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Overcoming Job Search Anxiety: Signs & Strategies

When a person is going through the job searching process there is a high possibility there are other factors in their life that could be causing stress or anxiety. Depending on an individual’s personal circumstance, there could be many reasons why they are experiencing job search anxiety. They might have just spent years at university and are now struggling to secure a position in their chosen field. This can lead to self-doubt and question whether they have made the right decisions (you can read a great article on LinkedIn here), It is written by a recent MBA graduate who shares their job search struggles). Perhaps the job seeker has a family who depends on their income, this creates immense pressure on the individual and can be damaging to their mental health. Or, perhaps they work in a toxic environment, in a job they dislike and desperately need to find alternative employment. Whatever the situation may be, it can create stress, anxiety and impact a person’s wellbeing. So you can be the best version of yourself once you secure employment, why not off load some of the pressure of finding the right job opportunity. atWork Australia supports people living with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions to find employment. See how they can help you here.

What is Job Search Anxiety?

Job Search anxiety is incredibly common, regardless of the persons level of experience. Job searching can be a cutthroat process and it requires a certain level of vulnerability. The process starts with drafting the perfect cover letter and resume to suit each position you apply for, and then you’re left waiting for a response that often never comes. This can create more stress! A job seeker may then begin reflecting upon themselves, asking questions, such as why didn’t I get a response, am I not good enough, or what could I have done differently?!

Then, if you’re lucky enough to secure an interview, this can amplify the stress and anxiety as you are put to the test to prove you are the best person for the position. Similar to submitting the application, if you’re not successful in the interview, the questions of self-doubt continue. Overtime, if a person experiences these feelings of rejection on a regular basis, it can create more anxiety around the process and impacts the individual’s overall wellbeing. In essence, job search anxiety refers to the angst a person experiences while searching for employment. Here are 10 Ways to Reduce Job Search Anxiety.

What does Job Search Anxiety Look Like?

Job search anxiety can manifest in multiple ways. Some signs could include limited motivation toward job searching, feeling overwhelmed by the process or, having difficulty concentrating and focussing on the job at hand. The first step to overcoming job search anxiety is acknowledging it for what it actually is rather than just brushing it off. As previously mentioned, the anxiety could be a result of multiple factors, and you may feel that taking a break or cutting back on the time you spend on completing job searches is not an option. However, by not addressing these issues will cause more harm, the quality of the job applications will decline and the job searching process will continue to bare no results. If you experience any job search anxiety warning signs, you should take immediate action to put steps in place to structure your job searching process. atWork Australia have published a great blog that breaks down job search burnout and outlines some simple strategies to support you on your job searching journey, you can read it here .

What Causes Job Search Anxiety?

The cause of job search anxiety can be different for everyone. However, some of the common causes could be a negative mindset, self-doubt, fear of failure or rejection. Often the prolonged stress of looking for a new job can be the icing on the cake. Potentially you are already working in a toxic environment, a job you don’t enjoy or, you might be struggling to make ends meet. These alone are stressful situations and when coupled with consistent unsuccessful job applications it can be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. If your job search begins impacting your wellbeing, make sure you seek professional help. atWork Australia’s Wellness Services support job seekers to improve their wellbeing before and during employment. Learn more here.

Strategies to Alleviate Job Search Anxiety

Taking action early is the key to managing job search anxiety, here are a few simple strategies that can help through out the job seeking journey:


  1. Find Support: First and foremost, it is essential to have strong support networks, such as friends and family who value you for more than your job title. You can connect with job searching groups on Facebook or LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can seek professional support from atWork Australia, who can support you at every stage of the job seeking journey. Connect with atWork Australia here.


  1. Know Your Finances: Personal finances can be a major cause of anxiety. Having a good understanding of your cash flow can help you identify areas where you could potentially cut back, if required. Additionally, depending on the state of your finances you may have to broaden your job search and consider alternative options. Having a clear understanding of your finances can help you establish a timeframe for when these changes need to be implemented.


  1. Set a Schedule: When there is no structure to the job searching process it can be easy to waste time scrolling and not making any progress. Block out time in your calendar that is dedicated to job searching and set yourself specific targets for what you want to achieve. For example, identify a certain number of jobs, update your resume and cover letter, submit your applications, or work on personal development activities.


  1. Be Patient and kind to Yourself: It is important to remember that finding a new job can take time. It won’t happen overnight, you have to be patient and be prepared that throughout the process you will face some rejection. These are the times when you need to lean on your support networks, stay positive and be kind to yourself.

Job Search Success Stories

When you’re in the thick of it, it might seem you’re going around in circles and not making any progress in your job search journey. It can be easy to think – why is this happening to me – it looks easier for everyone else! It is important to remember that you’re not alone, job searching is difficult for everyone. It can sometimes be helpful and inspiring to see how others have overcome their job searching challenges. Every year, atWork Australia help thousands of job seekers to overcome their barriers to find meaningful employment. You can read some of their success stories here.


There is no sugar coating it – sometimes job searching can be tough. However, if you follow some of the tips and strategies outlined above, it can help reduce the potential of job search anxiety. Remember, this is a challenging process for everyone. So, be patient, stick at it, be kind to yourself, and most importantly know that there is plenty of support available. If you need support to overcome your job search anxiety and you want a team of professionals to guide you on the job seeking journey, get in touch with atWork Australia today.

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