How To Expand Your Job Search & Increase Your Confidence & Resilience
Traditionally job searching has been something that we do solo. Which makes sense to a degree given we own and manage our careers however good career management is about having a support crew about you also – family, friends, colleagues, mentors, coaches, recruitment consultants you have built solid relationships with and trust.
Online job searching largely is a pretty deflating experience and one that is not good for our confidence. While we may initially get excited about how a job ad reads and feel that is us to a tee, having spent many hours a week online applying for jobs this sense of optimism soon fades. Even if we get a call back or interview here and there, the process leaves most people feeling low. In turn we end up losing our confidence in applying for those more exciting jobs and scale back to those that we can do with our eyes closed. This is not all the time however in my experience personally and with clients I would suggest it is a pretty normal experience for most job seekers.
The above is why we need a support crew to help us with our job searching. We need people who see the best in us and know what we are capable off to push us into applying for those jobs that seem a bit out of our experience yet largely match up with our transferrable skills. We need to have them encouraging us to contact recruiters and companies direct to network and to apply for those jobs we would like to but are too afraid to for fear of rejection.
Job searching takes time whether your employed at the time or not. For professionals and executives, it is about 6-12 months to secure a new role. This is why you need a support crew to keep you going and staying positive throughout the roller coaster of emotions that is job seeking until you land your next role.
Throughout my career as a coach I have frequently sent friends, family and clients job opportunities that may appear left of field yet thought may be of interest to them to explore. Sometimes this has been successful other times not so much. However, while we know ourselves, we can get stuck in a set way of thinking about ourselves and the jobs we can and cannot do. We get set in our comfort zones with our careers for many reasons, such as fear of failure, lack of confidence, financial commitments, fear of networking etc.
Two of these that I want to focus on are;
- The investments already made in terms of money and time spent on education & training to get where we are – logic tells us it does not make sense to change (even if we are not happy)
- The addiction of a monthly pay cheque
Below I have fleshed out these two reasons in a bit more detail as to why we stay with the jobs we have done before in terms of our applications. There are a multitude of different reasons why this occurs however the two I have highlighted are those that perhaps don’t receive enough consideration and are where having a support crew can help us with our job search.
- 1) Investment in Current Career
A common reason why job seekers are reluctant to look a bit left of field is that we have created an identify for ourselves as X. We have spent money and time in educating ourselves, joining industry associations, attending functions and building (actively or passively) a personal brand as X. A such we are often reluctant to change our set path, particularly once we have achieved a management level position or above. Regardless of how happy we are in the role we stick with what we know and doing the same or similar role. Having another person to job search with may encourage you to take a few risks with your applications and networking.
- 2) The Addiction of the Monthly Pay Cheque
A quote from Tim Ferris that I heard on one of his podcasts was “that one of the greatest addictions people have is a monthly pay cheque”. If you ponder this thought a moment it is true. Another reason why we stay locked in our comfort zones when job searching. That desire to fix the addiction with another job quickly! Which is in part also due to the reality of living expenses. Having a job search support crew to check in with, challenge you a bit can also maybe help you consider other job search options that the ‘addition’ may not allow you to see.
It is good to think of having a support person or crew as someone to help open your eyes to more career possibilities – to take you out of the dark and set way of thinking about your career and skills and to show you new opportunities.
Tools to Help
So how can you help yourself or others who are job searching and loosing motivation?
LinkedIn now offers some great info on Job Ads about Skills relevant for the roles. As your no doubt aware with the job recommendations they send you based on your profile they send you mostly things aligned with what you have done before! Not ideal however a reason for us to send on jobs to friends, family and colleagues we think may resonate with them.
I always suggest if applying online look to have an 80%+ plus match. Knowing that hirers and recruiters are looking for a 100% match to meet their clients wish list! If networking for your job search or researching new careers you can look for a lower match 70% as growth in a role is important.
ONET & Research
A great site for looking at what jobs really involve is ONET https://www.onetonline.org/ it is a way to confirm or dispel your thoughts about particular jobs you can and cannot do as it details the skills that are most relevant for the positions, key tasks etc. Too often people have un-justified perceptions of what jobs involve, without doing enough research. Expand your thinking and seek extra information about jobs, professions, training required etc.
Email / Phone
Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family and colleagues for help when job searching. Be it job ads they see that maybe of interest, coming around one night to help you screen job ads or send applications, motivate you to network etc.
Job searching can be such a lonely and emotional process. Consider we have support from family and friends in many other areas of our lives and that this too is an area of our lives where success and confidence come from the support of others. Identify a couple of key people to support you if your job searching or if you know someone job searching why not reach out and offer to help.
Wellbeing and Confidence Coach, Emma Delahey, says its important to prioritise self-care while job searching. “Being active in other areas of your life can help keep you motivated and positive during your job search. Make exercise a priority and perhaps even set yourself some small goals. It’s a good time to try a new activity, train for an event, join a sports team or commit to regular exercise with a friend. Equally important is spending time with family and friends. Regular catch ups provide fun and care. And helping a family member, friend or neighbour in need is a wonderful way to support your community and lift your spirits.
“Even though you’re focused on a big goal, to find the right job, remember to find your joy too. Continue to do things that engage you and make you smile, whether it’s cooking, writing, gardening or the playing the guitar. And try to savour job search wins, both big and small. Feel proud of your well-crafted resume, networking efforts, interview preparation and professional follow-up. Relish the positive feedback, second interview and interest in your expertise.
“If you have moments when you feel discouraged, remember the job search experience is universal. Show yourself kindness with how you talk to, encourage and comfort yourself. Try to appreciate the great things in your life: family, friends, health, interests and sunny days. Perhaps you could write/type/draw/ a ‘hit list’, where you record personal and professional achievements over the past few years, list your top personal and professional strengths, note some challenges you’ve overcome, and jot down your favourite compliments. This exercise will enhance your confidence, give you a happy boost, and provide an uplifting resource to draw on.”
Have you helped someone with their job search before & how did it go? Would you offer to help a friend, family or colleague with their job search?
Kelly Magowan: Kelly is a Career & Executive Coach, Leadership Development Facilitator, and runs MBTI® Training programs for organisations through Diversitas. She has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space, regularly appearing on radio and has published a book on Amazon, ‘The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation’. Follow her on Instagram @careerstrategist