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Getting a Job with Anxiety and Depression

Looking for a job can be one of the most frustrating and difficult tasks. If you are searching while working at a different position, it can feel like working 2 full-time jobs. However, if you are looking while unemployed, you get the additional weight of financial stress on your shoulders. 

Now add anxiety and depression into the mix. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults aged 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” Plus, major depressive disorder (MDD) affects 6.7% of the population and half of the individuals diagnosed with depression also suffer from anxiety.

Given the commonality of these diagnoses, it is not hard to imagine that a good number of job-seekers are suffering from anxiety, depression, or some combination of the two. So, what does getting a job with anxiety and depression look like? At Pathrise, we have helped 1,000+ people land great jobs at companies that support them and make them feel comfortable. These are our top tips to help you do the same.

Tips for getting a job with anxiety and depression

1. Make a schedule and stick to it

One of the most important pieces of advice for anyone suffering from anxiety and depression is to get on a schedule that works for you. When you are looking for a job full-time, it can feel difficult to know when to start and stop your day. We always recommend creating a schedule that mimics a normal workday, so that you can create separation between your job search and leisure time.

Exercise is good for endorphins and it is generally a good way to kick off your day. Whether that means taking a walk, doing yoga, lifting weights, or whatever else you can do to get your body moving, you might find that this helps get you in the mood to sit down and apply to jobs. If you are not big on exercise, that’s fine, too! Just make sure you set your alarm, get out of bed, maybe do some stretches, and then get ready to take on the day.

Then, settle into your workspace (see our next tip for more info on setting up your space) to start applying to jobs. Make sure that you schedule in time for you to eat lunch, drink water, take walks, and generally, care for yourself. These should be blocked into your schedule, so you know that you will follow through with them. Finally, mark the end of your “workday” and commit to that time. Pat yourself on the back for the work you did that day and then spend time relaxing.

2. Designate a workspace

Once you have gotten up out of your bed make sure that you stay out of bed! Your bed is for sleeping, it is not for working. You should do your best to create a workspace in your home because studies show that you are more productive when you separate your work and leisure areas. If you have a desk or kitchen table, those are good places for working. If you don’t, try to set yourself up on your coffee table or buy a collapsible desk so your couch feels a little bit less like your couch while you are working.

Try to make your space as calming and clean as possible. If plants bring you joy, move one of your favorite plants to your desk or working area. Maybe you like lighting candles or incense or putting on soothing music. You should do whatever helps to lighten your mood and make you feel as comfortable as possible. Looking for a job can be overwhelming, so try to derive calm from your surroundings.

3. Work smart, not hard

Use every tool at your disposal to shorten the length of your job search. At Pathrise, fellows who send compelling cold emails along with their job applications triple their response rate. This helps them schedule more phone interviews and get more conversations on the books. You should also spend some time networking on LinkedIn so you can nurture those connections and get your foot in the door when companies announce that they are hiring. Check out our guide with more information on how to use LinkedIn to find a job.

When you move forward with companies, spend a lot of time preparing for your sessions. You should take the time to research each company and learn everything you can about their mission, values, goals, and products. This information is vital to success in your interviews because it shows you are passionate, interested, and informed. Since most interviews are being done virtually, feel free to write up a document with your notes that you can reference during your call. 

If you are feeling extra anxious before these interviews, we suggest practicing the types of questions they will ask. You should write down your responses and read them aloud to yourself in a mirror or to a friend or loved one. You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but you should sound confident in your response. In addition, when you have a sense of the right points to hit, you will avoid rambling, freezing up, or trailing off.

Here are some interview questions you can practice:

With these tips & guidance, fellows in our program triple their application response rate and double their interview scores. We know it is difficult to imagine getting a job with anxiety and depression, but with the right help by your side, you can do it!

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. If you want to work with our mentors to get help with your job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

Alex MacPherson

Hi I'm Alex! Since graduating from UC Berkeley in 2019, I have worked on the growth team for Pathrise helping job seekers hone their skills to land their dream role through curated content on interview prep, resume building and more.

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