Stress During the Job Hunt

Why do people apply for new jobs?

Is it looking for more money, a better environment, a progression of career? It can be any or all of these things, but most often, the key driver is that the person feels a strong need to change their circumstances, often after developing a sense of frustration or even hopelessness about their old job or situation.

Not surprisingly, this feeling can permeate most aspects of life including the hunt for jobs. It will be relevant across the entire job search process, often prolonging the saga and greatly adding to the worry and stress associated with it.

Dealing With Stress

What can you do to change this? There is not a one-size-fits-all or single solution that will help every person in every situation but in most cases, understanding the process and being prepared helps to reduce the worry and stress.

  1. Understand that the application process is known to be stressful and your competitors will also be feeling stressed.
  2. Take an objective view of your skills and experience when trying to match that to positions on offer.
  3. Be prepared to look at the positions on offer from the perspective of an employer to understand better what they be looking for.
  4. Read the advertisement and make sure that your resumé demonstrates that you have the skills and competency for the role.
  5. Even if you can’t match every criterion, consider whether you have transferrable skills that an employer would be prepared to work with and accommodate because you might have other positive attributes.
  6. Ensure that every new job you apply for, is matched with a custom written cover letter and resumé that demonstrates how you are well aligned to the role.
  7. Understand that even though this requires more work than just using a standard cover letter and resumé will not show you in your best light.
  8. Do some research into the company you are applying to work with and use this information in the application process. If it is a recruiter, be aware that a lot of recruiting agencies specialise in a particular type of work so you might be able to infer something from that when crafting your approach.
  9. Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read everything that you intend to send out, before you send it.
  10. Keep a copy of the application that you send – it will come in useful should you be selected for an interview.
  11. Learn some simple strategies for controlling anxiety so that when you are invited to an interview you can present as calmly as possible.
  12. Give some thought to potential questions that you think you might be asked and remember that some of the questions will be derived from your application. So be familiar with what you said in the application.
  13. Be willing to ask questions at the interview. Especially when questions are not only financial, they demonstrate that you are part of the process, have a deeper understanding of the job and makes a greater impression. It also emphasises that you have a say in whether you believe that the job will be a good fit for your needs.
  14. Regardless of how you think the interview went, keep an open mind and keep looking at other options. The job is not yours until you have been given an offer that you have accepted.

It can be a difficult processes that often takes longer than you would like, but the effort you put it in, will be repaid by putting you in the best position for the best available job at the time.


Happy job hunting!


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Dr Schultz spent 22 years working in psychiatry and then went on to qualify as a lawyer. He has spent 34 years helping people solve problems and the unique combination of medicine, psychiatry, law and mediation provides a unique academic and practical approach to life's challenges.

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