The pandemic, rising unemployment levels, a teetering economy and the current lockdown across England — all this has created the perfect storm for stress levels.
The spring and summer months saw sharp increases in the proportion of people struggling with stress, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. In fact, nearly half (49.6 per cent) of Brits reported heightened levels of anxiety.
Since then, the employment landscape has worsened, with more redundancies on the horizon. Searching for a job can be difficult at the best of times, and maintaining motivation can be even harder.
So for anyone in the position of switching careers this winter, we’ve put together our top tips to minimise stress while looking for a new job.
Break it down
Before you start your job search, it’s important to narrow down opportunities and sort vacancies into manageable “chunks”.
Consider your skills and experience and any keywords associated with these, as well as things like location, salary, and company. Bear in mind that many employers are operating remotely at the moment, so it’s worth considering jobs further afield from your usual parameters..
Make the most of the tools and resources available
There are countless recruitment tools that have been created in the wake of the pandemic to make finding a job as easy as possible. Take a look at some of the most popular job search apps in the Apple and Android stores and visit gov.uk/find-a-job for the latest advice from the government on furlough, benefits, and how to find work in your area.
Know your worth
If a job hunt continues over a long period of time, don’t be disheartened. And don’t be tempted to settle for less, as this will only lead to issues further down the line. If you’re not sure where to begin, do some research to find average salaries in your area for the roles you’re looking for. Tools like ValueMyCV provide salary estimates based on your skills and experience, so you can work out your “market worth”.
Take a break
The work that comes with the job hunt can be intense and, if not carefully managed, can quickly lead to burnout. As you would with any normal workload, set yourself clear parameters for searching and applying for jobs and allow yourself to have a break outside of these times.
It may sound obvious, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider going outside for some fresh air and a walk. Sometimes a change of scene can work wonders — especially midway through lockdown.
Set realistic targets
Once you begin searching you’re bound to come across many opportunities that you could apply for, but it’s important not to try to go after all of them at once. Doing this will not only increase your stress levels and make your job hunt more exhausting, but will most likely mean the quality of your applications will deteriorate. Avoid a “spray and pray” attitude and ensure that any applications you do make are tailored and specific to the role.
Ask for help
Often one of the hardest things to do when feeling stressed, asking for some help is the most powerful tool at your disposal. Whether it’s “work coaches” in your local Jobcentre, family member or flatmate, a friendly face, a cup of tea and a bit of a pep talk can help build your confidence and take your mind off the stresses of job hunting.
Main image credit: Getty