Stop Overthinking Your Job Search

Whether it’s by choice or necessity, you’re looking for a new job. You’ve asked yourself the tough questions. You’ve polished up your interview skills. Now what? In a time of flux, it can be all too easy to bog yourself down with the details.

Stop Overthinking Your Job Search

After all, details seem doable while the rest can feel overwhelming. But now is the time to focus on the big picture. How does one go about doing that? Here are some tips to help keep you from overthinking everything:

Take Action

It may be tempting to sit and wait, hoping for the right opportunity to present itself, but this is the time to take action, whether that means networking through channels previously untapped or reworking your resume and social media profiles, you'll most likely feel immediate relief as soon as you start doing something. This doesn’t mean you should dive head first into any crazy business idea that comes to mind, just that you should start taking first steps toward resolving the problem at hand. Actionable steps lead to a sense of control, and a sense of control can stop overthinking in its tracks.

Conquer Bad Mental Habits

According to Dr. Rebecca Gladding, an MD and contributor to Psychology Today, many people prone to overthinking are wired that way from the inside out. It takes work, but it is possible to overcome the mental games that lead to obsessing over every potential interview or lost job opportunity. Identifying the root of these issues, which can include “black-and-white thinking, catastrophizing, emotional reasoning, discounting the positive, faulty comparisons and false expectations,” is the first step toward consciously changing behavior. Whether therapy would prove useful, or if simply making a mindful decision to address any underlying anxiety-producing issues is all it takes—some more self-awareness is rarely a bad thing.

Make Informed Decisions, but Don't Bury Yourself in Details

Consider whether there's new information to add when you're debating whether to apply to, or accept, a job. Google can be incredibly useful for many things, but if you find yourself constantly looking up every little thing about every single company you’re even considering applying to, it’s time to step back from the Internet, and take a deep breath. Decide what you need to know in order to make the decision at hand, find answers to those (and only those!) questions, and wash your hands of it. Once you answer the questions you need to know the answers to, there’s no more relevant information that will help you toward your goal. And that’s your signal that it’s time to quit searching.

Be Open to Something New

Lastly, and most importantly, release the idea that there's only one acceptable outcome. When you only focus on one kind of ending, you can become blind to options for the interim or refuse to allow for opportunities outside your specific field. Sometimes the process of actually getting to your goal can lead to new connections that will prove useful in the future—or even generate an entirely new objective! Of course the main point of a job search is to find a job—just don’t discount the possibility that the job you’re looking for may come from a direction or resource you didn’t expect.

Both stressful and seemingly eternal, there are few undertakings that feel more daunting than the job search, but if you take a step back, refuse to overthink the situation, and go with your gut, you can put your best foot forward and show potential employers your most valuable qualities.

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