We have all heard about interview anxiety, yet light is rarely shed on the anxiety that many applicants experience before they are even contacted for an interview. While this application anxiety can affect any candidate, it tends to be prevalent in candidates who have either taken time away from their careers or have been employed with the same company for an extended period of time. These candidates may find that their confidence in filling out and submitting applications is shaky due to lack of recent application experience; however, anxiety should never prevent a candidate from following through with the application process as it could cost them a job opportunity.

If you are experiencing application anxiety, here are a few ways to alleviate your stress and move forward towards your goal.


Take deep breaths: If you start to feel anxiety creeping up on you as you are applying for jobs, you may want to consider utilizing some meditation techniques to regain focus and composure. While there are many meditation methods, an easy way to get started is by downloading a meditation app on your phone that guides you through a quick and calming meditation process. If you have more time, and are interested in calming your mind and body simultaneously, you may want to engage in an activity like yoga.

Create a plan: Wandering through the application process without a plan is a recipe for anxiety. Creating a plan at the beginning of your job search can prevent you from feeling lost in the process, and will give you a point of reference should you become overwhelmed. Start by outlining what types of jobs you want to apply for. Make sure to pay attention to industry, position, salary expectations etc. when creating your list of desirable jobs. Continue creating a plan by deciding how much time you are going to dedicate towards your job search, and schedule accordingly. While being unemployed gives you more time to apply for jobs, it does not mean that you should be lax in your scheduling. Don’t forget to build breaks and exercise into your schedule to set yourself up for a less stressful application process.

Recognize your stressors: Recognizing your application stressors can help you to stop stress from building and preventing you from landing a job.

Some common examples of stressors include:


  • Not meeting all of the requirements in the job description.

Remember that while you may not meet every requirement in the job description, you can use your transferable skills, experiences and training to sell yourself as a candidate. Focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses to alleviate application anxiety.


  • Completing the application in a timely manner.

If completing the application in a timely manner feels overwhelming, make a list of what you need to complete, break that list down into smaller sections, and give yourself deadlines to complete each. By doing this, you are creating more manageable and attainable goals.


  • The idea of leaving your current job for the unknown.

If you are currently employed, the idea of leaving your company for a new job opportunity may cause anxiety (especially if you are reasonably satisfied with your current position). If anxiety of the unknown is causing you stress, take a step back, make a list of the reasons that you want to make a career move, and research the company that you are applying for to reassure yourself that you want to move forward.


Limit your caffeine: Sitting at a desk, searching for jobs, and filling out applications can feel tedious at times and cause you to increase your caffeine intake as you struggle to concentrate. Unfortunately, this increase in caffeine can also cause you to become jittery and more anxious than normal. If you can’t seem to calm your nerves, take a close look at the amount of caffeine you are consuming. You may be surprised at how a few extra cups of coffee can impact your stress and anxiety levels.


As you make your way through the application process, you will most likely encounter application anxiety at some point. Rather than letting this anxiety hold you back from making career moves, try taking deep breaths, creating a plan, recognizing your stressors and limiting your caffeine.