About 3 months ago I wrote a little post on my blog about my anxiety around getting a job (you can see the post here). During the Summer I found that my blog was earning me a nice little bit of money but it wasn’t quite getting me enough ££ to live really comfortably, and I found I was SO scared and anxious about finding myself a part time job. I had so many comments and responses to the blog post with people feeling similar and not knowing how to take the step from being unemployed to seeking work, and well… I now have a job! I work in administration for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I’m loving it!
I’m not here to boast, but I’m going to give you my tips for finding a job when you’re a bit of an anxious mess. If I did it, so can you!
TIP 1 – TAKE YOUR TIME
If you have real underlying anxiety issues, you need to conquer the anxiety first. Think about whether going to work is doable for you yet. For me, I used to get anxious going to places that were any further than a mile away, so I decided to sort those fears out a little first so that I’d feel okay travelling to work. To do this I just gradually exposed myself to further away areas every few days.
TIP 2 – FIND OUT WHAT JOB YOU CAN COPE WITH
I spent such a long time trying to decide what sort of job I wanted. I wanted something part time to go alongside my blog, and I also didn’t want it to be a particularly hectic job with lots of people and lots of standing on my feet. I ruled out retail work and I looked around for an office type job (I have experience in office work so this was good for me). Don’t jump in at the deep end.
TIP 3 – BE PREPARED FIRST
If you’re anxious about getting a job, do it in stages. First, update your CV and make sure you’re ready for an interview (even though you’re not having one). This way you don’t have a huge weight on your shoulders with loads of job stuff to do, and you’ll be ready to apply for a job if you want to.
TIP 4 – LOOK FOR JOBS BUT DON’T OVERDO IT
There are a million places to look for work, but it can be overwhelming if you’re a little anxious. Don’t spend hours and hours looking for a job online, just occasionally browse a few websites for job ideas first, then you start getting your head around the whole job thing. Even looking online for job ideas is a really big step forward, even if you don’t act on it yet!
TIP 5 – DON’T RUSH THE APPLICATIONS
Found a job which looks really perfect for you? If you start thinking ‘I might apply for this’ you might just freak out. It’s totally normal, I was the same! If you apply for a job and go for an interview within a few days, you might run the risk of making yourself more anxious, so think about ‘will I cope with this job’ before you apply.
TIP 6 – FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE ACTUAL WORRIES ARE
Think about and write down what you’re actually worried about when it comes to work. In my case I was worried about having a panic attack at work (obviously never happens but anxiety is a bitch in that respect) and I thought of jobs which would alleviate those fears. There’s a job out there for everyone, you just have to find it.
TIP 7 – PUSH YOURSELF, BUT IN YOUR OWN TIME
The saying ‘two steps forward, one step back’ really applies to this sort of thing. You have to accept that trying to get a job is a difficult thing to go through if you’re anxious, but instead of thinking of the present horribleness, think of the future goal. I hated feeling anxious and would do anything to avoid situations where I may panic, but I also spent time realising that if I never try to conquer my fears then I’ll never make any progression. That inner belief is really good for your confidence in applying for jobs!
TIP 8 – UTILISE CAREERS HELPERS
Along my job finding journey I had some counsellor type workers who helped me figure out my issues and helped find suitable jobs for me. You feel like you’ve got someone supporting you the whole way and mine were great at helping me build a CV and whatnot, even though I ended up finding my current job on my own. Speak to your local counsellors or GP if you’re struggling!
TIP 9 – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
I found that many jobs online were really tricky to apply for, and in the end I got a job by using my initiative and emailing a company that I knew through family friends. Sometimes job websites such as Reed are great, but as soon as you see ‘7748382 people have applied for this role’ it can be totally off-putting. Look around your local area to begin with and check your local post office for smaller jobs, then you can build yourself up over time. Don’t be afraid to start small, I did a paper round for 2 weeks in the Summer!
TIP 10 – IT’S OK TO BE SCARED
I was absolutely terrified of having interviews, but one thing that really helped was knowing that everyone freaks out before interviews. Whether you’re an anxious person or a really relaxed person, interviews and new jobs are terrifying for everyone – I found that knowing everyone is always ‘like this’ during the whole new job phase made it so much easier.
Moral of the story? If you’re in a position to think about work then take your time, do one thing at a time and think about where your anxieties lie. If you’re not in a position to think about work but want to be, then take small steps to conquer your fears and every little push will get you further to your goals.
Hope this helps some of you, I feel so great that I have a job and I’ve barely felt any anxiety around it yet (who’d have thought!?). Let me know if you have any more tips for people to read in the comments!