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5 Ways To Conquer Overwhelm in Your Job Search

Posted on the 05 June 2014 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Overwhelm is the most common battle that job searchers face. Where do you even start? Do you update your resume, sign up for a networking event or search for jobs online? You surely can’t do everything at once, especially if you are job searching while still working a full-time job.

I know what it is like because I have been there before.  I was often overwhelmed by all of the job search sites, networking events and people that I wanted to meet and I barely had any free time on my hands to devote to job searching.

If you are overwhelmed or scared to fail, here are some suggestions to help you out. And make sure you download the worksheet that goes along with this post at the bottom!

1) Pace yourself

Take your job search step-by-step. A lot of stress comes down to setting realistic goals and incorporating them into your daily routine.  Assuming that you already have a to-do list, pick out the one item you most dread doing… that’s your first priority for the day.  Once you’ve finished the activity that you most dread, the rest of your goals for that day will be a little easier to achieve.

You can only do one thing at a time and, eventually, everything worthwhile will get done. I often ask myself, “What is the most important thing I can do right now?”  Do you need to be doing everything or can you focus only on the most important things in your life and career and say no to everything else. I once had a client that was volunteering for everything she could. Yes, it will look great on her resume but if her goal is to make a career transition in the next 3 months, she needs to focus on doing that first.

Also, don’t forget what can be accomplished if you simply wake up a bit earlier. Have some quiet time and drink your coffee. The worst thing for overwhelm is to spend your day rushing from one thing to the next. You’re not a superhero and you can’t do everything all at once, no matter how hard you try.

2) Learn to say no

No one will hate you. It’s ok to say no.  I have a client whose boss keeps having her do his work for him.  Before she could actually have the time to job search and get her career unstuck, she needed to clear the tasks on her plate and stop doing his work. I know it is sometimes hard to say no because we want others to like us. But, you have to practice it and think about how important your time really is. You need to set boundaries for yourself.

When you do turn down the request, keep your no short; something along the lines of “I’d really love to, but I can’t.” The more wiggle room you give, the more ammo the other person has to attempt to change your mind. Never apologize and don’t dwell on it or feel guilty.  This will get easier with time I promise! Once you see how much more control you now have over your life, saying no will become second nature.

Other tips for saying no are to tell your boss that you can help him later when things calm down.  Or ask him to prioritize your tasks for you.  Let your boss know that you already have too much on your plate and you want to do things well so you need his help.

3) Be OK with your path

No one is perfect and each of us has our own unique journey to finding our ideal career path.  For me it was over a 4 year journey. Don’t judge yourself. We are often our worst critics. Don’t think you have to be like everyone else’s path. Your path is unique and will be different. There is no “perfect timeline.” You are on the RIGHT PATH! Even if you feel like it is taking way too long.

I spoke to a client last week who was worried because her search was taking too long. She had gone through my get unstuck coaching system and was close to finishing. She had targeted a career field and then realized that the career she thought she wanted to go into wasn’t the right fit for her.  She was feeling really frustrated by it but I told her that it was actually a GOOD thing!  She was right on track because she was narrowing career fields down and wouldn’t end up in a career field that wasn’t a good fit for her.

Everyone’s journey is different. You can’t compare yourself to anyone else.

5-Ways-To-Conquer-Overwhelm-in-Your-Job-Search

4) Don’t talk about your job search with everyone

Remember, you don’t have to talk to everyone about your job search plans. Another one of my clients recently told me that after a big blowout with her dad who didn’t agree with her career choices, she said she realized that she should only talk to her career coach about her career.

Some people will build us up and some people will bring us down.  You don’t have to share everything with everyone. Surround yourself with people that are positive and bring out the best in you. Find people to add to your network that inspire you and believe in your career goals and dreams.

5) Re-connect with the present moment

When I am overwhelmed, I just focus on my breathing and being mindful for two minutes. Just the in and out breath and nothing else. By bringing your awareness back to the present moment, you realize that you’re doing the best you can under the current circumstances. Close your eyes and breath or try yoga or meditating.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Most of us live in either the past or in the future. We regret what we’ve done (or not done), or we worry about what’s to come. There are no problems in the present. You are okay right now. You have a roof over your head, you have food in the fridge, and you feel fine. Stop living in the future. Your stress and blood pressure build as you think about everything you need to accomplish. Too much to do and too little time. This is what happens when you’re living in the future.  You think and stress about all the things that need to be done in the future. Fears of not being able to get the job you want, reaching your career goals and disappointing others haunts you.

Let it go. You are on the right path.

I created a worksheet to go along with this post that I think will help you. I really encourage you to spend at least 5 minutes completing the worksheet.  Just enter your name and email below and I will send it to you ASAP.


Readers, what do you think? How do you battle the overwhelm that comes with job searching and managing your future career success?


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