Elena Krechko is a certified life coach and psychologist from Russia. She is also an Expert Ambassador for WES. Below, she provides tips to help you overcome stress and anxiety during your job search.
Major life transitions are always stressful, and that is certainly true when you’re looking for a new job. Although the process itself might be frustrating, remember that your attitude is one factor that you can control.
The most important thing to do is manage your stress and anxiety levels. You might not be able to eliminate them entirely. That’s OK! Simply soothing your negative thoughts and elevating your mood can set you on a better path to success.
8 Tips to Reduce Stress
Try these tips to embrace a positive outlook during your job search:
1. Focus on Your Goals
Before you start your job search, it helps to identify your goals. Try to think beyond “get a job.” Consider your strengths and the kind of work that you would find rewarding. Consider your “must-haves” and the places where you are willing to compromise. (It’s also fine to identify the job of your dreams, just to keep that in mind!) Remember: This is just the beginning! You might have to make decisions about what is acceptable to you for right now, but you should always reflect on your true goals when thinking about the job ads, offers, and opportunities in front of you today.
2. Practice Patience
When it comes to a job search, it would obviously be nice to hear back from recruiters and hiring managers right away. But that’s not usually for the case, even for the strongest candidates. But whether it’s learning a skill, gardening, or searching for a job, we know that everything happens in its own time and circumstances!
Maybe your job search is taking more time than you expected. This can be extremely stressful, especially when it comes to finances and planning your future. You can’t change the facts of how long this will take, but you can remain calm. Work on backup plans, adjust your timeline, and find ways to enjoy the people and world around you in the meantime.
3. Consider This Your Job
Think of your job search as its own project. In project management, you learn that every project develops in four basic stages. They are: inspiration, implementation, integration of values, and completion. Each of these stages takes time and requires an investment of your emotional and physical energy. Just remember that you can’t expect to leap from a desire to the fulfillment of that desire without crossing some distance in between. If you feel like you are no closer to finding a job than you were before, think again. You are probably in one of the middle stages, such as implementing the search and integrating your values. Keep working on this part of the process to reach completion, and remember you are already at least halfway to your goal!
4. Nurture Positive Thinking
Neuropsychologists have proved that if the brain is fed only with negative information, we create more stress hormones. Then, we live with constant tension that can lead to negative consequences in our lives. That can include everything from poor sleep and headaches to clumsy job interviews and fighting with friends. When those negative consequences occur, it reinforces the original negative mood that started the loop—and so it can continue indefinitely. This makes it very difficult to break free of stress cycles. But it can be done, especially if you try to prevent them from starting in the first place. For example, you can actively nurture positive thinking, instead.
What are a few memories and concepts that inspire calm and self-confidence? What new practices can you learn and implement that will make you a better candidate for your dream job? Do you have any mentors that can motivate you to stay positive during your job search? Ask yourself: “How can I be happier today?” Maybe you can do something to entertain yourself, or maybe you’ll choose to help others. It’s easier to connect with positive emotions when you’re using them to inspire positive outcomes and emotions in other people. Have you ever heard about the “boomerang effect”? By sharing your positive mood with others, it will return back to you!
5. Be Proactive
Take daily actions toward your goal. This will make you feel like you are constantly moving forward and in control of your own destiny. Step by step, those actions will lead to its implementation. These steps can be very small, and simply, as long as you do something new. What will be your first, second, and third steps?
6. Stay Flexible
Plans are always subject to adjustment. When something doesn’t turn out the way you intended, just keep a positive attitude—and adjust your expectations. An outcome is not always the endpoint. Maybe you learned something from the experience that can move you forward? At the end of each week, summarize your actions. Praise yourself for the new things you have already done to move toward your goal!
7. Visualize Success
It’s easier to stay motivated when your goals are concrete and realistic. Instead of having a vague idea of the outcomes you’re trying to achieve, try to pinpoint specifics. Then, keep supportive words or phrases in prominent places in your home. This will keep you engaged with your goal.
8. Never Give Up
There will be times of doubt, but do not stop. Have faith in yourself, seek help in difficult times, stay committed to your goal, and know that you will succeed sooner or later!
Always keep in mind: You are able in ways that you don’t know. Hopefully, these tips will allow you to redirect negative energy and tap into your best abilities. Then, you can show off your strengths and positive energy during your next job interview.