How to deal with job searching anxiety?

How to deal with job searching anxiety?

One of the issue most – just because I don’t want to say EVERY – job-seekers have is to deal with the recruitment process waiting game. It’s normal to be anxious and even upset by this process, because is essentially out of your control. There are a couple things you can do to make this process more manageable.

1) Understand the processes timings. If you have applied for a position in the United Nations – that’s not a consultancy – expect your process to take from 3 months to a year. Some of them, like the YPP and other international processes may take longer. That being said, if you are shortlisted, you are allowed to ask for the approximate time of the process and plan.

2) Don’t put all your hopes in one process. Even if there was a position that was perfect for you and you thought you were the perfect fit, there are many elements that are beyond our control: nepotism, perception, what aspect of that role the organisation is focussing on… So, until you get a definite yes and a letter, don’t put all your eggs in one basket and keep looking for jobs and projects.

3) Have projects. Projects are a great way to define what you like doing, take your skills to higher levels and keep your mind of the lack of job offers. Build an online portfolio, start a blog, vlog or a podcast, support a charity, start an online petition, run a marathon, engage with causes you like, learn a new language/improve on your languages or learn to cook… The possibilities are endless… Just don’t make this process the centre and focus of your life.

4) Draft a Game Plan. This is a tedious process. A game plan can make it fun (?)… Or at least bearable… Set your goal. Than the position you should be holding now in order to get there. Write what that position (now) would look like or at least the job title and look for it. Set goal like applying for 3 jobs every week from Actionaid, MSF and Oxfam. Or along those lines. Be realistic, but be specific.

5) Find a support group. A facebook group, an online forum, reddit or your friends who you can share details of your search. a) People can be generally supportive and give you tips or recommendations, b) some people are most likely in the same boat, so they can sympathise. But most importantly, this is a way to practice your networking skills and putting out there that you are looking for a job may be a good way to get some valuable information or referral.

6) Don’t major in minor things. Put this in perspective. This is not the worse that can happen to you. You have skills. You can survive doing many things. Not having an answer after 2 months is not the end of the world… When things get really really tough, ask yourself: what is the worst the could happen? And how would I deal with that? This is a good technique to understand your place at this moment and to realise that even if you don’t get an answer for your dream job in the next 24 hours, there is still plenty to do.

7) Be mindful. Some do yoga, some meditate, some run, some draw… Choose the venting method that works best for you. Give yourself a moment of peace and let your mind wander to different places. You have build up to much energy and only you can channel it in a productive way. Otherwise, it will keep building up and making you nervous, anxious, upset, stressed… I use the Mindfulness Daily app who helps keeping me on track, but now they are charging. You can find plenty of free material on youtube and just 5 minutes a day can help you become a little less anxious.

Well, this is it for this week! I’m still taking suggestions for this week, so if you have any, you can e-mail me at or send your suggestions via Facebook or Twitter.

All the best,

Natasha Leite

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