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How do I deal with the stress of searching for a job while I’m still under stress from finishing college?

Student Career Placement Consultant

For most students, each semester has a unique flow based on their class schedule and assignment due dates. Often, those due dates tend to cluster, so some weeks are busier than others. While there are many things you have learned to do to handle the stress of your education, adding a job search to the mix may seem overwhelming. Time management and planning are going to be your best friends in this situation.

The first thing to do is map out your time between now and graduation. Whether you do this with an online calendar or with a paper and pencil planner, the process is the same. 

  • Enter in all your specific time commitments: classes, internship or part-time job hours, regularly occurring events such as student activity meetings or church attendance. 
  • Review the syllabi from all your classes and enter in the due dates for your assignments.
  • Estimate the amount of time that it will take you to complete each assignment, and allocate time in your schedule for regular homework and completion of major assignments.
  • Reserve some time for relaxation—playing sports, hanging with friends, visiting family, catching a movie.
  • Look at your schedule and see if you can find blocks of time—at least 30 minutes two or three times a week—that you can allocate to the job search. 

Once you have a calendar, start making a list of things you need to do for the job search. That list should include the following tasks:

  • Research specific jobs (see the previous post “How much do I know about entry-level jobs relevant to my desired career?” for suggestions on how to do this research).
  • Make arrangements for and conduct information interviews (see the previous post “Why are information interviews an important part of the job search process”).
  • Complete your 1st Gig profile.
  • Visit your college or university’s career center to discuss your job search strategies.
  • Attend career fairs.
  • Conduct practice job interviews, either at your career center or with friends or family.
  • Create a system for keeping track of job applications and interviews.
  • Ask faculty or supervisors if you can use them on your reference list; then create your reference list.
  • Learn about professional associations relevant to your desired career. See if they have student rates and join them to build your network.

Having a plan goes a long way to relieving stress, but also keep in mind some basic tools for stress management.

  • Eat healthy meals at regular intervals.
  • Get sufficient sleep.
  • Spend time with friends and family who support you.
  • Spend time by yourself.
  • Modify the plan if it becomes overwhelming by making reasonable adjustments. Think about eliminating obligations that aren’t beneficial.
  • Get help from your college or university’s counseling center if you are having difficulty managing all of your work.

You can find a checklist to help “Organize your job search” in the Resources section of this website.

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