If you say “no”, you’re not frustrated or lost, you are either a great actor or you have an offer in hand. There are 3 main reasons why your mental attitude will take a beating during the job search:
1. It’s humiliating. Nobody wants to “sell themselves” to a hiring manager. There is a stigma with being unemployed and job-searching. Most importantly, it’s filled with rejection.
2. It’s a new era. Competition is more fierce than ever before and the game has changed. New technology, social media and higher standards than ever before.
3. You are not prepared. Without a good “rhythm” you will wander, think you have run out of things to do, and will randomly apply to jobs without success.
Let’s break these down and hit them head on. Why? Because if your head is not screwed on straight, it will show in everything you do: how you network, how you apply, how you interview. You need to do whatever it takes to find that “happy place” with your job-search process BEFORE charging out there and applying to jobs. Subsequently, during your job search, as you hit those frustrating walls, you need to bring yourself right back here to snap out of it.
First, some basic truths to remind yourself about:
- There are millions of people job-searching right now. This second. Many of them have found a way to hold their chin high, play the puzzle pieces of the game, and some even enjoy it! Many others are sitting in a chair, slumped over, feeling sorry for themselves and being the victim of a very confusing world of job search.
- Hiring managers want to hire happy people. Your frustration, lack of confidence, even anger, will show right through. From your voice, your hand-shake, typos in correspondence and your answers to basic interview questions will all go horribly south.
- There are tricks to getting out of your slump. Many people use them successfully and are able to turn themselves around.
My favorite two mind games I learned during my job searches and from other job-seekers:
1. Give your Job Search Process a name. “Jim’s Job Search” or just “FRED”…name it a 3rd person. That way you have to get up to see FRED, spend hours in the library with FRED, and follow up on FRED the next day. How many of you have had a project at work that has a name? Like Project Catalyst or Project Turnaround…anything. Why not apply the same thing to this very important project for you? The value of a project name it that it gives your hard work an identity, making it a really important effort.
2. “Build the Field” that you will play in. Rent the movie “Field of Dreams” if you want some inspiration. Seriously, set up a special space that is for Project FRED, get a filing system arranged in a box or on your PC, get out of little yellow sticky notes, and plan to run the best, most organized process you have ever done. As if your life depended on it. Oh, wait. It does depend on it.
In summary, pick yourself up and “Cut the Crap, Get a Job” (pre-order my forthcoming book of the same title here)