If we are honest with ourselves, fear can be a constant companion during a job search. It’s natural when you think about it, as so much can ride on a successful job search, in particular if your current work is untenable, or you are unemployed. So many questions: How are you going to pay the bills? What if I never secure a great job? What if they don’t like me? What do I do, if I stuff up the interview? Am I considered too old, too young? How does my application stack up against others?
It is really easy to let our mind run rampant and live a life filled with fear. This of course can be exhausting, as a job hunt can be stressful enough as it is, without inviting doom and disaster.
Fear can also erode your sense of confidence and I strongly believe that employers can smell fear, and this in turn will diminish any confidence they may have in you and what you can offer them.
So how do you manage fear?
So how do you stop fear from controlling you? Well, there are strategies that you can use, in which you can build your confidence and manage fear, not only during your job search but also in your life more generally:
Practice Makes Perfect
If you are not making progress with your job search, it is probably an indication that you need to practice and learn some more. You see our minds are programmed to believe that a rejection letter is a rejection of ourselves – the individual. It is so challenging to our self-confidence, that whether we acknowledge it or not, we take it very personally.
Instead, we need to understand that the modern job search has changed and is very complex. If you are not making progress, you need to turn fear into learning.
You see, at school, if we didn’t get it right we failed the exam and were a complete flunk. But in job-hunting, if we don’t get it right then we simply need to LEARN, so that we CAN get it right!
Identifying areas you need to learn about and develop
- Are you tapping into the hidden job market?
- Are you setting aside significant time EVERY day to find work?
- Are you following up with recruiters and agencies weekly?
- Are you applying for appropriate jobs that match your skills and qualifications?
- Do you need to learn new skills or gain new qualifications to secure a new job?
- Are you following up with employers after the interview?
- Does your resume or CV sell you effectively, by outlining the VALUE you offer to potential employers?
- Are you submitting an effective cover letter with your resume to employers?
- If applying for government jobs, are you submitting an effective application?
- How well are you performing at the interview?
- Do you follow up an interview with an appropriate thank-you note?
These are just a few of the areas that job seekers can improve on. For more resources and information explore my blog site.
Job-hunting can be quite an isolating experience and often we deal with rejection alone. Let’s face it, we don’t turn up at the barbecue and tell everyone you have just received 2 rejection letters this week and not heard back on 3 other jobs and that we are fearful about the process. Yet, support is a vital factor in how well you deal with a job search.
There are a variety of ways you can get support, including emotional, practical and professional support. Emotional support could come from family and close friends. Professional support could come through colleagues, associates and professional career advisors, and practical support could come from all sources, including family, friends, colleagues and professionals.
Having some reassurance from others, in particular with those that have experienced similar problems with a job search (which is the majority of people by the way), will take away the intensity of what you are worrying about.
Deal with facts not fiction
Most of the things we worry about will never happen, yet we still worry about them, which is pretty silly, when you think about the time you expend about something that will never eventuate. The reality is our emotions can easily lead to self-defeating thinking and a total distortion of reality.
It is important to become aware that your thinking may become irrational and distorted as a result of your emotions. Once you are aware of this, you can avoid negative behaviours such as negative predictions, over-generalisations, magnification of negative experiences, focussing on just the negative and reaching incorrect conclusions about situations.
Yes, job hunting could be extremely difficult for you and your family. But in Australia you won’t starve. There will be other opportunities around the corner. The more pragmatic you are about the process, the more likely it is that you will manage the job search well and perform better finding a new job.
If you are reading this you might be thinking “What would Carolyn know about the challenges and issues that I have in my job search”?
Trust me, I’ve experience profound fear during a job search and in my business. Most people at some stage experience fear.
But we need to learn to master fear and understand that fear is not sustainable in the long term.