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Stress & The Job Search

Stress & The Job Search

This is one topic we haven’t covered on Approachthemarket.co.uk since we started the website, yet it is something at the top of many people’s list that I meet – job hunting is stressful.

For many of us, stress comes with the territory and some people are able to keep it under control reasonably well.  For others though, it can be a constant battle and if the meeting I had with a Finance Director last week is anything to go by, it seems many job-seekers are stressed for a whole host of reasons.

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Put the word ‘stress’ into Google and it gives you more than 845million results – not a small number.  Type ‘stress & the job search’ and that combination shows 13million results, so there is a lot written about it.  As my colleague Sarah Cooper has written in our blog before, job hunting itself can be a full time job, which if you already have a full-time job, doesn’t leave much time for relaxing or having some ‘me time’.

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So what factors cause stress for some of the job seekers I know, and more importantly, what can be done about it?  This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but a collection from other people, most of whom have been very open to me about job-related issues and concerns:

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Causes Of Stress For Job Seekers

 

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Having Unrealistic timescales – Some people believe they will find a new job in a very short time without thinking things through properly.  Recruitment timescales are not generally that quick and can be impacted by how many other people you are competing with, how soon is the employer really looking to hire, how many stages are there in the process, and even the economic climate itself .  I know people who have been looking since before Christmas, so I would certainly set a timescale of months rather than weeks.

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Not being prepared – I covered this topic in my blog post last week which you can read here.  Lack of preparation can lead to a whole host of stressful situations further down the line.  Not preparing yourself properly from the start could mean you have a poorly created CV, you get negative interview feedback, or you  are job hunting longer than you need to be.  Searching for a job properly does take a large amount of effort and determination, which also has to be honed in the right areas.  Preparation is key to this.

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Not enough time – We all live in a rat race, and time is precious for everyone.  As already mentioned, job hunting can be a job in its own right, but something has to give if you are going to conduct a successful job search.  Really think about what you can stop doing or what you can give up temporarily, so you can free up the time required to work on your job search properly.

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Negative responses to applications – Receiving negative, or simply, no response from 100’s of applications will make anyone feel low, which in turn can have a negative domino effect.  Try to put things into perspective though – reality is that you only need one job, so spend time making quality applications where the CV you send out is specific and relevant to the job you are applying for.  Do not use a skatter gun approach and send out your generic CV to every job available – this will make you more stressed.  Quality CVs & applications are more important than quantity

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No Action Plan – Being able to look at and analyse progress on a weekly or monthly basis will show you what you are doing right, or doing wrong in your job search.  Noting how many jobs you have applied to, how many responses you have had, interviews you have undertaken etc will help you keep a positive frame of mind about your job search.  A well-defined plan will help you stay on top of your search, and further tips on this can be found in our blog post here

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Looking For Perfection – There are generally two sets of people I meet, those who wing-it and do the absolute minimum required, and those who spend hours refining their CV, take days to prepare for an interview and in turn look for that perfect job.  To do this properly and keep stress at a manageable level, you ideally need to be somewhere in between.  Trying to aim for perfection can actually add to your anxiety, and a perfectionist approach can sometimes work against you.

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Lack Of Control – It is unfortunate but true.  As a job seeker, you have no control over the decision others make about you as a potential employee.  Being able to cope with the waiting and emotional thoughts around this is difficult for many people, as you don’t know whether you have done enough to secure a job offer until the very last minute.  One way to cope with this is to reassure yourself that you  have done the best you can throughout the many stages of the recruitment process.

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Everyone is impacted by stress in different ways, and it can be hard to avoid stress altogether, particularly in what has been a difficult economic climate over the last two years.  It is important to be aware of the effects that stress can have on you though, so you can come up with strategies to help you cope.

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There is no shortage of information about stress and coping strategies on the internet, and some I have picked out below are certainly worth reading as they are specifically aimed at job seekers:

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Is Your Job Search Causing You Stress

Seven Keys For Reducing Job Search Stress

Tips To Minimize Job Hunting Stress

Job Search Stress Is Real

Job Search and Stress: 5 Ways To Deal With It

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Best wishes

Leslie Fearn

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Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McGinnisLoy

Photo Credit

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If you found this subject of interest, you may also like the following related posts from Approachthemarket.co.uk

 

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Industries Recruiting In 2011

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