How to handle job search anxiety, according to a career coach

Job hunting? Stressed? Here's how to manage the big emotions that come along with unemployment.

Job search stress
kate_sept2004/Getty Images

Listen, I get it.

Searching for jobs is not always the most fun task. Between revamping your resume, revising your LinkedIn, reaching out to recruiters, preparing for interviews and following up—it gets to be draining. Quickly. Not to mention the seemingly endless cycle of finding a job, applying, interviewing and being rejected.

It is tough.

In fact, 73% of Americans say that job hunting is one of the most stressful things in life.


I can remember two times in my life where my position ended unexpectedly. Once when I lived in Manhattan with my three other roommates and had a short time to obtain funds, and another when I was all alone in a big city, having just moved there less than a year prior.

As a single woman, both experiences immediately added to my gray hair. But as a mother, it can be even worse.

As a mom, you're not only responsible for creating a life filled with fulfilling work but also a life in which you're able to pay the bills, pay for school expenses or child care and pay for all the little things that make your kids' lives more enriching.

People don't often talk about how stressful managing all of that is. You gloss over it and only talk about it amongst other moms. So, generally speaking, the world doesn't know about your anxiety and/or panic attacks at night, thinking about your unemployment. We don't talk about how alone and overwhelmed we feel.

There is a way out of this cycle. I'm here to bust the open a hidden secret to navigating through your anxiety and suggest two major ways to meet your job search with a can-do attitude.

Reframe unemployment

When you've been let go or laid off without finding a better opportunity first, it can be a huge blow. In the moment, it is tough to think about how much this situation is a blessing in disguise.

It sucks. It triggers our "not enough-ness." We spiral into the "things always go wrong" and the "what am I going to do?"

Once you get past this, or even while you're still feeling it, you have to recognize that this is an absolute blessing—a blessing in some heavy disguise, but a blessing nonetheless. You're able to make space for ideas, networking and other activities that push your search forward.

Reframe your unemployment every day. In the morning, tell yourself, "I am so grateful for what is happening in my life at this moment because I KNOW this is setting me up for my and my family's success."

I recommend repeating this positive affirmation to yourself several times throughout the day. Once you start to feel the dread and fear build up in your chest, breathe through it and remind yourself that unemployment is an opportunity.

Pull your tools together

As you start to schedule interviews and network, it is crucial to use all the tools in your arsenal. If you have one, lean on a therapist and maybe schedule additional sessions than you would typically over the next few months.

I also recommend not canceling girlfriend meetups or events to socialize--they allow you to share what's happening with the group and maybe even connect to some job opportunities through your friends. Even better, hanging out with your support system enables you to laugh and talk through what's happening. A good girlfriend chat is one of the best remedies for keeping anxiety at bay.

Lastly, here are a few of my favorite tools for you to use throughout this experience:

While job searching can be a difficult task, it doesn't have to be a soul-sucking one. The best thing to remember is to give yourself grace and patience as you steer your way into a career best suited for you. Focus less on changing your job and more on changing your life for the better—the job will come!

In This Article