How To Handle The Emotional Ups And Downs Of Your Job Search

Frustration, despair, unmitigated fear: Here’s your user guide to every feeling your first-ever job search will throw at you.

How To Handle The Emotional Ups And Downs Of Your Job Search
[Photo: Flickr user Chris Yarzab]

A job search can have its ups and downs (and ups, downs, and ups again) like the whole experience is one big emotional roller coaster. The key to handling the emotions of your first job search is to ride them out.


And trust me, you’ll feel them all. But work your way through the anxiety, fear, and doubt to finally land on elation, happiness, and self-assuredness. Use this guide to navigate the more common emotions that will come your way during your first job search and try to throw you off your game during your first time searching for a job.


This one’s totally normal. Tackle this emotion by approaching your job search like it’s an actual job. Be disciplined, stay focused, and take it seriously. Establish a daily job-search routine. After you craft a great cover letter and resume, set up a job alerts email. On a daily basis, make time to read the jobs that come in from the email; research emerging companies in the industry you’re exploring and recognize that you’re doing your due diligence.

Unmitigated Fear

Yes, the job search is scary. You will worry about every little thing, from a misplaced comma on your cover letter to the fact that you sent an older version of your resume instead of the final copy. The cool thing? You’re not alone. Everyone is afraid of the job-search process and everyone makes mistakes. In due time, the fear will start shrinking as your courage expands. Start celebrating small wins. You applied and heard back from a recruiter! High fives all around.

No One Is Responding To You, So Clearly You’re Invisible

Here’s the thing: you are definitely visible even when you’re not getting any responses! Let me put it to you this way: When I juggled approximately 150 candidates at any given time (yes, you read that right), it was really difficult to reply in a timely manner to everyone who applied to the open positions.

There are a variety of possibilities as to why you’re not hearing back on your applications. Recruiters may be talking with internal candidates or considering referrals, or maybe there are talks of the position merging with another one. These are all out of your control. Trust that the recruiter who thinks you’re the right fit will find you–because they will.

Falling In Love With The Job You Don’t Have

We’ve all been there: You want the one you don’t have. You romanticize the job. You start making plans for your first 30 days on the job. You basically lose hold of the reality of the situation. Your expectations are all out of whack. While it’s exciting to crush on a job, take a more objective look at your reality to avoid ignoring other (just as crush-worthy!) job opportunities that come your way. Stop crushing on a job and start crushing your job search by being more objective and going after additional opportunities.



Rejection stings. Just when you thought you nailed that interview, it’s nothing but radio silence or flat-out rejections.

Yes, it stinks when you interview for a job but wind up not getting it. Perseverance is key. This sounds cliché but it’s important: Your job search is a marathon, not a sprint. You will feel a loss when you set your heart on an awesome job and don’t get it. The good news? You are getting closer and closer to the prize. It will happen. Stay the course!


This is never a fun emotion to handle, but resist throwing yourself a pity party. If you’re really down in the dumps, reach out to a therapist for help working through these emotions. Get the negativity out of your head so it’s not trapped inside. In addition, reach out to a job coach for advice and reassurance. Sometimes you need a little pat on the back to know you’re not in this alone, and yes, you’re doing everything right–even though you still don’t have a job.


This one’s easy to navigate. Hooray! You landed your first interview! You passed the phone screening, and you were asked to come into the office to meet the team. Then you were invited for a second and third interview! It’s great to celebrate your achievement, but don’t let the manic high obscure the larger goal. Don’t abandon your job-search routine just because you’ve made headway with one company. Remind yourself what got you there in the first place: your commitment and persistence.

This article originally appeared on Monster and is reprinted with permission.