Have you ever taken a moment to stop and think about why job searching feels so stressful? For many, rejection is terrifying in any situation, but when your education, experience, and skills are being evaluated, the thought of being “not enough” can negatively impact your motivation and perspective.
Many people experience employability anxiety in the job market and you are not alone!
The job search process is stressful, overwhelming, and anxiety-inducing, especially for the very first time. For those returning to or beginning another search, remember that the job market changes quickly and may be very different now than it was in the past. Visiting the UGA Career Center is a great way to stay up-to-date on these changes and we want to share some strategies and reminders for staying centered as you navigate your next job search.
First, do your best to focus primarily on factors that YOU control.
This may be much easier said than done but in a situation where the unknowns appear limitless, try to find a few concrete things to lean on. For example:
• Creating and submitting polished and tailored application documents (No typos, please!)
• Setting SMART goals. “I will apply for 3 jobs per week” is more specific, realistic, and achievable than “I want to have a new job by the end of the month”.
• Practicing timely and consistent follow-up communication with recruiters or hiring managers.
Next, share your job search process with someone else!
Consider finding a personal or professional mentor—someone that knows you well can also help you best articulate your unique strengths when crafting a resume, cover letter, or preparing for an interview. In some cases, a trusted friend or family member can get over-involved and project their own goals or values onto your process. While it may come from a place of well-intentioned support and encouragement, it can also contribute to higher levels of stress for you as the applicant. Using a mentor as an objective third party can help you set and stay focused on your own goals and values. Check out the UGA Mentor Program page for more information on how to get started!
Career Consultants in the UGA Career Center are also trained to help you navigate the systemic barriers you may encounter in a job search including discrimination based on race, age, sexual orientation, gender, or other social identities. Read more about how we can support your search by viewing our collection of diversity resources here.
Utilize social media during a job search—join Facebook groups, Twitter chats, or LinkedIn groups to engage in conversations about job openings and hiring practices in the industries you’re interested in.
Lastly, stay organized.
You may experience some stress relating to the sheer volume of applications you complete and that’s okay! The average job searcher may submit anywhere from 30-50 job applications before moving forward in the hiring process. Using a job search spreadsheet or other documentation process helps keep timelines and contact information under control. Creating one document that holds submission date, follow-up dates, contact person, and submission status will help you stay efficient and effective throughout your search.
Additionally, many popular job search engines have a “saved search” function that can be utilized to decrease time spent adding filters to your search. Doing what you can to automate the process will help save time, conserve energy, and stay motivated.
It is no secret that employability anxiety is real, but focusing on controllable factors, sharing your experience with a trusted third party, and staying organized are all strategies to deal with the high stress levels that come with trying to land that new job. With a 96% career outcomes rate in 2018, UGA graduates have historically seen employability successes, but a job search also requires time, effort, and strategic planning across all industries and disciplines.
Remember that as a UGA student or alumni, you have access to your very own Career Consultant meant to help you employ these strategies and create more individualized action plans. To learn more about how to connect with us, please visit our website or call our office at (706) 542-3375.