Don’t aim for perfection – focus on completing your daily task and learn on the go.

To work your way through job search anxiety, take it one day at a time, and bring a positive perspective to manage your anxiety

Can Anxiety Prevent Me From Getting A Job?

Can Anxiety Prevent Me From Getting A Job
Can Anxiety Prevent Me From Getting A Job

You can get a job, despite having anxiety. All job seekers experience job search anxiety at some point during their search process, depending on their situation.

Knowing the various stages of your job search where you’re likely to get hit with anxiety and stress is worthwhile. Knowing what to expect in the coming months of your job-hunting journey can help you deal with your anxiety by addressing the root cause.

Various Stages in your Job Search where you could get Anxiety Attacks

  • Initial Stage (Thinking about job search) – Most applicants go through this phase of thinking about a job change or job search. They then stop without taking action because of the enormous fear and anxiety around the amount of work and rejections involved. It’s your mind trying to play games with you; start and take action today.

  • Resume and Cover Letter Preparation – If you haven’t been up for sale in the job market for a few years, updating your resume could feel daunting. Don’t try to make it a perfect resume with months of modifications. Update your resume by the deadline of 2 weeks, and you are good to go for job applications.

  • Missing out on Consistent Daily Job Search – Looking for job postings should be done daily and consistently. But don’t beat yourself up if you miss a couple of days. Life happens, and be okay with that, and continue to keep working.

  • Sending out Job Applications – You might have set a daily target to send out at least 1 or 2 job applications. But there would be days when you could not find matching jobs. Realize that this is okay because the jobs posted in the market are not in your control. Keep searching for jobs daily.

  • No response from Employers on job applications – You could reach a point where you had sent out 20-50 applications and received zero responses. This is quite normal, don’t panic or feel dejected. Continue applying for jobs, and constantly review your process to see if anything needs to change.

  • No interviews scheduled – You found a matching job listing, tailored your resume, and sent out the application and cover letter. But you don’t have any interviews scheduled even after applying for several positions. This is quite common for applicants who start their job search. Persevere and continue with your daily applications.

  • Not clearing initial interview rounds – Once you are past the stage where your resume and job applications have started getting a response, you have proved that your resume is working. You have now reached the next level of attending interviews. Prepare for initial failures and setbacks until you start clearing the interviews – prepare, learn from failures, and move on.

  • No job offer after the final interview – At this stage, your resumes and job applications have started getting a response; you are attending and clearing interviews. But, once you reach the final interview, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get the job offer. On average, 2-4 candidates compete in the final interview.

You could find yourself in various levels of anxiety depending on the job search stage you are in. Whether it’s preparation, daily application sending, no response from employers, no interviews, not clearing interviews, or no job offers after the final interview; all these create anxiety.

Stay positive, make a plan, prepare well, and remind yourself that it’s a process. From time to time, stop and reflect on how far you have come in your job search journey. Celebrate your small successes and pat yourself on the back. Take a day off and refresh your mind.

Rember – anxiety is just part of the game. Recognize that it exists within you, and continue to do a great job.

You can absolutely get a job, despite having anxiety. All job seekers experience job search anxiety at some point during their search process, depending on their situation.

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