You’re almost there. You’ve come to the end of the lengthy road of education from school to college and university and you have that all-important degree. You’re about to embark on the next stage of your journey into the world of work and professionals. Your future lies before you and it’s exciting, so why do you feel so stressed? Post-graduation stress is a common problem. The choices can be overwhelming and the weight of decision making can cause levels of anxiety that drain you and make you feel daunted about your prospects rather than raring to go. There are a number of things you can do to help you cope with the stress of job-hunting and hopefully help to minimise the anxiety about the future.
Keep it in perspective –
Try and remember that your peers are in the same position as you. You may know someone who has already secured that internship, but the majority of graduates are, like, you, scouring the newspapers and internet to try and determine the next stage of their career at the same time as being concerned about finances. It is stressful. Remind yourself that it is not crucial to know exactly what you want to do at this stage, you are not making an all or nothing decision, lots of people change their minds about their career choice after some initial experience. You will still have options. Choosing something now won’t close all other doors.
Be flexible in your expectations –
Make a plan, but don’t feel like you have failed if things don’t turn out exactly as you hoped or forecast. You just need to get started and avoid that cycle of going endlessly over the possibilities and not making the first step towards a goal. It’s easy to slip into the trap of thinking of excuses as to why you haven’t started this or that. Just make a start.
Choose a career sector and investigate the industry. See if there are any vacancies. Check job requirements and see if your skill set and experience matches up, but be prepared to encounter problems and be flexible in your outlook. Your perfect job may be something you hadn’t ever considered up to now.
Manage Your Stress –
Give yourself a break. If you’re staring at your computer for hours on end refreshing recruitment sites and then lying awake at night going over all the possibilities and pitfalls then you’re going to end up with unmanageable levels of stress and anxiety. Just like when you were revising for all those exams, set yourself periods of time to work on it but then give yourself a break. Have a rest from the screen time, in fact, treat your job search like a job, with lunch, and breaks. Go for a walk. You are doing something very positive for your future so try and feel positive in your outlook. Adopt a ‘can do’ attitude. This will carry you through your job search, interviews and your future career.
HJ Buckland is a journalist specialising in PR graduate jobs.