Your mind can be your worst enemy when you are looking for a new job. When people do not respond, or they tell you you are overqualified, and then in the next breadth underqualified… there is plenty going on that can make you question yourself.
Here are 5 points to help you avoid the negative mind games when you are not working:
- Remember It’s Not Personal
Companies and roles change all the time. Inevitably, you will be let go once, twice and more in your career. This is not personal. Unfortunately, it is the world of work today. Shift your attention to understanding your strengths, skills and the context where they are best utilised, in order to focus your job search.
- Don’t Let Someone Else’s Opinion Define Your Value
People who can’t see your value will tell you “No”. The interview process is deeply flawed, filled with unconscious biases. Focus on facts: write a list of everything that you have achieved in your last couple of roles. This is concrete proof of the value that you know you add.
- Prepare Your Story
Your identity is often defined by what you do at work, so when you are not working this is shaken – at best you feel fuzzy and at worst you question everything about yourself. When well-meaning friends, neighbours, or ex-colleagues ask what we are doing now or what happened, it can reinforce this sense of uncertainty. It helps having a response prepared, such as:
- “I am taking a few months off to have a complete break and will then start applying”
- “I am taking some time out to learn XYZ/write a book/build a side project.” (delete as appropriate)
- “I left because there was a restructure.”
- Focus On The Process, Not The Job
This can feel counter-intuitive, but focus on the recruitment process rather than the end game of landing the job. When we focus on the process, such as “What have I done this week?” you are better able to see progress, and you can celebrate achievements along the way. It also means you focus on quality not quantity and how to stand out at each stage of the process. One well-written highly tailored CV and cover letter is worth more than 10 anonymous CV uploads on LinkedIn, ending up in the LinkedIn graveyard for résumés.
- Embrace Structure
Structure helps our minds stay focused on what is important and not play games with us. Defining the times when you will “work” to look for a role and when you are not “working” is helpful. And when you are not working, do things you enjoy.
By understanding how to avoid the mind traps when job hunting, you will pave the way for your next best move.