Managing Job Search Stress Tips

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Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

We all experience a certain degree of stress when we're job searching. That stress will be compounded if go for long stretches without feeling like you are accomplishing much of anything. You've applied to several jobs, you've gotten a few interviews, but still no offers.

To combat job search stress, try setting realistic goals for yourself. An example might be: "I'm going to make four networking phone calls today." Or, "I'm going to find three new companies today that align with my interests and values." By setting goals that you know you can achieve, you'll start to get back some of that confidence you may have lost along the way.

Be realistic with timelines. If you've just submitted your resume for a position, remember that the company or organization is likely going to wait and review all applicants at a specified period of time. While it's a good idea to make a follow-up call expressing your interest, you don't want to cross the line and come across as a pushy job-seeker. Ask the company representative for an idea of when they will be selecting initial candidates for interviews. If you don't get a call within that timeframe, you may still be a candidate of interest. Don't cross off the company completely, but definitely move on and start applying for other positions.


Manage Stress with Deep Breaths

The job search can place an extreme amount of stress on all of us, often marked by shallower and faster breathing than what is considered normal. Remember to counter this stress with deep "belly breathing." With each breath, we expel carbon dioxide and take in oxygen. Instead of taking full breaths most of us typically engage in more shallow breathing, using the muscles of our chest instead of our abdomen, when we are in an anxious state.

When we practice rythmic breathing, we literally calm ourselves down by inducing a state of relaxation. In belly breathing, Begin by lying flat on the floor and placing your hands gently over your stomach. As you inhale, feel your stomach expand. When you breathe out, your abdomen goes back in. Try to inhale for a slow count of 4, following by a slight pause before exhaling to the same count. At first, try for 5 minutes of this deep breathing. Eventually, work your way up to 20 minutes. You may even want to do a slower count of breathing, taking a few more seconds for each inhale and exhale. You'll be amazed at how much calmer you feel.

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Joe Wallace