No matter where you are in your career, job hunting can be a lot. You could be a big CMO calculating your next, mammoth career move, a recent grad hunting for your first gig, a layoff survivor, or anywhere in between, it places pressure on us, albeit for different reasons.
Since the fundamental job hunt stressors will likely be with us for years–most young pros will have had 4 jobs by the time they’re 32!–it’s important we start coping with them and cultivating a peaceful (i.e. sane) attitude toward the job hunt now.
With that said, here are 10 proven ways to manage and reduce job hunt stress and put some happiness in your hunt:
Talk it out
One of the most daunting aspects of the job hunt is the fact that the outcome comes down to you–your hustle, your skills, your energy. Landing a job is not a group effort, it’s a solo mission, and this loneliness can magnify our anxiety. The best way to overcome it? Surround yourself with fellow job seekers with whom you can exchange advice and motivation, commiserate about the lows and celebrate the highs. Start by joining an online community, in-person meetup or buddying up with a friend who’s also job hunting. Soon, you’ll realize that job hunting stress is universal, and that with enough determination, your dream opportunity is within reach.
Get your coffee shop on
Job hunting at home can feel, well, just wrong. Isn’t your home the one place you go to get away from work? On a day of job hunting, head to a coffee shop with free wifi and great vibes, and treat yourself to your favorite tea or latte.
Don’t want to break the bank with $4 lattes? Lots of coffee shops have punchcards, rewards, and freebies for loyal customers, so find a coffee shop that’s conveniently located near you and show them why you deserve some free stuff! Alternatively, create a mini-coffee shop in at home. Make a fresh pot of your favorite coffee roast, play one of Spotify’s many coffee shop playlists, and take walks to avoid feeling cooped up. Avoid setting up in your room, however, as studies show that this may cause you to associate your room with work, which can result in restlessness and insomnia.
Spend more time on fewer applications
Simply that. Funnel your energy into applications for roles and companies that you’re genuinely passionate about. Not only will it save time, but the enthusiasm palpable in your application will make you a far more attractive candidate.
Curate your social media feed
Following beauty bloggers and travel photographers is alright, but adding content of genuine, non-aesthetic value to the mix can keep you positive and motivated. Try following an account that shares career advice, motivation and adds maybe even adds levity to the whole ordeal. Start by following FindSpark (shameless plug!), one or more career influencers, and anyone with a career you admire, would like to have someday or can learn from on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Want to take it a step further? Follow your favorite companies on social media. It’s a great way to stay updated on new opportunities and it’ll help you realize that the people who work there are fellow humans.
Don’t check your email right before going to bed or immediately after waking up. Seriously, we’ll smack it out of your hands. If you wake up in the middle of the night, worried about an application or an interview, do not–do not–open your laptop. We will smack that away, as well.
Checking your devices and absorbing all that blue light before bed can mess up your sleep cycle and make you feel less focused, less energized and therefore be less productive the next day. Moreover, starting the day by checking your inbox can bifurcate your attention early in the day. Instead of allowing yourself to be bombarded with tasks, reminders, and promotions first thing in the morning, try spending ten minutes clearing your mind and setting a clear intention for the rest of the day.
Job hunt anxiety can result in a pervasive feeling that you always need to be networking or hunting, and can never allow yourself time for rest and self-care. But the truth is that downtime helps you put goals and priorities into perspective, so that when you’re really “on” you’ve made mental space for new ideas and have clarity about what you want from the job hunt.
Meditation is a great way to practice clearing your mind and being present, so you’re not always “on” and inching your way toward a nervous breakdown. There are many different ways to practice meditation. Among them, mindfulness, chant g, and breathing exercises. So pick one that works for you and start practicing the art of
Try going from A-B, not A-Z
Throughout the job hunt, practice breaking goals into sub-tasks, and sub-tasks into sub-sub-tasks. The road to your dream job can feel long, so it’s crucial to establish checkpoints. By the time you’ve reached all of them, you will have made it all the way. If you’re a visual planner, use a tool like Trello or Asana to divvy up the work into manageable morsels.
Respect the Golden Ratio
The golden ratio of productivity, that is 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest. We believe, however, that the golden ratio varies person to person, so find your golden ratio and stick to it. When job hunting, it’s easy to grow mentally exhausted from the stress of meeting an employers’ expectations, finding the right opportunity, or even figuring out what it is you want to do with your life. Mitigate mental fatigue with work/rest intervals and try to stick to it. It may be counterintuitive, but the moment you feel like you’re drowning in work is the moment where you most need to pace yourself, so as to avoid short-circuiting.
Working or worrying?
Worrying and working may feel the same sometimes, but they’re very different. Our brains ruminate when they realize we have unfinished business to attend. It’s part of the primal fight or flight response that’s built in to protect us from threats–if you tried “ignoring” that cheetah stalking you 50 feet away, you’d probably regret it. But if you “ignore” the preoccupation that your LinkedIn doesn’t have any endorsements yet, you’ll probably be fine. So, put it on your calendar, or just silence the “worrying” voice entirely until you can actually take action and hit up your former boss and coworkers from some endorsements.
Embrace the inevitable, and move on from the past
Last, but not least come to terms with the fact that whether or not you get hired for a certain role is contingent not only on your effort but on myriad external factors that may be out of your control. While it’s great to be self-motivated and self-reliant, being resilient, asking for feedback after a rejection, following up with your recruiter and remembering that there are more opportunities out there are far more valuable than crafting one, single “perfect” application.
Have more stress-relieving techniques for ambitious job hunters? Share them in the comments!