3 Ways to Make Your Job Search Stress-Free

December 10th, 2014 | Articles, Resume | No Comments »

Feeling Stressed

Unfortunately for most of us, there isn’t a pause button for our lives. That’s abundantly clear for anyone trying to juggle a job search with everything else. Family obligations, work, volunteering, and (heaven forbid) some social time all get squeezed until we find that new job.

This pressure can build into toxic amounts of stress. That is, unless you follow these rules for a stress-free job search.

Break down your job search

Completing all parts of a job search in one sitting can exhaust even the most resilient of us. And it’s just not necessary. Most highly productive people achieve more in less time.

That’s accomplished by breaking their projects into manageable pieces. Remember, a mountain range is more easily traveled when the distance is broken down into a series of foothills.

One way to divide up big tasks is to schedule parts throughout the day. Handle most of your search (checking job boards and sending messages to recruiters) early. That’s the time when positions are being posted and recruiters have time to read messages. If you’re currently employed, save the time consuming stuff for later. If you’re unemployed, you can dive right into this next bit (the earlier the better).

When you sit down to customize your resume or draft a message to a new network contact, complete them in reasonable chunks. The Pomodoro Technique is one way to quickly finish up projects.

  • Set a timer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Push yourself to work without interruption.
  • Stop once the buzzer sounds.
  • Give yourself a 3-5 minute break.
  • Repeat.

The process accomplishes two things. One, it compels you to steer clear of distractions (you just have to focus for 30 minutes at most). Two, it gives you a mental cool-down after your work like a spritz of cold water on a sweltering hot day.

Make your search a team effort

Admit it. You’d rather be doing one of a hundred other things than sitting down to look for a job. The good news is you can do other things and still find a job.

Direct referrals are one of the most common ways hiring managers find new employees. To make that happen, you’ll need to new or currently strong contacts to vouch for you in a professional setting. And that requires you to emerge from your hermitage and network.

Networking isn’t just confined to a conference hall where people wear generic name badges. It’s as diverse as grabbing a drink with old friends, mingling at a charity event, or chatting with others before you run a marathon. Any time you converse with people is a chance to advance your job search. Although each networking interaction will be different, you should always follow these tips:

  • Ask questions that get more than yes or no answers. And ask follow up questions to those questions.
  • Learn about that person’s passions. Find what you can do to make them happen.
  • Finish (don’t start) with a business card. Give them a reminder of how to reach you.

Release and relieve your stress

Stress doesn’t need to be a given in your job search. Even when you have several responsibilities up in the air, there are natural ways to cut down your stress.

Stress is a chemical response to situations that your body interprets as being potentially harmful. Cortisol and epinephrine are the two main culprits behind any feelings of stress you may have. And like any hormone, there are natural ways to regulate them.

Exercise is a natural mood enhancer. Ever hear of a runner’s high? That’s the results of endorphins interacting with the pain receptors in your brain. It reduces the potency of negative feelings and promotes a general sense of well-being.

Magnesium is another great way to relieve stress. Fatty fish, liver, seaweed, and even mineral water all carry healthy doses of the nutrient. A lack of magnesium can cause any number of maladies from anxiety and depression to muscle cramps and seizures. Stress depletes our reserves of magnesium, so it makes sense to eat more of the above foods to remain at an even-keel. In fact, there are plenty of medical cases where magnesium (combined with other lifestyle changes) helped to boost mood, memory, and IQ.

The Bottom Line:

You don’t have to accept stress as a natural part of your job search. That’s even true for those with a deadline (the unemployed or those in bad jobs). There are plenty of simple ways to relive your stress while still putting in hard work to land the job of your dreams.

by James Walsh

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