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Managing Stress While Job Hunting

I know how hard it is on individuals and families when unemployment strikes. Just like you - I've been made redundant when markets have crashed, companies have restructured and projects halted. I've been so stressed out with endless job searches and countless applications - It definitely takes its toll! Don’t worry, I'm here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay and I'm sure you’re going to land that dream job very soon. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you manage your stress while job hunting...

Follow a routine

Don’t fall into the lazy routine of getting out of bed at 10 am, binge-watching Netflix, staying in your sweatpants all day, and then start your job search at 7:30 pm. This type of routine will undoubtedly destroy your motivation and waste valuable time.

Even a good routine can be monotonous, so when I speak of a job search routine, I mean a list of job search responsibilities that need to take place in a specific time frame. If every day is a carbon copy of the day before it will become extremely mundane and humdrum; then fatigue, anxiety, and loneliness can set in. Isolation can be an obstacle many don’t think they would have to face. When you’re unemployed, many of your friends and family have full-time jobs, responsibilities and in many cases might be too busy for you. A job is also a social network that you lose when you lose your job. You need to mix it up, do things in a different order, concentrate on different items on certain days to get quality results and do things for yourself. Some things need to happen every day to maintain the overall structure of your job search.

Every day you need to have your next day planned out and every week you need to have your next week planned out, you will continuously need to make changes to accommodate the needs of your job search. Take the below advice and create a base routine for each day of the workweek and on weekends squeeze in some time to research new job postings, so Mondays you have your targets ready. Place your schedule on a daily calendar and check off each responsibility as you complete it. I personally use the Fantastical Calendar. I suggest in the first few weeks you need to be more aggressive in the amount of time you put into your job search routine since you will have more research and job postings to review. At or about the third week you should see a harmony form within your routine.

  • Start of Day 7:30 am Daily — start your day at the same time every day. 7:30 am will give your day a good start and keep you structured.

  • 45 Minutes Daily — each morning you need to take a shower and get dressed and not in sweatpants, you need to put on real clothing, not sleepwear, this will keep you from crawling up on the couch or in bed. Remember take pride in your appearance it will make you feel good and keep you motivated.

  • 15-30 Minutes Daily — eat breakfast, we all have heard it is the most important meal of the day, and it will keep your energy levels on track.

  • 60 Minutes Daily — fitness, if you usually go to the gym or an exercise programme, whether it’s in the morning, lunchtime or evening don’t change it, keep your fitness routine on track. If you don’t have a fitness routine or you had to cancel your gym membership due to loss of income, think of taking long walks, speed walking or even seek out playing your favourite sport, these all can do wonders for your fitness. Do workouts you can do at home; jump rope, weights, yoga, and sit-ups. Remember to consult your physician with any fitness routine you start.

  • 30 Minutes Daily — review any new job postings from online search engines, LinkedIn, Indeed and other industry-related job boards. Bookmark and save the jobs using Teal - the free job search and application manager.

  • 20 Minutes Daily — Also use the traditional method of reviewing the classified ads and circle jobs you want to apply for.

  • 30 Minutes Daily — work on your list of companies and organisations you desire to work for, even though they don’t have advertised job postings. Take a few of these companies and track down the contact information of the person who would be doing the hiring and your next boss for your type of position at each of these companies.

  • 20 Minutes Daily — work your list of recruiters you need to contact. I suggest using LinkedIn to find internal recruiters at your target companies. Check out how to reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn, including message examples here.

  • 30-60 Minutes Daily — Take part in LinkedIn group discussions and review who has viewed your profile for contact leads. Post meaningful, insightful and intelligent posts on LinkedIn.

  • 60 Minutes Daily — take a lunch break!!

  • 2 x 20 Minutes Daily — take 2 x 20 minute breaks a day on top of 30-60 minutes for lunch, get up walk around have a snack.

  • 3-4 Hours Daily — write your cover letters and make any changes to your CV/resume to target each of the jobs you are applying for from the above list you complied. Send out cover letters and CVs/resumes by mail or email and complete any online job applications. Remember it is better to send out 10 well-targeted cover letters and CV/resumes to the right people than it is to send out 1,000 general ones. "Its always the best fit that gets the interview"!

  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — a few days during the work week, review your finances and stay on top of them. Plan a budget and constantly evaluate your spending and areas you can save money.

  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — meet colleagues, friends or even family members for an inexpensive breakfast, lunch, or cup of coffee. Communicate how your search is going; be open for advice and leads, this will help break up the monotonous week, fight some of the loneliness and also add leads to your job search.

  • 2-3 Hours Weekly — work on your skills for landing a job. Attend online webinars, live seminars or workshops that are available to further your job-seeking skills. There are many of these being offered that cover skills on CVs, resumes, cover letters, looking for job openings, time management, interviewing, etc. There is a whole range of content on my blog to help you here.

  • End of Job Search Work Day approx. 5:00 pm — your job search day should end about the same time your typical workday ended. Just like in the real world of work there are times that you need to put in overtime. Spend time with family and friends, stay active and don’t become a couch potato.

  • 20 Minutes Daily — Each evening before you retire to bed, spend about 20 minutes looking over emails or networking that might need your response.

Start a side hustle

The last thing you want to worry about is money while job hunting. You deserve to have the financial freedom to wait until you land the job that you truly want. Take up a freelance gig or work part-time until then. There are plenty of super-fast ways to make extra money either online.

I actually started Bigger Fish - Executive Branding as a side hustle in 2008. Many years on its my full-time job and provides a living for my family. For more info on how to start your own business check out:


Volunteering during and even after your job search has many professional and personal benefits. Even better, no matter what kind of job seeker you are or the positions you’re looking for, volunteering can help enhance your CV/resume.

Volunteering can help you gain experience in skill sets that many employers want. For example, nonprofits frequently need help with accounting, marketing, event planning, and much more.

Volunteering is also a great way for you to test out a new job if you aren’t sure you want to shift to a new career. You may not experience the full range of job duties, but it does give you a sneak peek of your possible new career.

If you know you want to stay in your current field, but are between jobs, volunteering is a great way to keep up to date on trends and changes in the work world. You may not be as in the know on specific trends in your industry, but you’ll be able to keep up with some general skills that you’ll need in your new job. Volunteering will also fill that gap on your CV/resume!

It can be hard to regain lost connections and forge new ones. Volunteering allows you access to a new group of fresh contacts that may be able to help you in your old field or start in a brand new one. I personally volunteer as a Club Officer at my Daughters Swimming Club and also help as an Assistant Coach at my Sons Grassroots Football Club. Both volunteering roles have opened up new contacts, friends and opportunities for me and my family. I suggest you do the same!

Other Tips for your Job Search

To help you with composing a new profile summary for your CV or Resume I suggest using Grammarly. Grammarly upholds accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar, but is also clear, compelling and easy to read. Grammarly's suggestions help identify and replace complicated sentences with more efficient ones, refresh repetitive language, and strengthen your writing to say what you really mean.

You can also identify keywords for your profile summary by using Teal. It's the secret weapon that I've been happily using for the past couple of months to help my clients identify keywords for their CVs, Resumes and LinkedIn profiles - and believe me the tool is mind-blowing. Teal is a full-proof solution that easily stores jobs that you're interested in, tracks your progress, including notes and also automatically highlights important keywords for every job you save. It's like an online excel sheet on adrenalin and did I forget to mention, it's free to use!

Once you have your summary nailed and your CV / Resume is optimised with a little luck you should start generating interviews. How long has it been since you interviewed? I'm guessing a while... Being a strong communicator and being comfortable in interviews is not enough when you are competing with other high-calibre candidates. It is important to know how to interpret questions correctly and structure your answers using effective communication frameworks. This is where the Bigger Fish Interview Coaching Guide will give you the edge.

Anything to add? Comment below!


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