Let’s face it; the job search process stinks! I can’t think of any other life-changing event – other than death or divorce – that triggers so many negative feelings. Feel any of these? I, too, have felt all of them at one time or another in my own job searches. You’re not alone!
Defeat or hopelessness
Worry or panic
Surrender (to the status quo)
Now, I’m not a psychologist, but I think it’s especially important to spend time discussing two key emotions that my clients and my readers share.
Surrender to the status quo: “Maybe I should just stay here in my current job.”
You’ve decided to search for a more rewarding job. Good for you! You’re researching other divisions within your company or with new companies and applying to positions. But, periodically, a little voice inside says, “It’s not that bad here; I’m fortunate to have this job; I’m familiar with this; the grass may not be greener on the other side;” and more. Right?
Wrong! If I were to pick one word that represents great career management it is: choices. It is your right and your responsibility to know your options and your value in the marketplace. Of course, if you are employed, you want to conduct your choice search confidentially and there are many ways to accomplish that.
Here is an exercise that may help:
Draw two columns on a piece of paper. On the left side, list all of the reasons that triggered your desire to pursue other career choices in the first place: no upward mobility, money, boredom, bad boss, too many hours, etc.
On the right side, list all of the reasons you should stay right where you are: comfortable, easy, no risk, friends at work.
Now, commit to exploring options so you have choices. If you’re only half-committed to a job search, it will show to those you are networking with. Worse yet, you won’t see results. Then guess what? You will be right back in “frustration-land.”
Low self-esteem: “I don’t qualify for a number of jobs; I don’t have all of the skills; I can’t sell myself well.”
Can I let you in on a hiring manager secret? Shhhhh… don’t tell anybody, okay?
Here it is: job descriptions are written for the perfect person who does not exist. Yes, you heard me right. We write job descriptions for an ideal, specially configured robot, and don’t really expect to find somebody with 100% of the specifications.
In addition, what you don’t see in the job description are other criteria that we desire. For example, there are optimal industries and companies that we would like our robot-candidate to have worked in. Finally, you don’t realize there are applicants that are applying who have way fewer qualifications than you have!
OK. Here’s some homework for you:
Spend 30 minutes dissecting each job description you are evaluating. Write your skills and experiences next to their requirements. Either write in the margin of their page, or, even better, on a separate page in a 2-column table. If you meet 60 to 70% of the company’s specified qualifications, then apply! Naturally, if you want this job, your work has only begun with the online application. Now, the heavy lifting begins with networking, follow up, and much more.
Avoid the job search blues by thinking about it differently and approaching the opportunity to build choices with a fresh perspective and an entirely new process.
And remember, you’re not alone!