Does job hunting stress you out? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone.
The global pandemic, Covid fatigue, and burnout have created the perfect storm for stress levels. For jobseekers, this anxiety is compounded by the wider economic climate: be that worries over finances; lack of opportunities; wider political uncertainty; or the pressure of the application process and interviews.
Data by YouGov shows that those who are currently out of work and seeking employment are 40% more likely to experience feelings of anxiety than the national average. Similarly, nearly two thirds (63%) worry about the direction of their life while being 86% more likely to describe themselves as “depressed” in comparison to the rest of the nation.
But we want to help! We know that searching for a job can be difficult and maintaining motivation can be even harder, so to mark Stress Awareness Day, we’ve put together our top tips to minimise stress while looking for a new job.
1) Break it down
As of this week, there are over 1.2 million live job adverts in the UK, which can seem like a daunting prospect at first. Before you start your job search, it’s important to drill down the exact requirements for a new role to narrow down opportunities and sort vacancies into manageable ‘chunks’.
Consider your skills and experience and any keywords associated with these, as well as things like location, salary, and company. Bear in mind that many employers have transitioned to a hybrid office set up or may even have fully remote options, so it’s worth considering jobs further afield too. Use search filters to sort opportunities into lists that feel more manageable so you’re not overwhelmed with too many options. Our Ultimate Guide to Finding a Job is a great place to start!
2) Make the most of the tools available
There are countless tools that have been created to make finding a job as easy as possible. Adzuna’s advanced search feature is designed to search for specific phrases, salary limits or locations to help you find your specific requirements. If you’re looking for a work-from-home position, we have a remote filter. We also add ‘Jobsworth’ estimates to any job ads that don’t specify advertised salaries, giving you guidance on pay when applying for a role.
Take a look through recruitment sites, Jobcentre advice pages and job boards to find the tools that work for you, then use them at every opportunity to alleviate some of the pressure.
3) Take a break
The work that comes with the job hunt can be intense and, if not carefully managed, can quickly lead to burnout.
As you would with any normal workload, set yourself clear parameters for searching and applying for jobs and allow yourself to have a break outside of these times.
It may sound obvious, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider going outside for some fresh air and a walk. Sometimes a change of scene can work wonders. Or perhaps try some breathing exercises or meditation to help relieve the pressure. Apps like Calm and Headspace are great places to start and can guide you through a simple meditation.
4) Know your worth
If a job hunt continues over a long period of time, don’t be disheartened. Ensure you always come back to your relevant skills and experience and remember how they make you an asset for an employer.
Don’t be tempted to settle for less, as this will only lead to issues further down the line. If you’re not sure where to begin, do some research to find average salaries in your area for the roles you’re looking for. A tool like ValueMyCV provides salary estimates based on your skills and experience, so you know your ‘market worth’ before starting your job search. This will give you a good guide to help steer your search and can help you when negotiating salaries when you get to that stage (and you will)!
5) Set realistic targets
Once you begin searching you’re bound to come across many opportunities that you could apply for, but it’s important not to try to go after all of them at once. Doing this will not only increase your stress levels and make your job hunt more exhausting but will most likely mean the quality of your applications will deteriorate. Avoid a ‘spray and pray’ approach (sending the same application out to lots of different employers) and instead make sure all your applications are tailored and specific to each role. One really good application is much more likely to result in an interview than ten half-hearted attempts so it’s well worth the extra effort.
Set yourself achievable targets each day and do everything you can to stick to them. These targets could be as simple as spending half an hour reviewing job sites, or spending a bigger chunk of time updating your CV or submitting an application.
Whatever your targets are, review your progress every day and ask yourself whether your aims are realistic, or if you’re setting yourself up for stress before you’ve even begun.
6) Ask for help
Often one of the hardest things to do when feeling stressed, asking for some help is the most powerful tool at your disposal.
Help and advice can be found on council and Jobcentre websites, on various recruitment sites and forums, in local libraries and various careers and employability services across the country. You can also recruit friends and family, who can help monitor opportunities, proofread CVs and cover letters, or help to roleplay interviews. A friendly face and a cup of tea can help build your confidence and take your mind off the stresses of jobhunting.
It’s also worth checking out the Government’s latest initiatives to support the economy and exploring whether financial help is available to take some of the pressure off you. If you’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week you may be eligible for New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Both of these benefits are separate to Universal Credit (UC) and in fact you may be eligible for them on top of UC.
Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence as there will always be a resource, friend or app that can help!
Looking for some CV help? Check out ValueMyCV for tips on how to improve your CV and to find out what you’re worth in today’s jobs market.