5 Ways to Manage Job Search Stress

This post was written by Sabrina Woods.

You’ve been working towards this moment for a long time.

There were days you thought it would never come.  Now it’s almost here.  Graduation Day!

The mere idea of graduation brings up a wild combination of emotions. You are thrilled with the idea of no more papers, exams, or leading a 7-person group project. Your joy, however, might get interrupted as you think about exactly what type of job you want after graduation and the process of getting it.

For the tactical part of your job search you’ve got fantastic resources at hand ranging from the Northeaster Career Center to your own network that has come from co-op and classes.job search stress

Now let’s talk about how you can master or tame your job search stress levels as you juggle capstone projects with job interview prep. Here are 5 tips:

  1. Give yourself some breathing room

This phrase usually means to give yourself space in between activities, but at this time of year that might be impossible. So instead, give yourself a moment to actually breathe. Right now try taking 3 deep breaths, AND after you inhale, hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds, before then exhaling slowly. The extra pause seems to deepen the effect and make you feel calmer. If you want to take it a bit further, consider downloading a meditation app or read How Meditation Changes the Brain and Body from the New York Times.

  1. Crank up the cardio

When we are feeling under stress, a good cardio workout can make a world of difference.  Check out the Mayo Clinic’s article, Get Moving to Manage Stress. You’ll learn how hitting the gym releases endorphins which are your brain’s feel good neurotransmitters. Exercise can also be “meditation in motion” pulling your thoughts away from your stressors and to what is happening in the here and now whether that be at the tennis court, pool or weight room.

  1. Small but committed

Set up and commit yourself to small goals either each day or each week. Think of your job search as a project for class. Break it into manageable pieces and celebrate small wins, such as that first customized cover letter for the consulting job. Get some additional inspiration about setting job search goals here.

  1. Check your “worry” level

Worry or anxiety at a low level can be good. It helps propel you into action. It can act as a motivator or catalyst. Worry at a heightened level, however, robs you of your energy. For more on how to tame those anxieties when they are getting the best of you, check out Face Your Fear, Free Your Energy.

  1. Positive affirmations

It might sound like a silly recommendation, but some people have really benefited (myself included) from developing these positive, future oriented statements. The idea here is to say things in a positive way, as if they have already happened. An example of a positive affirmation is “I have landed a job with a great team,” or it could be oriented towards some part of the job search process, “During interviews I am calm and deliver exceptional answers while building strong rapport”. From Psychology Today, you can also review, “5 Steps to Make Affirmations Work for You.”

While it’s true that the job search can be stressful, anytime we are facing the unknown this can be the case.  However, you’ve got a team of career counselors at Northeastern that are here to help. And it doesn’t take much to add in an extra workout, break the search into smaller bits and take a few deep breaths.

Want to learn more? Join us for this workshop:

Holistic Approaches to Your Job or Co-op Search

Thurs., March 17, 12:00-1:00pm, 12 Stearns

Details and Registration: here  Questions, contact Sabrina Woods, s.woods@neu.edu

Sabrina Woods is an Associate Director at Northeastern Career Development and also has a private practice as a Holistic Career / Life Coach & Linkedin Trainer.  She has been in this field for 15 years and is a Husky (BA in Business) plus has a Masters in Holistic Counseling from Salve Regina University in sunny Newport, RI.  When not working at NU, teaching Linkedin or talking about mindfulness practices, Sabrina loves to hike, bike and kayak.  For more about Sabrina, go to www.sabrina-woods.com.

Are Leadership Development Programs Right for Me?


Unsure about what specifically to do after graduation? Are you interested in many different areas of a business or company, but unsure about what area you specifically fit in? Leadership Development and Rotational programs provide mentor-ship, training across different functional business areas, and experiences that can help you determine where your best fit is in terms of interests and skills.

Career Development is hosting a Leadership Development Panel on September 30, 2015 in 10 Knowles from 12-1pm (there will be pizza!) featuring representatives from State Street, GE, TJX, and Johnson & Johnson to talk specifically about their LDP programs. To register, click here.  This event is the day before the Career Fair so that you can gather more information about a company/program before seeing them again at the fair.

So why should you consider a Leadership Development or Rotational Program? Here are the top 5 reasons:

  • Access to top executives and leaders: Rotational programs often have projects or assignments that require buy-in from and require you to work with top executives and leaders, allowing you to meet and brush shoulders with the current leaders of the company.
  • Rotations through different functional areas: In a leadership or rotational program, early-career individuals work alongside industry experts on in-depth projects in various functional areas of the company. This allows you to identify an area of the company that is the best match for your skills and caters to your interests.
  • Mentors: As potentially high-performing employees of the company, you are assigned mentors at the manager level or above to help you reflect on your experiences, hone your skills, and help with your career development.
  • Job placement: The end-goal of these rotational programs is job placement in an area that fits with your skills and interests. You will know what you like/dislike about a certain area since the rotational aspect of the program will allow you to “sample” what it’s like to work in different areas.
  • One day you want to be a boss: Many companies rely heavily on their Leadership Development and Rotational programs to identify and groom future leaders of the company, so the training and mentorship you receive will allow you to not only identify your interest area, but also understand other parts of the business, which is crucial in a company leader.

Leadership Development and Rotational Program deadlines tend to be around October/November of your senior year, so if you’re interested in these, make sure you apply soon!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career. Tweet her @CareerCoachNU

Image sourced from http://www.freeleticsworld.com/leadership-freeletics

4 Things I Didn’t Learn in College (but wish I had)

ego-deflatedThis guest post was written by NU Alum Kelly (Sullivan) Good she currently works as geologist at Environmental Resources Management in Chicago. 

When I graduated from college, I was convinced I knew everything. I mean, it was right there on paper: good grades, multiple awards; let’s face it, I was a great student. And I was pretty sure I was going to ace the Real World too (cue the “wah wah” as we picture my metaphorical ego being deflated). It turns out, there were several ways in which I was very much under prepared.

Don’t get me wrong, Northeastern prepared me very well. I learned a ton about my chosen field thanks to fabulous professors, I learned time management, I learned how to craft a great resume and cover letter, I learned how to write about a variety of subjects, and most importantly I learned how to learn. I certainly would not be where I am today without a Northeastern degree under my belt.

Even so there were some subtle tips I just didn’t pick up in college. But never fear, it’s not too late to start integrating them into your life right now!

1. You can’t just look good on paper and expect others to notice you.

It took me a long time to find a job, despite having a solid resume.  Grades matter, yes, but so do a host of other factors and often it boils down to who you know. You hear it all the time: network. So start early, Huskies. Establish solid, lasting relationships with mentors at your co-op. Perfect and re-perfect your cover letter. You can never spend too much time job searching.

2. There are no grades at work

Well, duh. But this one took me by surprise. In college, there is a fairly standard metric to measure yourself on, at work there isn’t. It’s hard to know how you are well you are doing, unless of course you really mess up. At my job my supervisor gives me a task, I complete it and move to the next one. I spent the first three months convinced I was doing everything wrong because I wasn’t constantly being graded. It turns out, all I had to do was ask. This will likely vary by industry and by supervisor, but once I sought feedback from colleagues I became much more confident. Practice this at school by asking your professors and classmates to look over assignments before handing them in. Don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with your professor to talk about ways you can improve, this is totally normal in the Real World.

3. You’re no longer just working for yourself

At NEU, I would pick and choose assignments to devote a lot of time to depending on how they affected my grade. I also developed the poor habit of doing all of a group project because I couldn’t trust anyone else to do it right. I did everything for myself because my grades didn’t affect anyone else but me. Not so much in the Real World. Every task you’re given has a purpose. Your company is depending on you to complete it well. Additionally, most of what you do is part of a larger project. You must learn to be courteous of others’ time, and learn that you cannot possibly take care of everything. Begin now by completing all of your assignments to the best of your abilities and by taking advantage of the shared responsibility that comes with group projects.

4. You can’t always research your way to the right answer

This was the most difficult for me to get used to. Before starting my job, I spent three straight years as graduate student researching my thesis. I was very good at reading scientific articles and even spent whole days and weeks looking for small pieces of information that would push my research to the next level. Ain’t nobody got time for that in the Real World, my friends. If you don’t immediately know the answer to a problem, start asking around. You will save a ton of time using the combined knowledge of your colleagues instead of trying to Google something that’s super industry-specific. This one is a little harder to work on while in college. Obviously, you can’t just ask your professor for the answer, and too much collaboration with your classmates can be considered cheating. So I recommend you continue to research and study the way that works best for you, but try not to forget all that information you learned. It might come in handy some day, and you may be the one your colleagues come to for answers.

In all, it’s not too bad out here in the Real World, but I do know I would have been much better off had I known these things before graduating!

Kelly (Sullivan) Good graduated from Northeastern’s College of Arts and Sciences in May 2010 with a degree in Environmental Science. She received her Master’s in Geology from the University of Utah in 2013 and currently works as geologist at Environmental Resources Management in Chicago. She can be reached at kellygood88@gmail.com

Photo: sourced from EWW­Magazine