Regardless if you’re unemployed or employed, the job search process is frustrating and humbling, often leading to a lack of confidence. Unfortunately, it shows to the interviewer or networker and can hurt your odds of winning a job. During my 30+ years of interviewing or helping others get employed, it is clear that your ability to convey confidence (not cockiness!) can make or break your chances. Therefore, you need to master the art of showing your BEST side no matter how you feel inside.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, either. All personality types get nervous and hesitant when job searching.
Job Searching is a performance. Your key is to make every touch point a performance. A job search touch point can be an e-mail, a phone call, a network meeting to seek help, or an interview. Even “informational interviews” or fact-finding meetings require you to be at the top of your game. In order to perform, you need to separate the way you feel inside with the way you project yourself to others. Think about a situation where you have had a cold on a very important day. What did you do? You rallied; you muscled your way through it. Same for the job search meetings. Muscle through the head games going on in your mind. Easy, right? No, it’s not.
Five Tricks to Showing Confidence:
- Set up your workspace at home or in the library in a very organized, professional way. Clean off your desk and keep a well-organized binder, either with paper or on your PC. You will be amazed how it makes you feel when you are working on a very important project as you have done for school or work-related tasks.
- Block time for your job search, clear any distractions and face a list of important job search tasks head-on. This is not something you want to do while watching TV, with lots of noise around you, and you will be alert and focused. Get out of those pajamas or sweat pants and try getting dressed up one notch higher.
- When going to a face-to-face meeting, leave your unconfident, frustrated self behind you at the front door. When you close the door of your home or car in the parking lot, concentrate on leaving your “inside feelings” on the other side of the door. Chin high and march on. You are prepared, you know what they are looking for and you know yourself better than anybody.
- When attending a job search meeting of any kind (networking, informational, interview), improve your non-verbal actions. Sit up straight, have a medium-to-strong handshake, make great eye contact and take notes. Don’t forget to smile, too. It will relax you and will improve the relationship-building aspect of the meeting. When job-seeking on the phone, stand up! It will make your voice stronger and you will feel more confident. Invest in a phone headset, use your hand gestures, use the preparation notes in front of you, and watch the clock so you end the call on time.
- Buy something new to wear to your job-search-related meetings. Notice how I’m not just saying job interviews. Most candidates underestimate the importance of performing at preliminary meetings of any kind. I’m continually shocked to see what candidates wear to networking events, coffee shop meetings and informational interviews.
With the above 5 tricks, you may find out that you enjoy the performance side of the job search process as a job seeker. Try something different to get your head ready for a competition to win a job.