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The leading causes of stress in the United States are job related. This probably comes as no surprise, whether stress is related to a person’s current position or to anxiety experienced while job hunting. Either way, your life balance is thrown into disarray and the fallout can devastate your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

According to one recent study, 92 percent of adults experience fear at the very idea of interviewing for a job. Another 75 percent dread the experience because they’re afraid they’re overqualified for a position. Job search stress can lead to a dangerous Catch 22. You become worn down by frustration which if left unchecked can spiral into depression. This ultimately manifests in your performance. Signs include sleepless nights, lack of motivation, diminished interview skills and confidence, and a poor attitude.

In small doses, anxiety can fuel your drive to succeed. But if prolonged, the effects of stress work against you in a major way. Staying mentally healthy is vital for you to be at your peak while landing the right job.

Identify Your Stressors

If you’re feeling job search stress, take a step back and identify the source. Is your anxiety a result of being turned down? Are you frustrated because you didn’t hear back from a prospective employer?

  • Once you pinpoint the cause, take a look at your search strategy. You may need to change an approach or tactic. For instance, be sure you’re not sending the same resume and cover letter to every hiring manager. Or you may need to broaden your options to include virtual career fairs, online search campaigns or an interactive resume.

Phone a Friend

Talking to someone you trust is one of the simplest – yet most powerful – means of relieving stress. When job hunting, start with one-on-one interaction with persons closest to you and then carry it a step further by broadening your networking realm.

  • The simple act of sharing will make you feel better. Use a trusted friend or colleague as a sounding board. Blow off steam. They can provide a much-needed new perspective to apply to your search.
  • Let people know you’re looking. Taking this action will make you feel more in control of your situation. Review all your LinkedIn, online and personal connections and call or email one or more of them each day. Join or start a blog, job club or Meetup group. Other job seekers can be valuable sources of encouragement, support and leads. Simply being around them can be energizing and motivating.

Look Out for Number One

Rejection is inevitable – and it’s not personal. It usually happens because an employer finds another candidate who is just slightly more qualified than you. There will be a company looking for exactly what you have to offer.

  • Turn it into a positive. Consider seeking feedback from the hiring manager on what they felt you lacked as a candidate. Even if they don’t respond, you’ve made the attempt. This in itself is a positive step.
  • Take your mind back to a time when you realized a major career success. Taking time to reflect on your accomplishments, talents and passions can help draw inspiration for your search and set you back on track.
  • Look after your own needs. Maintain a structured job search schedule, but be sure it allows time for fun, rest and relaxation. Exercise is a proven mood booster. Get enough rest, so you can maintain your focus and productivity. If necessary, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga.
  • Consider volunteering. It will boost your self-esteem and may provide valuable career experience, as well as social support and networking opportunities.

The professional recruiters at BrainWorks can partner with you in identifying and pursuing the best options to advance your career. To learn more about our team and its expertise, skills and resources for job seekers, contact us today.


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