When people are stressed and feel overwhelmed, they can sometimes temporarily lose their ability to think rationally. Consider the example of when you are in a hurry, you’re stressed and you’re frantically looking for your car keys only to finally find them after 10 minutes of searching in your pocket! We’ve all done silly things like this when we are stressed. For the job seeker, sometimes that type of stress can prevent them from taking a moment to think logically about their job search to discover what is preventing them from achieving their goals.
Just How Stressed Are Job Seekers?
Recently, I participated in a webinar hosted by Careerbuilder and they shared surprising information about how stressed job seekers currently feel. When surveying over 24,000 job seekers and asking them how stressful their job search has been, here’s what job seekers had to say:
- 90% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than planning a wedding
- 88% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than speaking in front of a large audience
- 84% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than moving to a new home
- 84% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than the birth of a child
- 57% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than family sickness or illness
- 31% of job seekers said their job search was more stressful than the death of a loved one
If you’re stressed, this only adds another barrier to your job search because it may cause you to think irrationally but it also may cause you to carry your frustration into interview situations and a keen employer will sense a bad or negative attitude quickly. Ironically, I’ve witnessed many job seekers who cause their own stress by letting their problems become emergencies. Here are some tips to prevent unnecessary stress:
3 Ways to Prevent Self-Caused Stress
1. Ask for Help Early
Some people feel that asking for help is some sort of admission that they are inadequate and they don’t ask for help because of pride or simply because they don’t want to feel like a bother. If you have resources, including people to ask help from, use them! Many students have access to career coaches yet they don’t take advantage of the specialized services offered by career coaches until they are in an emergency situation. NACE did a survey that revealed the more students visited their career center, the more likely those students had job offers and had higher salaries. There is a correlation between seeking the training and guidance provided by a career coach and one’s success in landing a job but finding a job takes time so ask for help early.
2. Put Needs before Wants
You shouldn’t wait for your dream job. If you need a job, take the first one offered! Take care of your needs first because if you need a job, that is the worst time to be picky and if you are too selective, you might find yourself 6 months later without a job wishing you had taken the one offered to you 6 months ago. It is easier to look for a job when you have one.
3. Have a Plan & Set Goals
Usually, job seekers who are stressed feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and lost. It’s amazing how having a plan of action can relieve stress by focusing your energy towards specific goals. Obviously job seekers have the goal of obtaining employment but when I ask people I help what their plan is to achieve that goal, they look at me with a blank stare. A well established plan with goals might include the basic such as putting together a resume or revising it, drafting cover letters, collecting letters of recommendation and references or more long-term strategies such as attending networking events, joining professional associations, getting active on social media, etc. Set goals and stick to them. It’s the only way you’ll be able to monitor your progress and treat your job search like a full time job.