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How to Avoid the Negative Job Search Anxiety

There's no getting away from the fact that searching for a job is tedious and stressful and if you've had a lot of rejections it is quite demoralising. This is particularly true if you are currently out of employment and have been seeking a job for a long time.

Sadly the negative impact that your lengthy job search will have had on you will only make your hunt for a new post even harder. Try to stay positive as your attitude will come across to people when you meet them and employers tend to look out for this and avoid hiring negative candidates at interview stage. Negative feelings lead to less success, leading to more negative feelings, and so the spiral continues.

job search anxiety

If you are feeling low then you may need some support. Look out for the following signs:

  • Depressed mood

  • Insomnia

  • Significant weight gain or weight loss

  • Withdrawal from activities

  • Withdrawal from family

  • Increased substance use

  • Little things setting you off that didn’t before

  • Feelings of shame

  • Feelings of helplessness

  • Feelings of hopelessness

What to do if you recognise these signs

If the above statements describe you or someone you know then you need to seek some help to get through this stage. Start by discussing your concerns with someone. It is a cliché but it is very true, a problem shared is a problem halved!

If that doesn't help or there is no one you trust to open up to then seek professional help. You can visit your GP to discuss your concerns and they could provide you with counselling or have other suggestions to improve your outlook.

There are also groups that you can visit to help you out. Start with online jobseeker forums to help you. You'll find a mountain of support, and sometimes just knowing that you're not the only one receiving no response from your applications or not getting past interview stage. There is also a wealth of information about how to improve your chances which may offer you some more confidence and get you back on track.

There are also groups which meet in person, and there may be details of these in your local area. These are often held by the Job Centre who want to get people back into work, so visit your local Job Centre who may be able to offer you constructive advice and provide you with details of any groups that are meeting.

Tackle it yourself

It's hard dealing with stress and depression on your own, but if you're determined to sort it out on your own then there are ways you can significantly improve your chances of success, or at least your confidence on your own.

If you are attempting to get into a high-skilled and high-demand job such as IT or engineering then you will probably be finding there is a high chance of not receiving much response from employers. Most employers want candidates that have experience, and if you have the qualifications but no experience then you should try volunteering in a business. This will provide you with an insight into the workings of the company, get you some experience, albeit limited, and also means that when a vacancy does come up in the firm you will be a known candidate and your application is more likely to be picked up and seriously considered.

Ensure each job search is satisfying

If you have a plan and stick to it you'll find that even if you don't always get a positive response from the employers, you'll feel more satisfied with what you have produced. Here are some tips to keep you focused on the positive:

1. Pre-application plan. Take some time to consider how many applications you intend to complete, by when these will be completed, and in what area. Write everything down so that you can see how your search is progressing, and if you do get a phone call you will immediately be able to work out which application it relates to. Creating your own goals and completing them will mean you focus more on the items that you can control, and not whether you get a response which is out of your control.

2. Don't think about the wait. The more you think about the lack of response from employers, the more anxious you will become. If you are so busy sending out your next batch of CVs and applications then you won't have time to think about how long it has been since you submitted the last one. So make sure you continue to apply for jobs until you get something back.

3. Rejection letters will come. The reality is that you are likely to receive at least some rejection letters - everyone does! But try not to over-think these. Think instead about how you will improve your CV or cover letter to demonstrate your skills better next time. You can learn something from every application that you submit, for example if the rejection letter refers to your perceived lack of experience then take more time to highlight the experiences that you have obtained, even if they are not directly related to the job in hand.

4. Networking relieves stress. Talking to people about how you are feeling is ok. Sign up to forums and discuss your job hunting experiences with other people, and find out how they have responded. Just knowing that you aren't alone with your concerns can make the world of difference. If you can get in touch with people in the industry you are aiming for, either face to face or using social media such as LinkedIn then take this opportunity to let them know how hard you are trying. You never know, it may lead to a job offer in itself!

Image credit: Jmeyersforeman

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