Practice deep breathing.
This technique is effective at helping reduce anxiety from many different sources. When you practice it regularly and know when to engage it, it can immediately lower blood pressure and reduce your heart rate, which are physiological signs of anxiety. Regular practice helps make the technique second nature, which means you will feel comfortable using it whenever you need it.
Plan ahead, so you know what to talk about.
Worrying that you’ll have nothing intelligent to say is one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of any social situation. This is especially important when trying to make a positive first impression during a job search. Planning can make all the difference. Actually write a script, preparing ahead with phrases or questions you can start with. Then take the time to practice saying them in front of a mirror so that you don’t get tongue-tied when you’re in front of someone new. Preparation is half the battle here, and if you know what you want to say ahead of time, you significantly reduce the chances that you’ll get flustered.
Focus on realistic thinking.
If you are generally anxious in social situations, you tend to have negative thoughts about what might happen in these circumstances. Most of your worries are not based on real facts, though. So first, write down your thoughts about social interactions when job searching, including what you worry about most. Next, evaluate which are based on known facts or reality and if they are not, rewrite them to be more accurate and helpful. Look these over frequently.
Stop trying to be perfect.
A great deal of anxiety when job searching comes from our expectations of ourselves. If you find yourself caught up in that nervous spiral of things not being exactly as you planned, don’t despair. When you try to fight a panic attack, or worse, pretend it’s not there, it will only escalate. Things seem more out of control the more you focus on them. Instead, acknowledge that you have anxiety, and then remind yourself that it always ends and it’s nothing you can’t handle. Go to a quiet place where you can be alone to “embrace” the anxiety until it passes.
Remember that it is okay if someone does not like you.
Anxiety can create unrealistic expectations for yourself and others. Do you like every person you meet? Of course not! So, why should you expect everyone to like you? And just like you feel uncomfortable in social situations, other people have their own baggage and issues, too. No one is perfect, including you, so do not be afraid to be yourself and let others accept you for who you are.
Face your fears.
When you have social anxiety about job searching, it is reasonable to want to avoid that trigger. But this is only a short-term solution that can have long-term impacts on your career. Instead of avoiding the many social interactions associated with job searching, you should face them and embrace them. The more often you engage in the activities that make you anxious, the easier it will become. Start small, but each tiny step will help you work past your fear and learn to embrace the social interactions essential to your long-term career success.