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Career Fair and Networking Anxiety

Career fairs and networking events can create feelings of anxiety for many people – even career counselors! The thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations you experience is your body’s way of telling you this is important and needs attention.

People experience anxiety in different ways – here are some examples of how it may show up for you before, during, or after a Career Fair or networking event:

  • Physical: body tension, pounding heart, sweating, chills, headaches, stomach upset, dizziness, upset stomach, shortness of breath, muscle tension or twitches, shaking or trembling, trouble sleeping, heaviness or lightness
  • Emotional: feelings of apprehension or fear, avoidance, trouble concentrating, irritability, intense emotions or a disconnect from emotions, feeling overwhelmed
  • Thoughts: racing thoughts, repetitive thoughts, anticipating the worst, self-criticism, fear of making a mistake, difficulty making a decision

Part of managing anxiety is first recognizing it, validating it, and implementing strategies to help it work for you. Below are a few strategies we hope you will find helpful – feel free to choose what works for you and add to this list. Career counselors are here to support you in developing a career fair/networking anxiety plan.

If you want more in-depth support related to anxiety, Counseling at Boise State University Health Services is here for you. Contact them by email or phone: or (208) 426-1459

Suggestions to manage anxiety:

Prepare: Knowing what to expect and preparing ahead of time can help reduce anxiety.

Perspective: Perspective matters!

  • Recognize you’ve done hard things in the past, reflect on your strengths that helped you move through those hard things, and use those strengths going forward.
  • Attend the Virtual Career Fair with an open and curious mind.
  • It’s okay to make a mistake. Approach this as a growth opportunity and you don’t have to be perfect.
  • Think about what you may gain and what the positives will be.

Practices: Use strategies that have helped reduce anxiety in the past and try something new!

Box Breathing or 4×4 Breathing

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

There are lots of different strategies to lessen anxiety including finding an object that brings you a sense of calm (a photo, stress ball, fidget, etc), journaling, listening to music, exercising, etc. Find what works for you!

Connect: Reach out to someone you trust: a friend, career counselor, mentor, mental health counselor, etc..

Vulnerability is a strength and people you trust can encourage and support you through this process.

Reassurance: Recognize your strengths and values.

You have a lot to offer and employers are excited to meet you – they were once students too and know what it feels like to feel nervous talking to a recruiter.