Overcoming Job Search Anxiety

A colleague of mine recently asked me if job search anxiety is real or fake. My response back to him was a resounding YES; it is genuine!

That comment drove me to write this article on Overcoming Job Search Anxiety. All those rejection letters, uncomfortable interviews, and the stress of providing for your family are some things that contribute to job search anxiety.

Also, the pressure of finding that perfect job will add stress. For many, the job search is overwhelming, to the point where your job hunting process feels completely hopeless.

Job search anxiety and depression are natural and backed by many university studies – it’s not something you should take lightly.

In this article, I will discuss many warning signs of job search anxiety, how to overcome the fear of applying to jobs, job search depression, and more.

Let’s look at topics in-depth and navigate the job-hunting process with a positive mindset.

Job Search Anxiety Warning Signs

job search anxiety warning signs

You’re not alone if your job search has you down, anxious, or pessimistic. Have you ever felt nervous, hopeless, defeated, or depressed about your job search?

You are not alone; even the most well-qualified candidates can experience these symptoms.

Other symptoms may include insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, withdrawal from activities you once loved or withdrawal from family and friends, feelings of shame, helplessness, or hopelessness.

Causes of Job Search Anxiety include:

Lack of positions of Interest: You may struggle to find jobs that interest you, which makes the whole job-hunting process feel hopeless. You may even fear settling on a job you won’t enjoy simply for the paycheck.

Not getting called for job interviews: If you’re finding and applying for jobs that you like and are the perfect fit for but fail to score a job interview, you may start questioning everything.

You get the interview, but you are not getting the role: It is challenging when you don’t hear back after an interview. You’re left wondering what went wrong with no concrete answers; plus, the more time passes, the worse you feel. You might start to doubt yourself and or your skills.

You may feel as if you’re never going to land something valuable and something that will be of interest. This uncertainty tends to rot and only makes matters worse. You might feel like a failure the longer your job search goes on. The good news here, besides that you’re not alone, is that you can fix this unpleasant situation with a few easy tips.

How To Get Over Anxiety of Applying to Jobs?

So what causes this job searching anxiety, and how could you effectively overcome this?

Do not let stress manage you and sap you of your energy. Instead, working on the things you can do that are in your control will help you work through most cases of job search anxiety. Take things one day at a time, and use as much fire and passion to help you manage and control stress.

find a job

Tips on overcoming job search anxiety

Create a process – Job search anxiety increases when you think about all the tasks and preparation activities you must do, which quickly gets you feeling overloaded. Break down things into smaller tasks – Resume, Interview preparation, reviewing daily job openings, Applying to jobs, and any follow-ups.

Create a schedule – Once you have broken out specific tasks, set aside a few hours daily to work on this new process. Commit to yourself to sit down daily to work on the tasks without failure.

Set a Deadline – You must set deadlines for the tasks you identified in your new process – you will never feel like the job is completed unless you hold yourself accountable. If been a few years since you conducted a job search, give yourself a deadline to update your resume.

Focus on Specific Actionable Tasks – Instead of worrying about what may go wrong, use your energy to focus on what is in your control, like your resume (ensuring that it is updated and super clear with all your accomplishments), preparing for interview questions (remember and practice your elevator speech), looking on job sites for job openings of interest, and applying!

Don’t go for perfection; what is perfect for you, may not be ideal for someone else, however, do focus on completing your daily tasks – and make it a daily habit.

Once again, in order to overcome the fear of applying to jobs, you can not let stress manage you and sap you of your energy. Work on the things that are in your control and take things one day at a time.

Job Search Depression

job search depression

Can a job search cause depression?

Stress from job-seeking, applying to hundreds of jobs, going on stressful interviews, and fearing rejection have all been linked to emotional and mental health problems such as depression.

Some big red flags can indicate outside support should be sought, especially when symptoms happen over a prolonged period.

Some red flags are; unusual mood swings, lack of interest in activities that you once loved, long periods of sleeping, negative personal interactions, significant weight gains or losses, alcohol and substance abuse, less involved with family, and low self-esteem are some red flags we need to work through – and it’s OKAY to seek out professional help if needed.

Here are a few suggestions on destressing that will help you fight through any depression:

  • Exercise and get your cardio up
  • Relax your muscles and take deep breathing through yoga or meditation
  • Do relaxation exercises
  • Eat well and avoid sugary snacks
  • Find an activity in which you can immerse yourself in a creative outlet
  • Take a break and go for a walk, ride a bike, or work on a hobby
  • Be in the moment with one of your senses – stop and smell the roses, and find something beautiful in your life that makes you happy (go to your happy place in your mind)

Last but certainly NOT least – talk about your problems and don’t keep things bottled up inside – talking to a trained professional can help. It is not something you should NOT feel bad about. Try reading up on the subject to learn more, and again, if needed, look for a job counselor or therapist that can help you through this…of course, you can always leave a comment below, and I will try my best to help guide you as well.

Amazon Best Sellers – Overcoming Job Search Anxiety

Amazon has many amazing books, programs, and training materials that you can use in your job search – here are some tremendous materials and additional resources available to you at Amazon!

Overcoming Job Search Anxiety

Here are a few of my favorites that I would personally recommend:

Lauren Herring is CEO of IMPACT Group, the largest woman-owned career coaching company supporting over 200 Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Over the past 30 years, IMPACT Group has successfully helped hundreds of thousands of people find jobs. Additionally, Lauren has donated IMPACT Group’s services to thousands of individuals in underserved communities, helping them to find jobs, dignity and economic independence.

Take Control of Your Job Search – When finding a job, resumes and networking will only get you so far. Chances are your emotions are showing up in your job search and possibly derailing any forward movement. From fear and anxiety to ego and overconfidence, your feelings might make it harder for you to get a job. Luckily, those emotions can be mastered!

Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC is a career counselor, professional speaker, and obsessive fan of daily inspiration books. She has coached thousands of clients, including through twenty years in her own business, Litzinger Career Consulting. Karen is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Career Counselor who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her quirky dog, Georgie.

Help Wanted: An A to Z Guide to Cope with the Ups and Downs of the Job Search is your support team. Whether you are beginning the search or struggling with long-term unemployment, this book can help you keep or rediscover a positive perspective. 

Conclusion – And A Special Note

Engaging all your senses, like with yoga and meditation, is a way to keep yourself grounded and takes your focus off what is stressing you. If one method doesn’t work, look to find one that does. Practicing skills to cool you down takes a lot of practice and trial and error – so be patient with yourself, and you will reap the benefits.

Plus, to repeat – if needed, look for a job counselor or therapist that can help you through this…and of course, you can always leave a comment below, and I will try my best to help guide you as well.

Are you interested in:

  • Gaining more control of your career destiny?
  • Creating greater income and career security through a side business?
  • Diversifying your assets and income?
  • Building your own personal wealth and financial independence?
  • Have you ever considered building a successful online affiliate marketing business?

Maybe you have put a lot of time into thinking about how things would be if you were in charge of your own legacy and financial future. You’ve probably planned how you will do things differently and thought about how you would follow in the tried-and-true footsteps of other successful online affiliate marketers and learn from those already making money in this business.

You CAN choose to escape the grind and hassles of your current job and invest in yourself. Here is how:

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4 thoughts on “Overcoming Job Search Anxiety”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing how to overcome job search anxiety!

    I think everyone has this, especially for those who really need a job… and waiting to hear back from a job they really want!

    I think it’s important to apply for as many jobs as you like so that you can find different options.

    I’ve applied for 3-5 jobs at a time and from there, I get to see which one aligns with me more!

    The uncertainty and anxiety comes from not having the security and doing something new again!

    • Hi Lorenz…

      Thank you for your comment and feedback.  You are right; having the added pressure of needing a job certainly adds to Job Search Anxiety.  I also have been in the situation where you didn’t know where your next meal ticket would be coming from, which happened in the 50s, further adding to the stress as age became a factor.

      Thank you for your input!


  2. Looking for a new job can be such a stressful time, specially if you are currently unemployed and have bills and obligations. From writing your resume, to searching for the ideal job and sending off applications, it can all lead to increased anxiety and stress. Getting rejection letters and being turned down at interviews, can certainly lead to depression. 

    Knowing what to look out for and mentally preparing yourself for the job search process, can help you to prevent stress and depression. Sharing your feelings will also help to feel less anxious. And yes take a break from it all and get some exercise or do meditation and it can help to give you a positive mindset. 

    • Thank you for your comments and feedback. You are so right when looking for a job it’s even harder if you are out of work and worried about covering your expenses and paying for food for your family. All this can lead to depression and anxiety which could affect you when your on interviews. You’re also right to exercise which is very important to help clear your mind and help keep you in the right mindset — and focused. 

      Once again, thank you for your comment, and for reading the article!



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