Congratulations on graduating from college and joining the workforce after obtaining that hard-earned degree! Aside from semantics, it’s time to get a job so you can pay your real-world bills. This process often leads to a lot of anxiety about the first job after college.
Anxiety about a first job after college stems from a variety of factors and is common amongst new graduates. Fears of not finding or liking a job, not doing well in the job and many other personal factors contribute to this anxiety. But anxiety can be used as motivation to succeed in a new workplace.
Is job anxiety normal after graduating college?
The majority of newly graduated students experience some level of anxiety in regard to their first job in their chosen field. There are varying reasons for this anxiety, and they are all unique to the individual. Having job anxiety after graduating from college is so normal, in fact, it’s almost expected of you. Up until this point, your life has been relatively similar. You’ve woken up, gone to class, studied, passed, and graduated. You did this on repeat all throughout your schooling, including throughout college. Now, that routine is gone. You graduated! You are moving into the next phase of your life.
The thing about this phase though is that it involves something new; your first job in the field your degree is in. It makes sense you’d have anxiety about this because, in a way, this first job isn’t simply a paycheck. It’s a way for you to verify that the past x-number of years in college was worth it. Anxiety towards change and the unknown is natural. People often don’t handle change well and the uncertainty that accompanies it is what causes anxiety. But with the right coping mechanisms, anxiety can boost your motivation to succeed.
Why am I anxious about my first job after graduating?
There are many reasons you may feel anxious about your first job after graduating from college. Let’s go through some and possibly debunk them for you!
1. Your Resume Isn’t Done
Sure, you’re worried about finding work after graduation, and now you have to consider drafting your first résumé as well. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. What should it look like, you’re thinking? What should I do first? The first step is to get this in order! It’s just like when you had assessments waiting to be completed – you’re not going to feel relieved until it’s done.
First things first. There are five critical parts of a resume:
- contact information
- career summary
- work experience
Organize each item in chronological order, beginning with the most recent event. Include the organization’s name, your title, dates of employment or membership, and the location and state if applicable.
2. You Applied to Some Jobs but Haven’t Heard Anything
Waiting to hear about jobs applications while you’re trying to break into your qualified field is always anxiety-inducing. But you need to remember the number of applications employers are filtering through! It’s always good to adjust your CV and cover letter to suit the specific job opening you’re applying for. Use their keywords from job descriptions. This will make your application stand out and could have you hearing back from employers quicker! A side tip: you could even consider applying for the same job twice.
The other option when seeking work is to contact a recruitment agency. Many of these agencies display job ads to connect you with employers but will also take expressions of interest. This can be a good way to have recruiters constantly getting your name out. Employers approach places like Rednax Recruitment to source reliable skilled and general labour workers. These agencies can help find you work in your chosen industry and reduce some stress.
3. You’re Terrified of Interviews
Your anxiety might be coming from a fear of job interviews. You’re not alone, yet again. The key is to be prepared ahead of time and practice conducting interviews. Review some of the most popular job interview questions. Before the big day, have a friend assist you in practising your responses in a mock interview. Organise your outfit and transportation in advance so that you can go to bed the night before feeling as prepared as possible. Then have some faith in yourself!
4. You have no idea where you want to go with your career.
It often seems as if everyone knows what they want to do with their lives and that you should as well. Maybe you know what you want, but you’re still a long way from finding your ideal job, that’s okay. Remember, not everyone’s journey will look alike. In fact, that’s kind of the whole point. Every experience is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, whether you obtain your dream career immediately or choose a new path after a year. Regardless, feeling like you don’t have a plan can make you anxious. This is where you start job searching and figuring out what might take your interest! Also, don’t feel confined in your search. Your degree doesn’t determine your career.
How do I cope with job anxiety after college?
The best thing you can do for yourself when you’re feeling job anxiety is to implement coping mechanisms. The good thing is that anxiety has been studied in great detail so there are plenty of recommendations for coping:
- Develop good habits. Eat well-balanced meals, get adequate sleep, and exercise healthily. You’ll be better able to deal with job anxiety and despair if you focus on your overall health.
- Keep in touch with friends and family. Seek emotional assistance from individuals who care about you. Connect with them regularly by text, phone, or video, even if you can’t see them in person.
- Make new acquaintances. Friendships can change over time, distance, and the changes that come with age. Tap into your hobbies and passions to meet unique individuals who share your interests.
- Take part in things that are meaningful to you. Having a sense of purpose can assist you in overcoming unpleasant emotions. Consider volunteering for a cause that means something to you.
- Set small, attainable goals for yourself. When we create objectives, we often feel compelled to attain them right away to make up for what we perceive to be lost time. But we frequently fall flat when this goal is large. This is why setting realistically attainable goals will boost your confidence since you are more likely to achieve them in the desired time. SMART goals help job anxiety by starting with steps like finishing a CV or inquiring about a job. Little, but important goals like this will reduce stress and get you closer to new employment.
What are some signs of job anxiety after graduating college?
Post-college anxiety in relation to obtaining that first job can look like many things. Some of these might not even look like anxiety at all, but that’s why it’s important to be aware of them!
- Feeling uncomfortable with yourself or your life for no apparent reason.
- You’re stuck or unmotivated, unsure of how to proceed or what you want to do.
- You feel alone and unsupported in a new job, city, or school program.
- You’re angry with yourself because you didn’t get what you wanted or at others because you feel they’ve put a roadblock in your way.
- You’re feeling irritable or agitated, overwhelmed and exhausted.
- Sleeping problems are arising.
- Sudden outbursts of tears occur.
- You’re having problems with the stomach.
How long does job anxiety after graduating last?
The duration of job anxiety after college graduation depends on the individual’s underlying reasons for the anxiety. If the underlying reasons are related to finding that first job, then you’d expect the anxiety to go down upon being hired. But if the anxiety stems from proving your degree was worth it, this might take longer. This is because it depends on how you perform in your new job.
The best thing you can do is try to manage the anxiety and you’ll find this helps gradually reduce it. One key trick you can use is to recognise that feelings of anxiety and excitement both release adrenaline within the body. So, when you’re feeling anxious, you can stop and think to yourself that maybe a part of the anxiety is actually excitement. This positive twist on the stressful state can change your mindset and help to manage your anxiety.
There are many questions that will arise over your career and we’re hoping our resources can help answer some of those queries. First of all, do you know the difference between a career and a job? We can also tell you all about quitting a job without another lined up. Or, if you need some help with decreasing your anxiety and boosting confidence, we know how to improve communication skills alone.