Pace Yourself: How to Handle the Stress of Job Searching

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Posted by The Editors on March 13, 2012
Pace Yourself: How to Handle the Stress of Job Searching
Recently, my high school-aged cousin texted me for help with a class project. She was polling my family to see how we “manage stress” in our lives.

It’s kind of odd to stop and think about how you manage stress—normally you just handle it without thinking. Not to toot my own horn, but I’m a pretty calm, rational, and decisive person (in fact, my one coworker calls me the sensei of the office). So I like to think I handle stress pretty well. But how exactly do I handle stress? What is my thought process?

After thinking it over, I texted her back and said that the main way I handle stress is by setting shorter, more realistic goals. For instance, I’m training to run a 10-mile race in May. Just typing that sentence gets my heart racing. But since I’ve set shorter goals for myself, that will help me build up my speed and endurance over time, I’ve found it easier to stay focused.

For me, it’s that simple. When I’m stressed about something, I find that setting, achieving, and celebrating those smaller goals is what sustains me to make the bigger goal a reality. Then I thought about how this concept can be applied to job searching. With job searching it’s easy to say: My goal is to get a new job. But actually getting the job is a completely daunting task. To make the process easier and a little less stressful, try setting shorter, weekly goals to prepare you for achieving the big one.

Here are a few examples you could plan on accomplishing each week:

•Set up a networking or informational interview.

•Attend a networking event and make three solid connections to follow up with.

•Buy a suit or other interview outfit.

•Update your LinkedIn profile and ask for three recommendations on the site.

•Research companies in your industry and check their job boards for unadvertised jobs.

•Reconnect with and secure three to four references for when you need them.

•Create a budget and do salary research by looking up people in your industry and experience level

Of course, an ongoing weekly goal should be to apply to a handful of jobs. By taking your job search step by step, it really does make it more manageable and ultimately, less stressful.

What goals have you set in your job search? And what are the best ways you manage your stress?

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