How to Deal With the Anxiety of the Job Hunt as a Recent Grad

If you’re fresh off the graduation stage, chances are you may not have found your footing in the job hunt yet. It can be hard to watch your peers find their dream jobs while you’re still unsure of where you’ll end up next, but everyone’s journey is different. You’re exactly where you need to be right now.

It’s often expected for students to find jobs straight after graduation, but in today’s world that can be difficult to swing. And when it feels like you have to fill space on your resume and time in your schedule immediately, it can cause a sense of post-grad anxiety. 

When you’re anxious, you’re not functioning at your best personally or professionally. And while it may take a bit of mental effort, there are a few things you can do to deal with the job hunt anxiety.

Know It’s Not a Race

Especially in the age of social media, it’s easy to watch your peers snag jobs, even if there are actually only a few of them doing so. Comparison is futile because everyone has different skills, goals and paths. If you were an English major, watching biology majors snag their dream jobs isn’t exactly a fair comparison. 

Remind yourself that you don’t have to compete with anyone. If you think it may help, you can spend time off of social media in order to recenter. You’ll find your footing when the time is right — you’re not racing anybody. 

Don’t Play the What If Game

It’s easy to look back on past experiences, world situations or missed opportunities with regret, but dwelling on old possibilities does nothing for your future. Spending your mental energy on any kind of “what if” is a dangerous game because it takes you out of the present moment and feeds your anxiety. If you start going down the rabbit hole, try to ground yourself in more productive activities. 

Keep Your Goals in Mind

When you’re itching to work, it can be tempting to apply for anything and everything. But before you spend your precious hours applying for that goat farmer job or inquire about being a magician’s assistant, it’s important to still prioritize your own goals and desires. 

While you don’t need every necessary qualification to apply for a job, you also should keep your skill set in mind. Ask yourself with each job application if this is a job you could actually enjoy doing. If the answer is no, spend your time looking for other options rather than mindlessly tossing together another cover letter. 

Use Your Free Time For Self Betterment

If you’ve got some extra time on your hands, you don’t have to sit and worry about the job market all day long. Free time is a blessing that many people don’t have — use it to your advantage! You can spend time working on a personal project or simply take extra time for self care. 

You can even use your free time to make yourself a more marketable candidate for jobs. Take an online class, learn a new skill or volunteer. This can help you feel like you’re doing something to set yourself apart, and can take your mind off anxious feelings. 

Remember Rejection is a Part of Life

Whether you’re stressing about the results of an application or two, or you’re too scared to send out even one job application, fear of rejection could be the root of your anxiety. But it’s important to remember that rejection is a part of life for everyone.

Job searching is an investment of time, which means that it takes plenty of applications to get interviews and find positions that are right for you. Nobody gets every job they apply for, and you shouldn’t expect yourself to either. Everyone from Obama to Mark Zuckerberg has been turned down once or twice. Every rejection is a chance to learn something new and step closer to success. 

You’ve got a college degree under your belt, and that’s no easy feat. You’ll find your flow in the job search, even if you feel a little unsure right now. The anxiety will subside eventually, and soon enough you’ll find a job that excites and ignites you.