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Overcoming Job Search Challenges

October 16, 2023

Navigating the “Spooky” Aspects of the Job Hunt

By Aafia Jaliawala

As the autumn leaves fall and Halloween approaches, the chill in the air is not the only thing sending shivers down the spines of job seekers. There are some truly “spooky” aspects of the job search that haunt many current candidates in their quest for employment. Let’s explore these fears and provide strategies for overcoming them.

1. Time Management Due to Commute:

For many job seekers, a long and arduous commute to work can be a major source of anxiety. With gas prices on the rise and traffic congestion at an all-time high, the prospect of spending hours in transit can be daunting. According to a survey by the US Census Bureau, the average commute time in the United States is approximately 27 minutes one way, which adds up to nearly an hour a day. It may not sound like a lot, but this can add up to a significant amount of time invested and make it challenging to balance work, personal life, and other commitments.

Strategy: To manage the time spent commuting, consider breaking it up with productive activities such as listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or work-related materials. Use this time to engage in tasks that do not require your physical presence at the workplace.

2. In-Person Interviews:

In-person interviews can be a nightmare for job seekers of all levels of experience. The fear of being judged, making a mistake, or not being good enough can weigh heavily on your mind. LinkedIn found that 92% of professionals feel anxious about some aspect of the job interview process.

Strategy: To alleviate interview anxiety, preparation is key. Research the company thoroughly and practice your responses to common interview questions. Dress professionally, arrive on time, and remember that the interviewer is interested in getting to know the real you. Confidence and self-assuredness often come with practice and experience. Check out some videos and tips related to interviews:


3. Hybrid and Fully Onsite Work:

The return to the office after two years of remote work has been challenging for many, especially those with social anxiety. The prospect of being surrounded by people all day can be overwhelming. According to a 2022 survey by Mental Health America, 71% of people with social anxiety said that remote work has had a positive impact on their mental health. However, it is important to consider your individual needs and have social support in place.

Strategy: If you’re struggling with the transition, don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with your manager. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of accommodating employees’ needs through wellness initiatives. You might be able to negotiate a hybrid work schedule or request a designated quiet space in the office for focused work.

4. Office Politics:

Office politics can be a minefield for job seekers and new hires alike. Especially those who entered the workforce during the pandemic. Navigating complex relationships and unwritten rules can be tricky. A survey by Robert Half found that 56% of workers believe that office politics have negatively affected their careers in some way.

Strategy: When navigating office politics, it can be helpful to research company policies and culture to make sure you’re and be mindful of your behavior and interactions with colleagues. Avoid gossip and negative talk about coworkers. Instead, strive to be supportive and helpful. Building positive relationships with people at all levels of the organization can help you navigate office dynamics successfully. Here’s a helpful video about office politics:


5. Slow Down in Hiring Until New Year/Budget:

Another fear that plagues job seekers in October is the perception that hiring slows down in the fall and winter months as companies finalize their budgets for the next year. However, this is not always the case. According to data from LinkedIn, job postings can vary by industry and region, with some sectors experiencing increased hiring during this period.

Strategy: Don’t give up on your job search. Continue networking, attending industry events, and applying for positions that align with your career goals. Use this time to upskill or reskill yourself, making you even more attractive to potential employers.

While these “spooky” situations can be a real concern for job seekers, it’s essential to remember that you’re not alone in your journey. The anxieties and challenges you face are shared by many. By using these strategies and seeking support from friends, family, and career counselors, you can navigate the spooky aspects of the job hunt with confidence and perseverance. Stay resilient, keep applying, and remember that your dream job may be just around the corner, waiting to bring a ray of sunshine to your October days.

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