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How to deal with the stress of job hunting?

Comment gérer le stress dû à la recherche d'emploi ?

How to deal with the stress of job hunting?

First, let’s recognize that the job search process is a normal stress. Accepting the situation as it is may seem harmless, but it can help not to minimize or exacerbate the emotions associated with the uncertainty of the situation.  

Possible symptoms of stress might include:  

Physical (aches from tension, fatigue, stomach ache, etc.)  

Psychological (Irritability, worries, anxiety, etc.)  

Behavioral (Isolation, insomnia, impatience, etc.)  

An important element of stress management is the work that must be done by oneself and for oneself. No matter who you are, it is normal to feel more vulnerable during a period of uncertainty and instability such as a job search. The effects are different for each person, but you may be confronted by your insecurities. Know that this is perfectly normal and you are far from alone in this situation.  

Stress management can be improved with different internal and external tools:

  1. During the job search, one of the first things to consider is that you may be more sensitive during this stressful time and so taking the lead in being especially attentive to your needs and considerate of your efforts is something that is fundamental to helping manage your stress during this time.  

  1. Having trouble maintaining or gaining confidence? Perhaps doing an activity that you are comfortable with will give you that little boost you’ve been looking for to get you through your next interview. Are you having trouble managing your physical symptoms of interview stress and it’s getting in the way? Perhaps practicing in front of your loved ones, your mirror, your cat, or even your plant can help you become more familiar with these sensations and make you a little more comfortable about going into an interview, however, be aware that most employers expect to see symptoms of stress during an interview given the nature of the situation.  

  1. Are you having trouble taking rejection and is it affecting your self-esteem? It is normal to want to question yourself or to have difficulty accepting rejections in a job search context. During an interview, you are the only one promoting yourself and your skills, however, the employer is often alone when faced with many candidates. In most cases, the employer is faced with a dilemma between several good candidates and has to choose based on factors that do not necessarily relate to your value, your skills and who you are. If you’re not chosen, it’s probably just because you’ll fit the next employer’s needs even better.  

  1. Having trouble staying positive about your situation? When you are faced with the job search often and for a long time, it is normal to feel tired of the situation. This is all the more reason to be especially kind to yourself and intentionally maintain an internal discourse that is more understanding of yourself. You may think that this is easier said than done, but doing it will make it easier to say. Keeping a journal, talking about your difficulties to someone close to you who won’t judge you, avoiding the news for a while if you notice it makes you more sensitive, etc. are all ways to cultivate a more positive perspective on your situation.  

  1. Of course, all of these efforts can be difficult to do without the help of outside support. The job search is a stage that everyone will go through at some point in their lives. You may have an environment in your daily life that makes managing stress more difficult, but exploring the different environments available to us can help. If your home environment makes it difficult to manage stress, perhaps you can find a little more calm in a local coffee shop or park? 

  1. Finally, another important element to consider during a stressful time such as a job search is the people around you. Talking about your difficulties to your close friends, partner and family is a great way to get some relief and encouragement in your job search. Also, perhaps this is a good time checking in on others to take us out of our own head and provide a comforting distraction.  

Did this article help you? These tools were made possible by the advice of Micheline Léger, an employment counsellor at Espace Pivot for 25 years. Our employment counsellors, orientations and psychosocial counsellors are specialists in the field and are always ready to help you! Our services are free and are offered in English and French.