8 Ways to a Stress-Free Job Search

The word “stress”, in and of itself, almost always has a negative connotation.  Our physicians even tell us that the key to a long life is reducing negative stress. It has become part of the paradigm of modern society that stress is bad, and while this is true in many ways, there are certain types of stress which may actually motivate us to do better. Submitting a project on time, reaching a sales goal before a competitor – or in this case, successfully completing a job search — may certainly be prompted by stressful emotions.

Stress-Free Job Search - Stop-stress-stop-sign

While this type of stress may actually help us with our accomplishments, in its extreme, it can actually have the opposite effect, hindering our full potential.

You can’t eliminate stress altogether, but you can certainly put it in perspective.  Here are some tips for job-searching with a calm perspective:

1.  Stop the checking cycle.

It’s normal to anxiously await a response from a hiring manager following an interview or submission of a job application.  Of course, we know that constantly checking and rechecking your email or text messages is not going to affect the speed at which a message will arrive. It will however, lead to a habitual cycle that can significantly boost stress levels. Make sure your notifications and volume settings are active on all your devices, and then just put it out of your mind and go on with your day.  Another option is to designate a specific time – morning and/or afternoon – when you check your email messages, preferably no more than twice a day.

2.  Leave the past behind.

Refrain from becoming consumed with reviewing your prior correspondence, looking for misspellings or grammatical errors.  If that is the reason they’re not calling you back then move on to the next job and resolve to do a better job of proofreading next time.  Also, if you feel you could have responded better to certain questions during previous interviews, learn from your errors, and make your next interview count.

3.  Organization counts.

Staying organized can also help reduce job-search related stress levels.  Keeping either an Excel spreadsheet or a notebook of all the jobs you’ve applied for, along with contact names, numbers, and emails will ensure that you are not left perplexed and stressed when you do receive those call-backs.  This also includes having interview-appropriate clothing ready to go, as well as enough resume copies and a professional looking portfolio to go with you.

4.  Don’t be over-consumed.

An overly stressful outlook may cause you to feel insecure, which can then spill over into your demeanor and decision making processes.  A super-stressed job seeker may find themselves repeatedly calling a prospective employer in hopes of finding out if they’ve got the job; however, this is never a good idea.   If your interviewer said they should have an answer by next week, wait the allotted amount of time. If the full week goes by, and you haven’t heard from them, then it is appropriate to reach out to them with your inquiry.

5.  Be budget-smart.

If you are job-seeking due to the loss of a job, and are currently unemployed, this can certainly translate to an understandable amount of pressure, as well as adding a completely new layer of stress to your job search. If you are eligible for unemployment benefits, be sure you have filed appropriately and in a timely manner.  In either case, your finances may be tight during this time, so creating a reasonable, yet frugal budget may help you feel more in control during times of uncertainty.

6.  Don’t take rejections personally. 

Rejection is part of life; particularly when you’re on the hunt for a new job.  Jobs sometimes disappear because of a corporate policy shift; because the company has been acquired by (or is acquiring) another company; or because it simply became irrelevant.  Most often, though, it is because they found someone who fit into their corporate culture.  It doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough, or that you should take it personally.  They may have been a better fit; but somewhere along the line you’re going to be a better fit than somebody else.

7.  Seek alternatives.

If you want to expend some of that nervous energy, continue looking for new job openings, and use your time to line up more possibilities.  In this case, it is certainly not naïve optimism to just carry on.  There are always new opportunities and alternative strategies when seeking employment.  Consider looking into webinars or online refresher courses to enhance your marketability, or work on building your professional network, which in turn, could lead to even more employment prospects.

8.  Find time for enjoyment.

A frenzied approach to job hunting isn’t necessarily going to help you reach your objective any quicker.  While your job search is most likely taking up a great deal of your free time, there is no reason you still can’t “take time off” now and then.  Enjoying a Friday or Saturday evening with friends; making time for enjoyable and healthy activities, such as exercise, yoga, shows, music, reading, cooking, or whatever it is that you enjoy most in life is crucial to your sanity and your overall stress reduction.  The job boards will still be there when you get back; except this time, you will have a clear mind and an energized spirit.

Stress-Free Job Search - Man working on laptop computer_sunglasses

The Takeaway

Everyone benefits from maintaining a centered approach to life, and job seeking is certainly no exception.  Remember not to get down on yourself; and don’t get into a panic because you didn’t get the first, or second, or the third job you applied for.  It’s a process, and there are resources out there to help you make it work.  Don’t worry… Relax… You’ve got this.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

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