Oh, how I dread the painful moment of clarity which comes immediately after a period of high stress! You see things all too clearly right after the worst is over- especially your personal faults. Here’s my Achilles heel: the snowball. I am not great at keeping my career separate from my family and other parts of my life, and because of this, the stress bleeds out and starts impacting everything. This is also true of job search stress.
Wrong way to go. And so not helpful!
So let’s change that. Let’s talk about the ways that you may be adding your special sauce of misery to the job search and remove it from the recipe:
3 Types of Job Search Stress (Super-Stressors) to Be Aware of:
Job Search Stress #1: Drawing Conclusions About Your Self-Worth Based on A Game that You Have VERY LITTLE Experience Playing.
Soccer was my main sport when I was a kid. But one year, out of curiosity, I decided to play baseball.
It’s impossible for me to accurately describe just how bumbling I was. I wasn’t just bad– it was like I’d grown up on another planet, had adapted to that foreign gravity, and was now attempting to pass for a normal person here on Earth. Gangly legs going the wrong way. Bat not remotely connecting with ball.
Let me be clear: as a jobseeker, you are playing baseball. Not soccer. And that is NO indicator of your self-worth!
Soccer is what you do. It’s what you excel at. It’s what you’re trying to open doors to.
The job search is an ENTIRELY different game. It functions according to different rules, uses different assets to gauge value, and is NOT representative of your worth as a professional!
If it’s been years since you’ve done this, or if you’ve NEVER had to do it before, give yourself a break! Treat yourself as kindly as you would a novice to a new game- because that’s what you are.
Job Search Stress #2: Letting the Little Pleasures and Self-Care Slide.
Why do we prioritize things like checking emails and answering calls as “essential”…while letting those simple pleasures and self-care habits that sustain us for the LONG-TERM slide at the first sign of stress?
Here’s a tip: EARN job search time through physical exercise and self-improvement.
In other words, if you need 5 hours this coming week to spend hunting for a new opportunity, then you need to invest 5 hours in working out, meditating, taking an online course, volunteering….feeding your body and spirit.
This will do 2 things for you.
The first is that you’ll be an optimal state to meet the stresses of the job search…and actually see the opportunity present therein instead of just the negatives. Once you begin to “ride the wave” you’ll see fast paths to success that you could never have imagined.
The second is that you’ll begin to see that job search effectiveness is much more about how strategic you are than the raw QUANTITY of effort you put in. Tightly curtailing job search time will force you to do those things which terrify you, the big moves….and that’s exactly what you should be doing!
Job Search Stress #3: Getting Freaked about the “Competition”
Don’t fall for the trap of creating a “perfect candidate” in your mind based on the job postings you’ve been coming across! You don’t have to match up to this false ideal. And here’s why:
Job postings are NOT an accurate representation of what it takes to do the job. It’s a description that’s been cooked up by multiple chefs, padded out over a period of time, and in many cases completely DIVORCED from reality.
In other words, it’s a red herring.
Focus instead of people who actually have the job(s) you’re targeting. Look them up on LinkedIn. Join the groups they belong to. Send connection request messages to those whom you share mutual connections with, and start a conversation. You’d be AMAZED at what people are willing to tell you if you engage them as a STUDENT, not a taker. And as you do this, you’ll begin to see the difference between what’s ESSENTIAL for success at the role…and what’s merely optional.
Remember: the best-qualified candidate on paper only gets the job about 38% of the time. Which means that in the MAJORITY of cases, someone came in, established basic credibility and fit, and then proceeded to win the day through showing unique value. People do it every day. You can do it. And don’t let job search stress get in the way of that!