Looking for a full-time job can be a full-time job. For most people, the process can be quite stressful. While some stress is a standard part of life, excessive stress can negatively impact your physical and emotional health. The key to reducing stress is to manage it. By dedicating time to improve yourself, you can manage your job search stress.

What can you do to manage your job search stress?

Know Yourself

Take a moment to know yourself. Knowing yourself means knowing your purpose, interests, skills, strengths, values and characteristics of your personality. Also, having awareness of your salary expectations, environment and location will help you better understand aspects about your lifestyle preferences. The more you find out about yourself, the more meaning you will have in your search and career decision.

Create a Job Search Plan

The next step is to create a job search plan. A focused job search produces the best results. Prioritizing your planned job search activities can help you manage your stress level.

To start, have your resumes, cover letters, personal statements, portfolios and other supporting materials ready.  I have found it most helpful to create a comprehensive master resume, and then create a one page resume where you can copy and paste relevant information.  This way you can tailor your resume for each position. Customized letters gain more attention from employers and shows initiative.

Consider making a list or excel spreadsheet of positions you qualify for, when you sent your resume or application, and when you plan on following up with the employer.  Target specific employers, occupations, and industries that are of interest to you, even if they don’t have jobs posted online.

Develop your network. Compile a list of networks that you can use in your job search. You can begin with parents, relatives, friends, faculty, social networking groups and alumni.

Have you updated your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts lately? Make sure that you have a professional online presence. It creates brand recognition and allows you to control your image. Also, make sure that you have a professional email address and voicemail message on your phone.  Conveying a positive image is important in this current economy.

Don’t forget your apparel. Have an interviewing suit available. Dressing professionally will make a great first impression. Make sure that you wear attire that is appropriate for your industry.  If you are uncertain about what to wear, check here.

Manage Your Time

Don’t add more stress by overwhelming yourself with nonessential tasks. Manage your time by creating a schedule that is realistic and allows you to prioritize important tasks first. Prioritizing your activities can help you accomplish more and give your more control of your job search.  More importantly, having a schedule helps you to quantify your time and plan for much needed breaks. Be productive.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude is one of the best things to have when job searching. It may be difficult, but it can be done. One way of maintaining a positive attitude is to incorporate positive language in your conversations. This tone will be reflected in your interactions and relationships with others. Another way stay positive is to associate with positive people. Having a positive network can help you become more resilient when facing stress.


Continue to find ways to clear your mind of distractions. Engage in a fun activity that relaxes you. Whether it is meditating, cooking, jogging, gardening, painting or reading, take a break to relax and enjoy yourself.

If you still find yourself being overwhelmed by stress, consider joining a support group, exercise and seek help.  We have a variety of resources on campus to assist you.  Remember you are not alone.

Best of luck with your job search and practice managing your stress!