The stress of looking for a new job can be overwhelming. To say that you are experiencing pressure to become actively employed is the understatement of this new decade. The loss of income is stressful enough, but the hit your self-worth takes can be debilitating. However, there are things that you can do to alleviate or reduce this stress.  Here are 5 simple suggestions:

  • Set realistic goals – You can’t land a job overnight, just the same way you cannot lose 10 pounds overnight.  Change takes time, and if you set unrealistic goals – goals that try to achieve that overnight success – you are much more likely to feel disheartened and quit. Set small, achievable goals that you can successfully reach with an appropriate amount of effort. The goal is to achieve something – even if it is a little something– every day.
  • Get organized – In your job search, you always need to be organized. Clutter adds stress. Make sure that your resume(s), applications, certifications, schedule, etc. can all be found with no trouble. This makes it much easier to follow-up on job leads, keep track of job search activities, or speak professionally and authoritatively if a recruiter calls unexpectedly.
  • Find a community and knowledge – Job searching alone can take its toll on even the strongest person. You feel alone and isolated. There are lots of people in the same predicament as you.  So find them; join online chats, communities and groups. Don’t forget about the physical world too.  Get out and meet people at networking events. It is important to have these kinds of partnerships.  They can expand the opportunity for success for everyone involved.
  • Make forward movement every day – Procrastination is one of the leading causes of stress during the job hunt (well, in any aspect of life, if truth be told). Do not delay doing what you need to do; the repercussions of procrastination are much worse than the act of procrastination itself.   Understand why you procrastinate.
    • Striving for perfection.  Fix this by changing your focus and concentrating on simply doing your best. There is no way to measure “perfect”, so why strive for something that you cannot measure? Our gut tells us when we do our best.
    • Uncertainty. If you have absolutely no clue how to do the task (think, writing a functional resume?), do your research and talk to others who have done it before. If you need to brush up on a skill, do that too. Visit Snelling’s Candidate Resource Hub for all kinds of tips and tricks on how to write those difficult resumes, etc.
    • Boring and unmotivating. No one wants to do anything that is boring – think about all those times you have had to “tweak” your resume for a specific job. However, reframe the project and try to see it in the bigger picture.
  • Get out of the house…..find something interesting to do.  Try to get out of the house every single day. It’s not healthy to constantly stay inside, even if you are doing something as important as looking for a job. You should find time to take a walk at some point during the day, if only to get some fresh air and clear your mind.

It is true. Job hunting is one of the most stressful things you will ever do. However, in today’s economy, the next job you will get will probably not be your last. The average worker is expected to switch jobs (either voluntarily or involuntarily) 5-7 times during his career. So the sooner you learn to control your stress and begin to believe in yourself, the more fabulous your career will be. Remember, stress can lead to desperation, and desperation simply does not play well with recruiters and hiring managers.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.