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.

Rethinking “Back to Square One”

Elf, Will Ferrel

To some, December  also means watching Elf on repeat!

Well, it’s here. It’s December which means its only another two more weeks until final exams and then BAM…Christmas and New Years.

There have been some conflicting reports on the job market as of late. As a graduating senior this May – I’ve been on the hunt for any signs of opportunity and I’m at a loss.

Only a few weeks ago, Lindsay Gellman of the Wall Street Journal authored an article titled, Class of 2016 Graduates May Step Into Millennial’s’ Best Job Market Yet. The genesis of this reporting may have spawned from a survey’s results conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (known as NACE) where 201 employers stated that they were planning on hiring 11% more graduates this coming year than they had done so previously.

Earlier this year Lydia Dishman of Fast Company profiled the graduating class of 2015 forecasting that they’d hit some turbulence in finding secure career opportunities. Dishman cites that individuals, “between the ages of 17-24 have historically been hit with high unemployment”. Comparing the class to recent graduates pre-2008 economic crisis, Dishman highlights that current data shows that 10.5% of graduates are neither enrolled in graduate programs or employed, whereas in 2007, this figure was 8.4%.

What could this possibly mean!?

Behind all these inflated, conflated, deflated, and any other word containing the suffix –flated numbers lies, well, the applicant.

Truth be told, I’m not necessarily looking for a job when I graduate in May. I’ve still got another year (go Huskies!) to compete my MPH with the program here. I’ll most likely be able to sustain a part-time job, do a little bit of research, and complete my full-time studies post May 2016 with no problems whatsoever. So why go through all of the fuss of studying the job market etc. etc.??

Upon my return to the United States a renewed sense of responsibility and opportunity dawned upon me, as it does to many students as they begin their fall studies. This energy and this desire to not only perform at a high academic standard, but to contribute new ways of thinking, how to analyze problems, and offer novel solutions is something that, well…is something that we should consider to develop and maintain (especially over the course of the semester…yes even during midterms and finals).

Maintaining and developing the constant flow of information and the transmission of data through language, art, and science doesn’t have to be such an intimidating endeavor either. It’s easy to get caught up in the personal dilemmas, the trials and tribulations of coursework, and all of the other things you’ve probably got on your plate. More often than not, what’s sacrificed is our curiosity, our creativity, and our drive when we’re faced with the challenges associated with the thick of the semester.

We’ve all heard it – “Well, it looks like we’re back to square one”.starting line

When faced with a failure, and faced with a new beginning as a result of this ‘failure’, we tend to frame ourselves and our metaphysical position in space in perhaps the most negative and backwards vantage point possible.

I’d like to offer a redesign of this phrase – back to square one.

We instead are always at square one.

Imagine the things we could do or the things we could achieve if we approached everyday like it was the beginning of a new semester? Imagine the things we could achieve if we realized that we are in a constant state of learning, and if we fed this intellectual hunger? It’s pretty wild.

So, I guess going back to the whole job thing. Don’t sweat it. With each trial and error is an opportunity to begin again with a nuanced approach, with a redesigned strategy, with a new line of thinking. Be an applicant that’s the truest form of a lifelong learner, find the opportunities, stay informed, approach the process like it’s the first day of school. Stay at square one.

This post was written by Student Contributor, Jonathan Sirisuth. Follow him on instagram.

Post-Co-op Reintegration

Library SchoolLike many of you, I am back in classes this semester after completing a spring co-op. Here is a list of the good and the bad revolving around returning to classes after experiencing work in the real world.

  1. A new light is shed on your studies. Whether you realized how little or how much class material you used during your co-op, this will affect your study habits and your outlook on your undergraduate degree. You might realize that you’re studying and working towards a degree for a purpose, or that it is actually completely misaligned in your field of work. You might decide to change your major, like I did, or take more interesting classes that focus on things you experienced during co-op.
  2. New-found motivation. It’s hard be motivated to do well in classes after coming back from co-op. You just spent six months working as an actual adult (!) and didn’t have to worry about midterms, homework assignments, or group presentations. Personally, I’m having a tough time memorizing terminology on bone formation and muscle contraction after spending a semester catching babies in delivery rooms and planning malnutrition programs for impoverished villages. It feels somewhat backwards, but also made me realize that I should have learned about human anatomy and international health care systems in class before doing the hands-on work in a practical learning environment.
  3. More direction. Did you enjoy your co-op? Is it something you’d like to do in the future? Or did you completely hate everything about it? No matter how your experience was, you’ll know what to look for in your next co-op or your first job. With co-op under your belt, you have the right to be more selective in the future instead of shrugging and thinking, “sure, why not?” to any job offer that comes your way.
  4. Networking. Unless you spent a solitary six months working by yourself with no communication with the outside, you interacted with different people every day. New connections, both professional and personal, arise from co-ops. Stay in touch with these contacts, because you never know when something might come along – a collaboration on a paper, a part-time work opportunity, or a conference that you could attend. You also want to be able to approach your supervisor for a recommendation for future job opportunities or ask him/her to connect you with others in the field that you could benefit from meeting.

You already have half a year of professional work experience and that is definitely something to be proud of. Enjoy college life while you can, and keep these things in mind if you ever feel frustrated about going back to classes after co-op.