Stressed business man holding his head

Don’t let stress sabotage your job search

Kevin Makra|

Everybody has stress in their lives, but for many job seekers such emotions can feel overwhelming. Dealing with uncertainty, time constraints and financial pressure can derail your efforts. Job search stress is real, but often ignored. And stress can impact both your physical and mental health.

How can you deal with job search stress? Accept it as a personal challenge and rise above it. You can do this by remaining positive and active throughout your search. Surround yourself with upbeat people and don’t allow negativity to creep into your day-to-day efforts. Also pay attention to all aspects of your health. Get your job search back on track!

Here are ten healthy ways to alleviate stress while looking for work:

Get Organized – Create a structure. Use a calendar to keep track of each day’s tasks. Every morning, look at your schedule, carry out the day’s tasks and revise it as necessary. Disorganization leads to added stress and an ineffective search. The key is to feeling that every day you are one step closer to achieving your goals.

Stay Focused – Set up a schedule with items you want to accomplish each day. For example, today you would like to send out four e-mails to contacts, as well as go on two informational interviews. Tomorrow you will make three phone calls to potential employers and attend a trade conference in the afternoon. Manage your time effectively and you will reduce stress.

Meet People – Looking for work can be isolating. Get out in your community and talk to people face to face, not just online. It will not only increase your self-esteem and confidence, but help develop your soft skills. It is also important for job networking. Attend a tradeshow, take a class, or consider volunteering.

Exercise Daily – Activities that get your body moving are important to reduce stress. Being self-employed, I begin each day with a workout. I leave for the gym as if I’m going to an actual job and it sets a positive tone for my day. It also leaves me feeling energetic with a clear-mind to take on any challenges throughout the day.

Eat Healthy – Feel good and maintain proper energy by eating three healthy balanced meals a day. Give your body the proper nutrients to deal with the added stress that comes with job transition. Don’t forget to drink lots of water.

Get Plenty of Sleep – Job searching can be mentally taxing. Ensure you get proper sleep at night and the necessary downtime. Avoid working before bed, as this can often have an ill effect on your sleep.

Don’t Put Your Life On Hold – The job search should not overtake your life. Maintain a healthy work-life balance. Continue to do the things that you did while working. Meet with friends and family. Get outside and enjoy the warmer weather!

Reward Yourself – Give yourself credit, where credit is due. If you’ve accomplished the goals you set for the day, do something for yourself. Treat yourself to some time reading your favourite magazine, or a walk through the park.

Don’t Personalize Rejection – Expect some rejection as a normal part of the job search. You are not going to get every job you apply for. Don’t think of rejection as a catastrophe, but rather a learning lesson and adjust your job search accordingly. By doing this, you’ll be able to turn rejection into action, rather than inaction.

Remain positive – While physical exercise, diet and sleep are key when it comes to managing stress, thought is paramount. Changing your thoughts will change your stress levels. Adopt a mental attitude that focuses less on the difficulties of your job search and more on the positive aspects. You have a lot to offer an employer.

Job transition is not easy. Even the most seasoned professional can have feelings of self-doubt at times. Knowing how to deal with stress in the job search is the first step in combating it. Follow these tips as you look for work and you’ll be able to tackle all of life’s challenges. Good luck.


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  • http://about.me/davidalangay David Gay

    These are all nice feel-good points, but the fact of the matter is that the failure to find employment in a timely manner can lead to greater problems, such as lack of proper nutrition and medical care, psychological and physiological breakdown, damage to one’s credit rating, separation or divorce, strained family and friendship relationships, and ultimately homelessness. In my case, my chronic length of lack of full-time employment led to my new life as a couch-surfer, since I no longer have a fixed address to stay at due to lack of employment (thank heavens for a nearby Tim Horton’s Wi-Fi and a beat-up laptop running a Ubuntu operating system for my job search)

    Job seekers have very good reasons to be stressed out of their head. What is desperately needed are more programs to help get the unemployed back to work in some measure of capacity, not more platitudes that try to hide the fact that because we live in a capitalistic society, money is required for even essential services.

    Ontario is currently in an election, so if you live in Ontario and are unemployed, now is the time to ask your local candidates of each party what they would do to help get you back to work.

    http://about.me/davidalangay