Stressed About Finding A Job After College? Read this.

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Shorter Version

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“There are lots of jobs in search of talent. And, there’s lots of talent in search of meaningful work.”

~ Maynard Webb

So you’re stressed about finding a job after college

Searching for your first post-college job can be anxiety-provoking and overwhelming for anyone, from the esteemed Harvard graduate to the state college extraordinaire. Why is it so challenging? Because honestly, there is a lot of pressure on you now that you’ve graduated from college – i.e. pressure to get a good job – quickly. Being stressed about finding a job after college can lead to debilitating anxiety if you don’t know how to manage stress.

All the worries

If you’re stressed about finding a job after college, know that this feeling is very common among college graduates. Searching for one’s first post-college job can be an extremely stressful experience. Fear of a sub-par resume, worry that you won’t get a callback, and, if you are fortunate enough to snag a job interview, concern you won’t show up in the right outfit, shoes, hair cut, blazer, or sports coat. Then, there is the fear you’ll say the wrong thing during the interview process or you’ll be unremarkable because you don’t have much life or work experience. Oh, so many worries. 

Ease your stress

It doesn’t matter if you are starting your post-college job search in the middle of it, have received your first call back and are anxiously awaiting your big interview, or waiting to hear if you have gotten the job – the process can cause a lot of angst. But…what if I told you there are ways to ease your stress while you search for your first post-college job? Well, it’s true. This article provides you with some pretty incredible “doable” tips on how to make the job search process a lot less stressful.

Did you know that approximately 92% of job seekers find the interview process the most distressing part of their job searches?

Your First Post-College Job: Ease Stress While You Search

In fact, several factors contribute to this interview angst, such as “the jitters” – i.e. worry and anxiety (17%), having too much work experience (15%), not knowing the right thing to say during the interview (15%), being tardy to the interview (14%), being inexperienced (11%), and/or showing up unprepared (10%). It does not matter if you are searching for your first post-college job or your 99th job; it’s still stressful.

Are you game? Great, let’s get started – read the actionable steps below!

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Actionable Steps

If you’re stressed about finding a job after college, follow these tips:


Read the longer version

You can learn more about “reducing stress while looking for your first post-college job” by reading the following articles: The 5 Things You Should Get Out of Your First Job Post-College by Career Contessa, Starting Your First Post-College Job? Here Are a Few Pointers by Career Builder, Real Talk: Here’s What 22-Year-Olds Need to Know About their First Job by Fortune, and How to Land Your First Job After College by The Balance.


Identify the root cause

There are a million causes of job search related stress, especially if you are looking for your first post-graduation job. Maybe you’re worried about not having enough life or work experience, or perhaps you are scared you won’t get a call back (an interview request). Regardless of the root cause, the stress can impact your health, mood, attitude, and drive – and not in good ways.
How can you identify the root cause of your stress? Take a breather and really think about why you are so worried, anxious, or scared. Then, talk to a trusted friend, partner, or family member about your stress and ask them for advice, tips, suggestions, and guidance. Talking over your worries with someone you trust can give you peace of mind and advice that could reduce your stress.
Also, take a more in-depth look at your resume. Is it possible to spiff up your resume in certain areas? Maybe you can add more detail to your job descriptions or add in volunteer, college internship, and/or freelance experiences to it. Have you published any articles or books? If so, don’t forget to put that on your resume too. In other words, list anything that you think could help you snag the job.
Finally, during the interview, highlight your skills and experiences (personal and work) – even if they primarily consist of college experiences. You may also want to practice interviewing several times with a close friend or friends. First Google “interview questions” and make a list of them. This will help you to know what to say – in advance – in response to interview questions. To feel extra prepared, search the internet for “how to answer common and uncommon interview questions,” and make a list of them. Then, practice with friends. Being prepared can make you feel more confident in future interviews.


Make a plan

Another way to ease your stress during your job search is to make a plan. Ambiguity can make you extremely restless and anxious; it can also zap your enthusiasm. If you think about it, you had a plan (syllabus) in college – one that provided you with structure and stability. In other words, you had a class schedule you followed almost every day (with the exceptions of weekends and holidays).

Now that you are a college graduate, your life is no longer structured around the plan the college administration developed for you. It’s up to you to make your own plan of how you want your search to go. So, sit down and make a schedule for yourself – i.e. how many days a week do you plan to look for jobs, when you will start your job search each day, when you will take your breaks and lunch, and when you will “close up shop” (stop searching for the day).
Finally, set goals that will keep you on task while you look for jobs. For example, “Today, I’m going to apply to 10 jobs in my career field with the desired location and pay I’d like to receive.” A structured and productive day can reduce the stress of job searching. 


Don’t take rejection too personally

One important thing to remember during your post-college job search is…don’t take rejection too personally. Being rejected in any circumstance is hard – really hard. And it’s painful, but it is especially painful if you really need a job or if you recently graduated from college and are ready to take on the world.
Even though rejection is a “part of life,” it still sucks. “Why didn’t I get the job?” It’s impossible to know the real reason you didn’t get it (unless an employer tells you, which is highly unlikely), however, it pretty much boils down to a recruiter or manager who wanted someone else. Maybe the reason was professional (i.e. not enough experience) or maybe it’s personal. Either way, he or she found someone who “fit” the position and company a little better. However, it’s important to understand there are millions of jobs out there. And, guess what? One of those jobs has your name written all over it. So, stay motivated and keep moving forward. “Keep your eye on the prize,” even when things get challenging or “dicey.”
Turn each rejection into a “teachable moment.” What could you have done better – i.e. adding more things to your resume, practicing the interview before you go, wearing nude-colored nail polish, writing a follow-up note, etc.? In other words, learn from the rejection. If you really have no idea of why you didn’t get hired – ask about it. You may not get a response or get the answer you want but it’s definitely worth a try.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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