Working through Job Search Anxiety
September 17, 2020
by Joshua Cook

Working through Job Search Anxiety

Have you ever experienced days where you feel unmotivated to search for jobs online? What about the thought of calling back an employer – does this make you extremely anxious? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. What you’re experiencing is called ‘Job Search Anxiety’, and thousands of Australians experience the exact same feeling every year.

Anxiety can be occasional, comes in many forms and is usually limited in time. However, people experiencing prolonged anxiety may find it impacts their quality of life and daily activities.

While anxiousness is usually unpleasant, it’s important to remember that feeling anxious when job seeking is not uncommon, and there are supports available to help you work through these feelings.

The relationship between job seeking and anxiety

Job seeking can be stressful for many people, and over a long period it can take a toll on your mental health. anxiety and worsen conditions like depression.

Triggers for feelings like anxiety can differ from person to person, but some of the more common reasons that cause job search anxiety include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by how many tasks need to be completed as part of the job search (e.g. creating a resume, writing a cover letter, searching for jobs, interviewing, etc.)
  • A strong feeling of unease or uncertainty when applying for jobs (i.e. feeling afraid of the unknown or “what if”)
  • Constantly putting yourself down and feeling like an imposter (e.g. “I don’t deserve this job, I won’t apply” or “No one will want to hire me”)

When you’ve lost a job or you’re struggling financially it’s normal to feel anxious. But when it gets to the point where it’s hindering life choices and remains persistent, then it may be time to look at getting some help.

Ways to reduce job search anxiety

There are many ways you can work through job search anxiety. While general self-help techniques and positive thinking are extremely important, it’s also a good idea to create some processes to help you manage your anxiety levels. Some ideas include:

#1 – Write down the problem causing you worry or distress

There may be certain actions or scenarios that cause you to feel stressed or anxious. When you start to feel this way, you can write them down to help you think about how to best deal with the problem

For example, you may write “I get stressed when editing my resume” or “I have problems getting a referee”. You can then write down answers to the problems, like “I’ll ask someone to help me review my resume” or “I’ll talk to some friends or family about being a referee”

#2 – Set goals or deadlines, no matter how small the task may seem

Job seeking can be extremely daunting, especially when your only focus is finding employment. To stop yourself from feeling overwhelmed, you can set smaller more manageable goals.

For example, one week you can set time to edit your resume, and the week after to edit your cover letter. Spending time to prepare and completing tasks in a logical order is a great way to remain organised and minimise any stress or anxiety.

#3 – Reward yourself!

All the effort you put into job searching takes you one step closer to achieving your goals. There’s no doubt that applying for jobs can be hard work, so it’s important to remain positive by rewarding yourself as you achieve small milestones along the way.

For example, you could set a goal of applying for 2 jobs in one day. Once you achieve this goal, you can reward yourself by watching your favourite TV show, or ordering your favourite takeaway food.

By following these steps, you can set yourself up for success and you’ll be able to find a new job before you know it!

How Breakthru can help

Managing anxiety is never easy, so it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. At Breakthru we have a range of services and supports that can help you work through life’s challenges and achieve your goals. Some of these include services like:

Disability Employment Service (DES)

As a registered DES provider, Breakthru can help you manage feelings like anxiety so you can find and keep a job that best suits you.

As part of our Disability Employment Services, we’ll help you with a range of job seeking activities, which include:

  • Confidence building exercises like networking and mock interviews
  • Resume writing and cover letter review
  • Job-matching services and quality recruitment advice;
  • Assistance finding a job that suits your goals and skills; and
  • Help with training, awareness activities and skills development for both you and your new

Mental Health Services

Finding employment can be a stressful and a daunting experience, so if you’re interested in improving your mental health we may be able to provide some additional support.

For customers who have an NDIS plan, we can provide one-on-one or group counselling sessions to help you manage feelings like anxiety, stress and depression.

Additional mental health services we offer include:

  • community based outreach support;
  • peer support services, and;
  • family support mental health supports.

If you’re interested in one of these services or you simply need a bit of help managing anxiety, please contact our friendly staff today so we can help you on your journey toward employment.

About the author

Joshua Cook

Holding dual degrees in Business Marketing and Commerce Accounting, Josh brings more than half a decade of experience to his role as National Marketing Manager at Breakthru, based in Brisbane, Queensland. His life's journey has uniquely equipped him to serve in this vital position. Raised alongside his younger sister Katey, who has Down Syndrome, Josh has gained an intimate understanding of the challenges and societal stigmas associated with disabilities. This personal connection fuels his commitment to the mission of Breakthru - to empower individuals like Katey to access the resources and support they require to live fulfilling lives. Through his role at Breakthru, Josh aims to break down the barriers and dismantle the misconceptions that often surround people with disabilities.

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