Anxiety is challenging for anyone, but when you mix it with teenage hormones, school stress, peer pressure and social media…it becomes even more overwhelming – even for the hardiest of teens! About 1 in 5 young people are diagnosed with anxiety; that’s 20% of the teen population. So chances are, even if you don’t have an anxious teen, you definitely know one!
Meeting new people in authority positions, talking about yourself, being evaluated and judged based on your appearance and knowledge are all major triggers for anxiety. Unfortunately, these are the definition of a job interview. For most, a job interview brings on a faster heartbeat, sweaty palms or dry mouth. But, for those dealing with anxiety, just the thought of an interview can throw them into full-blown panic mode!
The good news is that there are many ways you can help your teen manage their anxiety so they can confidently navigate the whole job search process and get a job that’s right for them!
Here are 4 simple things that your teen can do to help manage their anxiety around getting a job:
Have your teen write down all of their racing and anxious thoughts they have regarding getting a job. I know, they will probably scoff at the idea of journaling, but its a proven winning strategy and it’s easy to do! Some of the documented benefits of writing down what’s stressing you out are:
- Improves your cognitive functioning.
- Allows you to examine your thoughts and shift your perspective.
- Reduces repetitive negative thinking and promotes action.
- Allows you to consider multiple outcomes of a situation.
A huge stress trigger for teens with anxiety is the unknown. For a teen applying for a part-time job, there are countless “unknowns”. How do I create a resume with no experience? How do I find a place that’s hiring? What do I wear to the interview? What if they ask me questions I can’t answer? After they have journaled all of these racing thoughts, the best way to overcome the fear of the unknown is to prepare. My father always taught me the five “P”s: Pre Planning Prevents Poor Performance. And this holds true in this situation also. Being prepared will give your teen confidence and help ease the stress!
- Help your teen create a simple resume. They may not have any work experience, but there are lots of ways teenagers can show their strengths and abilities without having direct job experience. Once they see their qualifications on paper, they will realize that they have a lot to offer prospective employers!
- Help your teen practice and hold a mock interview. You can ask them questions and practice proper interview etiquette (shaking hands, posture, eye contact, etc.)
- Research the companies that they’ll be interviewing so that they’re familiar with the products or services offered.
- Plan Ahead! If they’re unfamiliar with the location, have them drive there a day or so ahead of time so they can get familiar with the surroundings. If possible, visit the location of the interview so your teen will know exactly where to go and what to expect on interview day.
3. Visualize Success
This is another proven technique that’s been used since the 1960s by everyone from performance athletes to powerful executives, and your teen can use it too! Visualization is a technique to mentally rehearse what you want to happen. By creating visuals in your mind of accomplishing what you want, you begin to see that your dreams can be a reality! Have your teen visualize themselves having an amazing interview and getting the job offer.
4. Power Pose
Before your interview…Choose your favorite superhero and strike a pose (fists on your hips, spread legs, lifted chest and gaze towards the heavens)! Sounds kind of ridiculous, but science has proven that spending as little as 2 minutes in Super Hero Pose increases your testosterone (power hormone) and decreases your cortisol (stress hormone). This pose literally changes your physiology and puts you in a state of mind of a superhero. Studies have shown that candidates who strike a power pose before an interview are perceived as more calm and confident and are more likely to get hired. Who doesn’t want to hire a superhero?
Once they are prepared and have practiced the above techniques….Breathe and Relax! Remind them that interviewers are people too and will do what they can to make the candidate feel comfortable. And, if they’ve been called for an interview, they have already passed the biggest hurdle! Remember, practice make perfect, so even if they don’t get the first job they interview for, encourage them to keep on interviewing! Even the most anxious teen will find the perfect job!