Turn your job search insecurity into job search confidence!
Most people don’t like looking for a job. Do you? Maybe you’re worried you won’t find one in a tough market. Maybe you’re afraid you don’t have enough experience or won’t stand out. Or, you may be concerned that you’ll have to take a job that isn’t what you want so you can pay your bills.
Job search fears are common; and you can beat them. You can boost your mental game and attack your search with excitement. You can approach every interview with enthusiasm.
Keep Your Inner Voice Positive
We’re often our own harshest critics. “I can’t believe I did/said that.” “This probably won’t go well.” Do you ever say things like that to yourself?
These negative thoughts take a huge chunk out of your self-confidence, and keep you from taking risks you need to take.
The general rule to follow is: If you wouldn’t say it to your child, your best friend, or anyone you love, don’t say it to yourself.
Train Yourself to Be More Optimistic
So…I love horses. I ride, I taught my kids to ride, I live on a ranch. My neighbor wanted to ride, but had a negative experience in the past that kept him from trying it again. So, I brought him over to my place and put him on one of my most gentle horses, Shorty. As soon as my friend got into the saddle, he tensed up. Which made Shorty tense up. Because the horse takes his cues from the rider. If the rider is tense, the horse starts anticipating trouble, too. Because Shorty started nervous stepping, my neighbor got scared. Which made Shorty even more nervous. Things were not going in a positive direction.
So I said, “Hey friend, you’re scaring my horse. Relax your legs. Turn them into jelly noodles.” He did, and Shorty read that as, “The rider is OK now; things should be good.” As Shorty relaxed, my friend felt better. They ended up having a great ride.
The lesson here is that when you anticipate a bad outcome, you often do things that make it happen. If you can turn that around and expect a positive outcome (because why wouldn’t you?) you can end up doing things that make it happen.
When you approach any situation, imagine having a good outcome from it. Expect it and be optimistic.
Write Down Your Successes
Keeping a record of things you’ve done well, compliments you’ve received, or awards you’ve won is a great way to boost your confidence. Before an interview or an important call, look over those things and remind yourself that you’re good at what you do. You’ve been successful in the past and you can be again.
This collection of successes (also known as a brag book) is a fantastic tool for your interview. It can illustrate some of your stories and be a wow factor for hiring managers. (See more about brag books here.)
Practice Relaxing Breathing
On a regular basis (and especially before interviews), take a few moments for some relaxing deep breathing exercises. Slowing your heart rate down and infusing some oxygen into your system will calm you, which will make you feel better and seem more confident to the person you’re speaking with.
Accept that Unemployment is Temporary
If you’re without work right now, it’s natural to be concerned. But don’t spiral. Most people find themselves unemployed at one point or another, and almost nobody stays that way forever. Recognize your stress and deal with it in healthy ways—get some exercise, do some fun activities to offset your job search, and eat healthy foods. Maybe it's time to learn a new skill you’ve always wanted to.
Seeing this situation as temporary helps you keep your cool and your confidence.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
Every day, remind yourself of how talented and powerful you are. Put up sticky notes on your bathroom mirror like little sticky compliments.
“You’re an exceptional accountant”
“You accomplished X at Acme Corporation.”
“You created X that helped accomplish Y.”
Whatever it is…put it up to remind yourself.
Stress is a real part of job searching—especially if you left your old job in a negative situation. Do everything you can to focus on the positive and build yourself up. Not only will you feel better; you’ll look better to employers, too.
Stop Extreme Generalizing
If a hiring manager doesn’t call you back right after an interview, don’t think, “They probably hated me and I’ll never get that job.”
That kind of thinking makes a huge number of assumptions that in all likelihood aren’t true. There are any number of reasons a hiring manager might not call back right away. Maybe they’re out sick, or an emergency came up with a client. Alternatively, maybe they’re waiting for HR to write up your offer!
If you find yourself in catastrophe mode, think of other reasonable explanations that could be the issue instead. You never know what can happen, and a lot of the time it can be great.
Bigger Job Search Confidence Boost
If any of these are difficult for you, you need to figure out what the problem is and address it so you can have the success you want.
My Career Confidence Instruction Manual can walk you through identifying what your mental obstacles are and help you get over them. You can overcome your fear, boost your confidence every day, and inspire any employer’s confidence in you.
How you present yourself in your job search and interviews is too important not to be absolutely certain of yourself and what you have to offer.