Looking for a new job is tricky, it’s an emotional rollercoaster that can take time – all adding to uncertainty and fears that we will never be able to find work, or work that suits us.

So, what happens when you add mental health, anxiety, or depression into the job search mix?

Let’s not kid ourselves, not getting a job can feel personal. And knowing there is a chance of rejection sometimes means we don’t even apply.  It means we risk our future because of our fear of failure.

Interestingly, many of the best strategies and tactics for job seeking also help to reduce stress and create confidence and control.
I can understand how the job search process can feel overwhelming, but one simple tactic I encourage whenever a task feels too big, is to break it down into small, simple steps.

1. Know Who You Are

Are you constantly comparing the worst you notice in yourself to the best you see in others? It’s a common challenge, made worse by social media where people post as if everything is perfect.  So here is a great tip – STOP!

Easier said than done, so let’s put this another way. Accept where you are – not where you think you should be, where you want to be, where you used to be … it’s about getting real about right now.

Sometimes when thinking about work, it’s good to think about your strengths and your social groups. You are not just a person looking for work – you are so much more. You may be a father or a mother, a sister or a brother, an auntie, an uncle, a football fan or a great with your hands, a dog owner or a cat lover, a gardener, a knitter, a reality tv fanatic, a reader, a carer, a volunteer, a cleaner, a home cook… You get the idea!

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Discover your best qualities in 15 minutes with a scientific survey of character strengths and know what makes you unique.
  2. Join a group, a class, or volunteer so you can reconnect with your broader community. Too nervous about doing this? Start by going to your local library, café or sports club and being where others are.
  3. Find a support service that guides you to reach your goals while taking into consideration your strengths, abilities and interests, like our Disability Employment Services

Broaden your idea of who you are and what you can achieve.

2. Know Your Triggers

Job hunting does bring up emotions, fears, and limiting beliefs in many people. What part causes the most worry and fear for you?

  • Calling, emailing and applying for a job – and the uncertainty of not hearing back straight away.
  • Attending a face-to-face interview – and not knowing the kind of questions they may ask.
  • The uncertainty of starting a new role – and not knowing if you can handle it.

Take these emotions and nerves as a signal – they show how much you want to new, positive outcome.

Knowing your trigger means you are much closer to managing your fears and taking control. It allows you to take steps to help you cope. For each trigger there are steps to make the path a little easier, and there are experts who can guide you through.

3. Break It Down to Take Control

Dr. Pers suggests that when you get overwhelmed or when a task feels too big, to break it down into small, simple steps.

For example, these small steps can be goals like below:

  • I’ll get up at 9:00 Monday to Friday
  • I’ll update my resume
  • I’ll apply for one job a day
  • After I apply for a job, I will do something I enjoy for the rest of the day
  • I’ll apply for five jobs per week

Notice how each of these steps also brings structure and control, which is something we crave when we are anxious. Each goal is a stretch BUT still within reach. And when they are achieved, you are closer to the outcome AND you have a record of your success.

These can become your new positive habits that build confidence, even when you are down.

4. Finally, Get Support

“You might feel like you are the only person going through this, but you do not need to do this alone. Getting help and support is an important step”

Dr. Pers, Chief Medical Officer, Jobedge

A Disability Employment Services Provider can work with you to support you. They can be your trusted guide who will help you connect with employers, training providers or volunteer organisations in order to reach your goals.

Support can also mean your social networks like friends and families. Stay healthy and connected to others.