How to Take the Stress Out of Applying for Jobs

Avatar: Chrissy Nai
  • Chrissy Nai
Apr 22, 2020

Some people feel excited about applying for a new job because it’s fun to think about a new adventure, challenge, or promotion. But for others, especially in tough job markets like the one we’re in now because of Covid-19, spending a day applying to positions online can feel tedious, exhausting and frustrating. If you find yourself in this second category, I have good news for you: It doesn’t have to be that way. 

Yes, there are things outside of your control, like how cumbersome different application platforms can be. But with the right expectations and preparation, you can cut down on the stress and feel more accomplished after you click “Submit.” Here’s how. 

1. Reduce Decision Fatigue

What’s for breakfast? What can you wear that’s comfortable and makes you feel great? It may seem trivial, but preparing your meals and outfits the night before clears the path for you to put all of your energy into the important actions and decisions of the next day. 

Former President Barrack Obama understood this well, which is why he once said, “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make.”

2. Report to “Work” at the Same Time Every Day

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of any task. Overcome the temptation to procrastinate by treating the application process like it’s your current job and showing up to work at the same time each day. Intentionally establishing a positive routine will help you get into the flow faster and can make your job search more productive. 

As William Vanderbloemen, author of “How Successful People Start Their Day and Their Year,” says, “Productive days don’t happen by accident. The most successful people I know have a consistent mourning routine, and they very rarely stray from it.”

3. Prep Your Workspace

Devices charged? Check. Comfortable seating? Check. Hard copy of your resume printed for quick reference? Check. Also, don’t forget to have a pen and paper ready to jot down notes from company websites and things you want to include in your qualifications.  

4. Set a Goal for the Day

This is a personal goal, so it can be anything you want. Think about what will make you feel accomplished at the end of the day. It could be to spend two hours applying for jobs, or to find three jobs that you would really enjoy doing and apply for those before wrapping up. This is an important piece because it pushes you to work through any frustration you may encounter in order to achieve your goal. So set your goal and make a plan, because a goal without a plan is just a wish!

5. Update Your Resume

Adding your most recent position to your resume may seem obvious, but as a recruiter, I’ve seen a lot of them that lack this key information. Typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistent dates can also give the impression that you’re lazy or don’t pay attention to details. To avoid these mistakes, ask a friend or family member to proofread your resume after you’ve polished it to the best of your abilities. 

6. Research Every Company You Apply For

To help your application stand out, visit the company website so you’re familiar with what they do and what’s important to them. Look for keywords there and in the job description that you can tie into your resume or on the application when describing your qualifications. Also remember to always attach a copy of your resume to your application, even if you’ve already manually typed the information into a form. Adding your resume shows you’ve invested time to properly represent yourself, and that makes a positive impression on recruiters!

7. Make Notes About Who to Follow Up With

Check the job posting to see if there’s a contact person listed or if it says who the role will report to. Make a note to follow up with that person the next day to let them know you applied. You can either email them a copy of your cover letter and resume or reach out to them with a quick note on a platform such as LinkedIn. 

8. Be Ready for the Call

Ensure that your voicemail is set up, the message is appropriate, and the mailbox can accept messages. Having a full mailbox is a surefire way to get passed over during the screening process. Employers can sometimes have 50 candidates to choose from, so it’s important to alleviate any challenges they may have getting in touch with you. 

9. Celebrate Your Success

Getting a job offer is a big win, but remember that there are also lots of little wins along the way that lead up to that. Once you’ve reached your personal goal for the day, take a moment to celebrate. You could do this by affirming yourself out loud – “I did great at staying focused today” – or by rewarding yourself with time to do an activity that you really enjoy.

Managing your mindset is key to reducing stress when applying for jobs, and following these nine steps can help. Be patient and kind with yourself in the process. Remember that the call you’re waiting for may come when you least expect it!