Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Top 5 ways to relieve job-hunting stress

Below is another great question from my inbox, whose answer I thought would benefit you too. 

Leslie writes...

...I have loved my first job teaching Kindergarten, but I'm only getting one-year contracts and every year I feel like I'm back at square-one trying to find another job. Do you have any tips on how to handle the stress that comes with looking for a job and trying to pursue my passion?

My response...

1. Find someone who has a job you want - As I lay out in my book, the #1 thing to do when you're stressed about finding a job is to get to know and ask the advice of professionals who are currently in that job. As much as possible, get to know other teachers who are doing what you want to do and ask them their advice for finding a job.

They will have the best insider information for your particular industry - and as you get to know more and more people you will grow connections and might even get a job that way, though the main purpose is always just to ask for advice and to listen.

2. Read career books - What also really helped me with the stress of finding a job was checking out every career book I could at the library. Not only do they offer a lot of helpful tips to implement, but the act of reading them and trying out different tips relieves stress as it makes you feel like you have more control. 

It's also good to read biographies or autobiographies of people who interest you. In their stories you'll often see most great people go through a lot of hardship and failure and stress in their journey. Their stories also hold subtle tips on how to get through the hard stuff and continue towards your goals, shedding a little light at the end of your tunnel.

3. Make time for you -  It's so important not to let the job hunt consume every waking moment of your life (I remember scrolling through job listings on the summer after college until 2am one night - not a good idea). Make time for friends. Exercise. Do something fun that makes you feel like YOU. It can be so demoralizing not to have a job and it can start to make you feel horrible. It's vital to maintain confidence and to remember that a job doesn't define you.

4. Journal - Looking for a job is stressful and the rejection sometimes forces you to face some of your deepest insecurities. Getting your thoughts out on paper is cathartic and will help you learn from the journey itself. It's important to keep the journal positive and hopeful, but it's also okay to vent your frustrations too.

5. Remember that you're not alone - Getting a job is so hard. For pretty much everyone. And while our society talks a lot about the unemployment rate percentages and the importance of a college degree, no one really talks about the awful feeling that you get in between. 

Keep asking for advice and talking to other people who are going through the same thing to remind yourself that this is a journey, an adventure. And if you've found something you really want to do, you just have to keep trying and keep the faith that your hard work will pay off, even if it feels like it never will.

Good luck on your job hunt, and keep sending your questions to!

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