1. Health

Anxiety & Your Job Search

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Updated June 10, 2008

People who struggle with anxiety and even generalized anxiety disorder often have difficulty with their careers. A common issue is in the job search process, particularly the effort of completing applications and dealing with the potential rejection from employers and the anxiety of interviewing. The following is a brief overview of ways you can help with these experiences.

GAD and Your Career

Applying for Jobs

As a therapist, I have had many clients comment that simply putting applications for jobs in the mail is anxiety provoking due to the potential for rejection. Some of them are able to complete applications in limited numbers and others are paralyzed in a state of inaction. The expected consequence of this is fewer job offers and even no job opportunities at all. At worst, this can lead to unemployment, lack of advancement, and career dissatisfaction.

I have found that one strong coping strategy is to think about what exactly happens when we apply for jobs. Our fear is that we are being rejected when an application does not produce any interest. The reality is that what is being passed over is your skills and abilities that are competing in the marketplace, not you as a person. Remember that your skill-set may not be a good match for the particular position, or that the skills of another person are a better match does not mean that your being is dismissed, only your skills are.

Interviewing for Jobs

Another round of anxiety often come during job interviews. It is normal to have some anxiety about answering questions well, being evaluated, and hopefully securing a position. Controlling your anxiety during this process is important so that you can make a strong presentation and also have a good experience during the interview. Some tips include using some relaxation strategies, reassuring yourself during the interview that you will be OK no matter what the outcome, and staying in the moment of what is happening. Ideally, this will allow you to be successful in your interview, and if your skills are the best in the marketplace for the position, then good news should be coming your way.

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