How To Deal With Job Search Anxiety: 3 Expert Strategies

by | Mental Health

Looking for a new job can be mentally taxing and bring up a lot of complex feelings and emotions. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, 70% of unemployed adults feel more stressed than usual as a result of their job search.

While anxiety regarding being unemployed is common, that doesn’t make it any easier to manage and cope with. Thankfully, there are proven strategies you can use to manage job search anxiety.

Continue reading to uncover common job search anxiety warning signs, learn how to deal with job search stress, and know when to ask for help.

Job Search Anxiety Warning Signs

While job search anxiety looks different for everyone, common warning signs include constantly worrying about finding a new role, obsessively checking job boards, and feeling consumed by the job hunt. Job search anxiety may also manifest as difficulty concentrating on your search, feeling overwhelmed or defeated by the process, or a sense of helplessness.

It’s normal to get nervous, be scared, or even start to dread the job application process when you’re experiencing job search anxiety. You may even begin to doubt your qualifications and abilities, wonder if there’s something wrong with you, or question whether you’ll ever land an interview or receive a job offer.

You also want to be mindful of the physical symptoms that might accompany job search anxiety, including headaches, stomach aches, and other gastrointestinal problems. You may additionally experience fatigue and trouble falling or staying asleep due to the stress of the job hunt.

[Read: “Why Can’t I Find A Job?” Answered]

Attempting to balance a job search when working full-time can add an extra layer of stress and anxiety, so take note if you start slipping on tasks or missing deadlines at your day job, as these may be warning signs that job search anxiety is a factor in your life.

Because job search anxiety can sometimes be difficult to spot in yourself, be mindful if other people say that you seem more stressed, irritable, or overwhelmed since you began searching for a new role.

3 Techniques To Cope With Job Search Anxiety

It takes strategy and intention to manage and cope with job search anxiety. You want to create a job search system that works for you while also tending to your mental health and celebrating your successes along the way. You also can’t be afraid to ask for help.

Let’s dive deeper into each of these techniques further:

1. Develop a job search routine.

Routine is a powerful antidote to anxiety, so consider beginning by creating a job search schedule to get yourself organized. Importantly, you want to develop a true-to-life schedule that you can realistically carry out, rather than setting yourself up for failure with one that’s too ambitious.

It is a myth that looking for a job must be your full-time job. In fact, this is one of the quickest ways to experience job search burnout.

Instead, create a balance of activities that accelerate your job search and fulfill your mental health needs. As you develop your schedule, also consider any professional and personal commitments you may need to address.

2. Carve out time for your mental health.

Speaking of your mental health needs, you’ll want to carve out time for self-care, as it’s critical for a successful job search. While it may sound counterintuitive, try not to spend more than a few hours per day on your job search to avoid fatigue and burning yourself out. Then, use the rest of your day to focus on the other aspects of your mental health.

There is nothing worse than securing a dream interview and then showing up depleted on your big day because you spent countless hours obsessing over the job hunt and sending out countless applications.

A more productive way to allocate your free time might be to spend it tending to your mental health in a way that is meaningful to you.

This might include carving out time for low-demand activities you enjoy, like Netflix and spending time with friends and family, or developing a mindfulness practice.

3. Celebrate your job search successes along the way.

Lastly, try to recognize your successes throughout the job search process, rather than waiting until you receive an offer to celebrate. You might find it helpful to keep a “Job Search Accomplishment Journal” and document your victories each evening, regardless of the size of the win.

You also deserve to be rewarded for all the effort that goes into a modern-day job hunt, including:

Note: You’ll want to find a recognition system that will motivate you to keep searching. Personally speaking, for me this would look like a quick trip to Starbucks or watching a new episode of the latest Netflix series each time an item is completed on my task list.

When To Ask For Help With Job Search Anxiety

Job search anxiety can feel debilitating at times, particularly if you’ve been looking for a new position for several months or longer and not seeing results. Thankfully, you’re not alone, and help is available.

If you’re struggling, please ask for assistance. A good place to start is your professional network, as they can introduce you to decision-makers and help you find a job faster. They’ve likely been in your shoes and are willing to help. They just need to be asked.

It’s also a smart move to speak with a career coach, as they can support you in navigating the complexities of trying to find a new role while managing your mental health and well-being.

Important: You’ll want to find a coach who is trained in mental health best practices and has success in supporting clients who are experiencing job search anxiety, since the process requires a tailored strategy and approach.

[Read: “Can I Hire Someone To Find Me A Job?” Answered]

Final Thoughts On Job Search Anxiety

While these strategies won’t resolve your job search anxiety overnight, they can help you cope with the stress of looking for a new gig in the current employment market. On a final note, please don’t hesitate to contact me or schedule a consultation if I can be of support as you look for your next role. I’m here for you! You’ve got this!

A version of this article first appeared on The Stability Network blog with the title, “How To Manage Job Search Stress During The Pandemic.”

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).



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