In most cases, we do not make the decision to look for a new job until we have to – either we find ourselves unemployed, or suffer in our current position. Fight or flight takes over, and takes care of the decision for us. Even after you’ve made a decision to start looking for a new job, taking action can stir up a lot of anxiety.

Job search anxiety is quite common. Just taking the plunge to update a résumé can be anxiety producing, let alone completing job applications and interviewing. Managing anxiety throughout the job search process is not only important for mental health, it can make the difference between getting or not getting that job you’re hoping for.

A strategy that can help minimize anxiety throughout the job search process is developing something called a ‘bias for action’. Bias for action means that you take the plunge, you pull the trigger, you “just do it” without overthinking. This idea is to avoid analysis paralysis – overanalyzing a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. Like most things, there is a balance. You should certainly be thoughtful with your résumé and job applications, but by developing a bias for action mindset, you continue to take action steps towards your goal.

Why is this a good thing when applying for jobs or making a career change?

  • Avoid the risk of missing an opportunity due to inaction or delay.
  • Action creates more action. The old adage “Need something done? Ask a busy person” rings true because those that are busy are often in an action-oriented state of mind.
  • Your chances of success increase. The more actions you take (the more jobs you apply to, the more people you talk to, the more interviews you go on), the more likely it is that you will find the right opportunity for you.
  • You get practice! You learn from mistakes, you reflect on what you might have done differently and then you act accordingly.

Now, get moving! Need some motivation? Check out these TED Talks to help you get some pep in your step:

For some more inspiring TED Talks, check out our blog post about making bold career moves.

And if you would like personal support in improving your job search and creating effective action, a Career Coach can certainly help. Learn more at