Image for the article titled How To Overcome Your Job Hunting Fear

Photo: Rawpixel.com (Shutterstock)

We get it. Job hunting can be a stressful, scary experience. Sifting through hundreds of vacancies with unrealistic qualifications and being kindly invited by LinkedIn to “see how you compare to 34 other applicants” can drain even the most confident soul.

Creating five different versions of your resume and adapting each cover letter to match the wording in the job description is no easy task – while avoiding typing errors. And doing this day in and day out while either hiding your job hunt from your boss or worrying about how long your unemployment benefit will remain in place can be a stressful experience. If you find yourself getting mentally shut down by the process, here’s how to deal with it.

First, organize your search better

One of the best ways to deal with anxiety and being overwhelmed is to and that includes keeping the moving parts well organized Organization of your job search. Keep a folder of the positions you applied for (and refer to the list in case HR calls for an interview). Print and label versions of resumes so you don’t get confused. Create an application table listing the company, the date you applied, contact information, etc. Follow up you’ve done – which, if done correctly, is almost always in your best interests.

Create a schedule for your job search

If you are currently employed, schedule a time each day to devote to job hunting. When looking for work, create a schedule for the day that includes specific periods of time for reading job vacancies, submitting applications, and networking. (Note for introverts: Networking just means making connections with people. All emails, SMS, DMs or – big yikes – actual phone calls you make count absolutely.)

G / O Media can receive a commission

Set specific, measurable goals for job vacancies

When things feel unsafe, you can set manageable, time-based goals to regain a sense of control. Example: Apply for six jobs on Tuesday. Finish updating your LinkedIn profile by 4:00 p.m. Check out three potential references before lunch. Never underestimate the ego boost when crossing things off your list.

Take a short break if the job search is overwhelming

While it’s easy to focus on your job search, especially if you’re not seeing results and you really want it (like now), make sure to pull the plug and remind yourself that life exists outside of your bubble. Instead of popping up Gollum-esque from your job search shack to go to the bathroom once a day, set a timer to force yourself to get up, run around, connect with people, and get some fresh air.

Find another way to feel productive

If you don’t get many bites at work, it can feel like you’re not making any progress. Then it helps to get down to another small project to feel more productive. (The key word here is small. We’re talking about reorganizing drawers or cabinets, not repainting your entire home.)

Don’t neglect self-care

It doesn’t have to be a full day of spa, but sometimes when you are focused on a goal it can be difficult to remember basic things like eating breakfast, drinking water, or exercising. Make time in your daily routine to take care of your body and your mental state.

Don’t normalize instant results

Repeat after me: I’m not going to get a job overnight. And that’s fine. Indeed, depending on your industry, It can take up to five months for you to land your next gig. So instead of freaking out that six weeks have passed, realize that anything under six months is still within the average timeframe. (And remember to allow time for your personal choice, if that’s one thing. Be honest.)

Celebrate small successes in job hunting

Have you finished your new website or updated your portfolio? Are you applying for the job that scared you (and asked a ton of additional questions)? Treat yourself to a movie, drink, or those new kicks you’ve always had in mind. Rewarding yourself for victories along the way can fill your emotional tank and keep you motivated to move forward.

Get the right moral support for your job search

If you feel stuck, start talking to people about it (actually, the best time is to talk to people before this happens, but sometimes life is about damage control). Reach out to friends, alumni groups, or the WhatsApp chat that you’ve neglected so far. They can be a great source of networking, unexpected job exposure, and compassion. (Because it’s not nice to blow your breath sometimes and hear that you are not alone in a fight? Yes. Yes, it is.) If you need more, consult a career coach or therapist.

Remember, positive change is underway

While it is easy to focus on the less fun aspects of job hunting, keep in mind that you are on the cusp of something new and potentially great. Try to turn some of that worry into an appreciation of new opportunities.

Even if you may not like the insecure feeling of change, you are about to meet new people, expand your skills and master new challenges that will make you more confident and marketable in the future. When you think of it that way, it’s actually pretty exciting.

Fuck the old job. The new one you find gets even better. Now get up and stretch. Go out. Go to that soccer game or paint ‘n sip. All of this will be here tomorrow.