Job search stress is unavoidable – here are 3 easy steps to help manage it!

By: Elyse Villanueva | Philanthropy Manager for Let’s Eat, Grandma

So you’ve decided to jump into a job search — congratulations!

But whether you just graduated, decided to quit, or got laid off, I’m sure you’re thinking…

“Now what?”

Gathering and improving all the necessary resources, paying attention to upcoming deadlines, and (worst of all) playing the waiting game can all work together to make you feel like the picture above.

Don’t let this stress overtake your capacity for success in your job search! Here are 3 easy steps to effectively manage your job search stress.


1. Plan ahead or you’ll be left behind

A photo of a great mass of small fish taking the form of giant shark swallowing a smaller shark - a metaphor for how much organization helps in managing job search stress.
A little organization goes a long way towards managing job search stress.
  • Identify your career goals! Before doing anything, look at your big picture goals to guide you on where and what to look for in job postings. Ask yourself: “Where do I want to be in 5 or 10 years? What kinds of positions could give me value and experience for that future?”
  • Start early! Staying ahead of the game can only benefit you, and in a job search it might benefit you tremendously. According to research by StartWire, 1/4 of jobs are filled within the first two days of a posting.
  • Create a job search plan and stick to it! Finding time is often the hardest part of a job search, but creating a schedule that you will frequently see (maybe on your phone or a post-it note on your laptop) can keep you in line.
    • Sit down and take a look at your schedule to delegate windows of free time for your job search. It may be helpful to break down your search into small tasks for each period of free time. For example, you can spend a couple of hours one day searching for job postings, and then a few hours the next day crafting your resume for each position.
    • Be consistent! Research has shown that consistent practice of time management is related to lower stress. This means that you’ll spend less energy on worrying and more on perfecting your resume.

2. Simplify your job search

  • Quality, not quantity! Only apply to positions that you are qualified for – i.e., don’t settle for a bunch of jobs that you are over-qualified for.
  • When you apply to only a few quality positions, you can focus on personalizing your cover letter and proofreading your resume to perfection!

3. Keep track of your job search

A classic meme from a classic Toy Story template - Buzz Lightyear grabs Woody and says (this time): "Deadlines, deadlines everywhere"
  • Write down the details of your job search as you go. It’s helpful to take notes on your job search to avoid mistakes and capitalize on what worked in the future. You can do this in an Excel spreadsheet, or even just write it down on a notebook or Word document. Here are some factors to consider:
    • The company name
    • Date applied
    • Application deadline
    • Documents submitted (including online application, etc.)
    • Interview date
    • If you sent a follow-up email or not
    • Status (If you were rejected, accepted, received a 2nd interview, etc.)
  • Set up reminders for important dates. Stay organized every moment of the day by putting reminders in your phone calendar, notes, or alarm to stay on top of impending deadlines, interviews, and other important dates.
  • It’s okay to be old school! If technology isn’t your friend, a notebook or planner can also serve as a great way to take notes during your job search, networking events, or interviews.

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day for an effective job search. If you are still feeling overwhelmed with job search stress, don’t worry – we have your back!

Schedule a free phone consultation here to learn how our writing team can ease at least one part of the process with an expertly crafted resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.