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9 Actionable & Useful Tips To Help You To Reduce Job Search Anxiety

Search Remotely Job Search Anxiety

[Update to Ten Actionable Tips! July 20, 2023]

Whether it’s your first day on the job search or you’ve been doing it for a while, you might find yourself anxious about what lies ahead. 

Job search anxiety can indeed be crippling for many job seekers. If you feel nervous whenever you’re looking for a new job, the good news is that there are ways to help reduce your anxiety while increasing your chances of success.

Here’s a video to explain the concepts visually.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important tips to reduce job search anxiety and help you gain extra confidence. 

1. Make a list of your fears

Come up with a list of the fears that make you anxious and write down how in the past, you overcame each fear. Consider using these strategies today. If there are fears for which you have not yet conquered, you may need additional supports.  For example, if you feel way too afraid of the interviewing process, you might want to see an interview coach or practice in front of a mirror.  The more specific your plan is, the better your results will be.

2. Use antidotes

For each perceived fear or weakness that you think you have, think immediately of an opposing antidote. For instance, if you feel unhappy or sad, immediately smile and think about the happiest time in your life. Play this recording back as often as you can. To gain even greater insight, think about that specific moment of happiness. Ask yourself these questions, What brought me happiness and joy? What about me and my attitude specifically that made it a great moment?

If you are overwhelmed by a sense of incompetence, think about the times when you were competent. What were you doing? Which task were you completing? To dissect this thought even further, am I finding ways and looking for jobs for me to fully express this trait of success? If so, search for ways to continue to utilize this area of competency. If not, you may need to shift goals.

3. Practice makes perfect

Before applying for jobs, spend some time practicing the interview process. This will help put your fears at ease while preparing you for the real thing. As you prepare, don’t expect your first time to be perfect. It takes practice to become comfortable with the interview process. Practicing will also help you identify some weak areas of your job search plan as well as identify strong areas. As you practice, you can determine whether additional skills or needed. 

4. Don’t forget about body language

An upright posture is important. Even when sitting, take care not to slouch.  Sitting upright in a straight back chair helps job seekers to better project their voice. Part of making a good impression and feeling good about yourself is keeping your head up and your eyes focused.

Develop positive body language throughout the interview process by standing up, nodding and smiling. Your body can often tell a story that your mouth won’t, and it’s essential to be aware of those messages. 

In addition, the interviewer will often note how you behave or react during difficult questions, as they are almost always an indicator of how well you’ll perform in stressful environments.

Try to sit up straight, make direct eye contact and maintain a neutral facial expression that displays confidence.

5. Mentally  and verbally rehearse the questions you might be asked

It’s always a good idea to mentally  and verbally rehearse the questions you might be asked in an interview. Sure it may feel  silly. But setting up in your mind, your  responses to interview questions helps to train you mentally. Isn’t it better to respond to questions for which you have already thought through beforehand than to reply on-the-spot?  Job interviews can be tricky.  So,  verbally rehearsing your responses ahead of time helps your lips, tongue and mouth to express your thoughts with ease. When you rehearse, you will  be more relaxed during the actual interview. 

Some of the questions you should rehearse for your interview are:

  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What is your greatest weakness? (And how do you compensate for this?)
  • Why do you want to work here? (Be specific and show that you actually did some research into the company.)
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What are your goals in life for the next five years? 

6. Apply for more jobs than you actually want

Applying to more jobs than you can handle is a great way to gain confidence in interviewing. This is one of the best ways to understand what’s working and what’s not so you can make appropriate adjustments. It will also help you get used to rejection. 

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Another important aspect to applying for more jobs than you want is to ‘churn and burn’ them. This means that you never want to get stuck obsessing on one job opportunity and miss the chance to apply for others.  Don’t anxiously wait upon a response or decision from one employer. You will lose your momentum. Also, when you are physically and mentally idle, you give your mind nothing to do. When this happens, negative thoughts can intrude and becoming debilitating. 

7. Focus on what you can control

As part of your preparation, you must be honest with yourself about the issues and fears you may experience. Finding a job is never easy. The key to preventing anxiety is to remain positive and to focus on what you can control. This will help reduce the feeling that it is all just out of your control.

This may mean using your downtime to up-skill, expand your social network and develop relaxation techniques to mitigate the stress associated with under-employment or joblessness.

8. Develop an action plan for each fear

Keep a list of your fears and compile a plan to address each fear until it no longer has any power over you. You might even want to have a friend or family member play the role of the interviewer. Once you have addressed your fears and feel more confident, you’ll feel ready to apply to jobs that you’d really want but were too afraid to go for.

You might want to use a journal or diary as a place where you can record your feelings, thoughts and actions throughout the job search process. You can then refer back to this journal at any time for self-analysis.

9. Remember that job searching is a process

Finding a new job doesn’t happen overnight. This is one lesson most people learn throughout their professional life, and it’s something that nearly every person who has ever looked for a new job can probably relate to. 

It’s a good idea to stay calm and do your homework before you spend too much time worrying about getting nowhere. You may not get an interview for the very first job you apply to, but that’s ok. It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your application — it may simply take employers some time to get back to you.

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10. Stay positive

While it may be pretty difficult to remain positive when looking for a job, especially if your search is not going quite well, try to hang in there. Don’t skimp on sleep, as this can really impact your health, and try to eat as healthy as possible.

Don’t just limit yourself to online applications and resumes that keep you locked in the house. Instead, go out into the community and talk to people. Go to local events or even hang out in a nearby coffee shop. Ask people about their jobs or careers and find out what they wish they’d known before starting their job search. This will help you bring some positivity to your life.

Finally, don’t forget to do what you love. Think about what makes you happy or what gets you excited. You may not be able to get paid to do it immediately, but it could help motivate you when looking for a job. Working in the garden, volunteering or exercising are excellent ways to help you remain positive.

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Bottom Line

It’s essential to be honest with yourself about your fears and prepare for the interview process before sitting down for a face-to-face interview. There are quite a few ways to prevent job anxiety. You can take a class in job interviewing skills or practice interviewing techniques with a family member or colleague. You also might want to read about other people’s experiences of job interviews.

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