Still putting off the job search you vowed to begin after the holidays?
The yearly bonus is safely in the bank. The holidays are over. You’re back to the grind and already feeling drained about the idea of spending another year, let alone another week, doing what you’re doing. It’s time to start looking, but the fear of beginning your job search is paralyzing and you can’t seem to get moving.
Common among job seekers in all stages of their career, anxiety surrounds the search process. Market conditions and state of the economy aside, it feels like you’re putting yourself in a position to be judged. Somebody will judge you on everything from your resume format, to your education, to your work history, to your choice of interview attire. You put yourself in front of others, and then wait to find out if you’re “good enough”. At least that’s how it feels. Even a healthy self-esteem can find the process daunting.
If you’re stuck, consider these tips to help change your mindset and face fears head-on so you can get out of your own way:
1. Are you stressed because you don’t have it all figured out? You can’t “think” yourself into the perfect job. There is no way for you to be certain that you’re going like what’s next until you try it. Too much introspection breeds paralysis. Think for a little while – but then act.
2. Worried about selling yourself in an interview? Be yourself in the interview. There’s a difference.
3. Transform the “I’m not good enough” worry by remembering that the Hiring Manager is considering if you’re a right match for a position; not if you’re a good and decent human being. You’re so much more than your job title.
4. Take the “I might fail” fear and accept that you might. You can learn tons about yourself (and what you don’t want in another job) by NOT succeeding.
5. Afraid of putting your resume together? Prepare. Have someone else put their eyes on it. Get help from a pro. Same goes for interviewing. If you are rusty, or if you know you’ve bombed before, enlist the help of a mentor for some mock interview practice. Better to “bomb” in practice than in real life.
6. Eliminate some of the fear of the unknown in an interview by concentrating on things you can control: your attire, arriving on time (10 minutes early), bringing a fresh copy of your resume, eye contact, general body language, questions for the Hiring Manager, etc.
7. Set small, attainable goals. (Warning – this may mean disturbing your comfortable routine of wine and FaceBook at night.) So, do you want to make this change or not? Commit to some type of action each day (or every other day) to keep your job search moving. One phone call, one resume submission, one bullet point on your resume is a step.
Fear leads to overthinking which leads to anxiety which leads to paralysis which keeps you stuck. Action, no matter how small, can interrupt the fear and allow you to feel a sense of control over the process. Once you feel like you have some control over the stress of the search, maybe you’ll even want to consider turning any remaining fear into curiosity. And that’s when the magic really happens.