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Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

3 Times You're Making the Job Search More Stressful Than it Needs to Be

I’m a worrier by nature, so I completely empathize with the rest of you worriers out there—especially when it comes to the job search. There are so many moving parts that are equal parts unpredictable and unnerving, which I know isn’t the best for people who love order and structure.

However, not every facet of the hunt is worth staying up at night stressing over. As hard as that might be to believe, there are plenty of things that are seriously not that big of a deal when you're looking for your next gig.

Here are a few of them:

1. When You Don’t Apply For a Job as Soon as It’s Posted

There’s a lot to say about focusing on openings that’ve been posted more recently than others. In fact, there are a lot of great rules of thumb to keep in mind whenever you’re searching for a new job.

However, it’s easy to think that if you don’t apply for a position as soon as it’s posted, you might as well just skip it altogether. However, that’s not the case at all. When I was a recruiter, it was typical to receive a ton of applications on the first day I listed a new role.

The only problem was that very few of those initial applications were relevant. So, in most cases, I was still actively recruiting new candidates a week or two after the original listing went up. Sure, you should aim to get an application submitted as quickly as possible, but don’t panic if it’s not ready to go immediately. Any hiring manager would rather see a well-tailored one, than something that’s clearly not personalized.

2. When You Don’t Want to Accept a Job on the Spot

At the end of a tough search, it might be such a huge relief to get an offer that you want to say, “OK, all set! When do you need me to start?” After all, if you don’t take it, someone else is next in line to accept, right? Well, not always. The fact that you’ve been offered the job, above most things, is indicative of the fact that you were the first choice.

I don’t know of any employers who send out multiple job offers for the same role. While you might feel the pressure to accept a position ASAP, the truth is that the hiring manager’s probably waiting on pins and needles, hoping that you’ll accept—or that your counter will be within his or her range.

So, if you have some questions, want to negotiate (and you should!), or simply want to think about whether or not you should accept, don’t be afraid to say that you need a little more time before you make a decision. Finally, the ball’s in your court.

3. When a Connection Asks for a Copy of Your Resume

Think back to the first time you figured out that a connection had an in at your dream company. If you’re anything like me, you might’ve sent the first copies of your resume and cover letter that you could find to avoid keeping that person waiting for too long.

There’s one big problem with this approach: the odds are very high that both need to be updated and customized for the role, especially since you're asking for a referral. And if you rush the process and skip this step, you’re only making it harder for that connection to actually recommend you to the hiring manager.

Not only that, but you’re also making it more difficult for that person to help you in the future. If you give your connections the impression that you’re not willing to make an effort, they won’t be motivated to do the same. So your best immediate reaction to learning this would be, “Awesome, thanks! I’m going to put together my materials ASAP, is there a deadline you need them by?”

Searching for a job’s never easy. However, there are plenty of times you’re making it harder on yourself than you need to be. And I get it—there’s a lot on the line, you have bills you need to pay, and you just want to be at your new company already. But before you turn some pretty unimportant parts of the process into the most urgent, stressful things on the planet, take a breath, think about what you’re doing, and make sure you’re putting in the right amount of work.

Photo of stressed person courtesy of Blend Images-Mike Kemp/Getty Images.