How to Apply for Jobs When You Have Anxiety

Living with anxiety means that you’ve learned how to cope with the daily stressors in your life. Whether it’s messy roommates, difficult midterms, or trying to find the perfect outfit for that party this weekend, you know how to handle it. But with graduation around the corner, there’s one stressor that you might not know how to handle as well— applying for jobs. This is already intimidating for the average person but when you have anxiety, it’s downright terrifying. Here are a few tips to help you work through your anxiety and get the job of your dreams!

  1. 1. Set Small Goals

    Researching companies, crafting a resume, writing cover letters, prepping for interviews—there’s so much that goes into the application process! If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to get done then write it all down into a list and pick one item. That will be your goal for the day. It’s okay to start small! Maybe today your goal can be to find one company you would want to apply for. Tomorrow your goal can be to make a rough draft of your resume. Make your goals small and manageable so that you can accomplish something every day without feeling overwhelmed.  

  2. 2. Use Your Resources

    two women having an interview

    UCSB has so many resources available to help you through this process. Use them! Talk to your professors and ask them if they have any contacts in the field you’re interested in. Or, ask them about possible career options for your major. They’re extremely knowledgeable within their own fields and would love an opportunity to guide their students in the right direction. Career Services is another great resource option. You can book an appointment and they will help you with job searches, resume building, and even conduct mock interviews. They have amazing career counselors whose goal is to see you thrive. Getting support from others will help to calm your nerves.

  3. 3. Enlist a Friend

    Your friends are your biggest supporters, so ask them for help too. If attending a career fair sounds like the perfect way to induce a panic attack, ask a friend to join you. Having a friend come along who’s aware of your anxiety will help to calm you down if start to get anxious. If you're nervous about applying for jobs, ask a friend to do it with you. It makes the process so much less intimidating when you have a friend by your side; you don't have to go through it alone. Plus, who better to hype you up than your bestie?

  4. 4. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE

    The best way to fight interview anxiety? PRACTICE. Research possible questions your interviewer might ask you and come up with a couple of responses ahead of time. Rehearse these responses every day until you can say them in your sleep. Practicing before an interview will help to reduce anxiety and stop you from looking like a deer in the headlights when they ask you a question. At the very least, make sure to practice your response to the “tell me about yourself” question. Often times, this is the first question you will be asked, so if you can nail this one you’ll feel less anxious for the rest of the interview.

  5. 5. Breathe

    a pink neon "and breathe" sign over a plant wall

    I know this sounds obvious but when you’re anxious, your heart rate increases and your breathing quickens. If you ever find yourself getting anxious throughout this process, stop and focus on your breathing. One way to calm your breathing is to inhale through your nose for 5 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 5 seconds. Repeat this process until you feel your heart rate return to normal. Refocusing your thoughts on to your breathing can also help to distract your mind from whatever you're stressing about. Hopefully these tips will help you manage your anxiety while doing your best to score that job!