Job seekers, you are going to experience ups and downs on your job search journey. It’s inevitable. You might start off with tremendous enthusiasm, and then the reality of the search process settles in. You might apply to many job postings without getting any response. You might interview and then wait weeks to get feedback. You might hit dead ends as you pursue potential job leads.
The longer it takes to find the right opportunity, the more deflated you might feel and it’s common for your self-confidence to take a hit. Try not to let this happen; in fact, protect your self-confidence and keep it high!
First, a decrease in self-confidence also usually means an increase in stress, and stress is not good for you physically or mentally. Second, a lack of self-confidence will manifest itself in your search, hurting your chances of getting the job you want. You need to project confidence to potential employers so that hiring managers will trust your abilities. Finally, it just doesn’t feel good, and losing your self-confidence can decrease motivation and can even lead to depression, which can be harmful to your health.
Let’s explore six tips for keeping your self-confidence high during your job search process.
Lean on your support network. Identify people who can listen to your frustrations and help you stay motivated and confident. You can even find job search forums online where you’ll discover people who are sharing tips and encouragement (tip: check out “job search confidence” on Reddit). If you’re working with a recruiter (such as the Talent Consultants at Elevation Talent Group!), they can help you stay positive and focused.
Take breaks. I always advocate for treating your job search like it’s a job itself. Dedicate time to your search and work hard at it, but also take mental health breaks. Go for a walk. Get out of your house and meet up with friends. Get some fresh air, listen to some music. Make sure you’re continuously reinvigorating yourself.
Get creative. I recently met with a job seeker who was looking for a specific role but not finding success responding to job postings. We brainstormed a couple of creative options to put her more in the driver’s seat. For example, create a target list of companies and reach out directly to relevant managers within those companies with an introduction and invitation to network. Or, consider doing consulting or contract work in your field, which keeps the dollars flowing and allows you to make more connections that could lead you to full time employment.
Keep rejection in perspective. Rejection does not feel good for anyone, ever. Conquer rejection by believing that rejection is simply guiding you to the right opportunity. Rejection happens for a reason and having a mentality that says “this job wasn’t meant to be” is liberating, freeing up your mind to focus forward on other opportunities. The same mentality applies when you’re not hearing back on jobs you’ve applied to or interviews that you’ve been on. It can be frustrating, but channel your frustration to think, “this is just not the right opportunity” and keep moving forward.
Stay busy. Create a schedule that mimics the routine you had when you were employed. Block out time for your job search, then block out other chunks of time for exercise, networking lunches/calls/outreach. Do some reading (try “Get Out of Your Own Head”) or listen to some motivating podcasts (check out this list). Spend time with family. Do some volunteer work (which could also lead to new connections and potential opportunities!). Keep yourself busy and take your mind off your job search from time to time.
Most importantly, remember your self-worth. For many, our careers and our jobs define who we are. Searching for a job is a really personal and often humbling experience. Remind yourself often that your job does not equal your worth as a person. Remember your accomplishments. Make a list or keep a journal of the things you’re most proud of or start a gratitude journal to keep your focus positive. Think about all the ways you add value to others in the many roles you play as a spouse, parent, friend, or family member.
You are not going to stay unemployed forever. You will succeed in your job search, and your success might come when you least expect it. Your hard work, persistence, and discipline will lead you to the right opportunity at the right time and with the right company! You’ve got this!