Job search fear. It’s more common than people think. Someone I know has been wanting to look for a job for years. But the mere thought of trying raises fears of all she is lacking. And how badly it would probably go. (Spoiler alert: She was wrong — despite all her strong doubts and fears.)
Over the years she’s actually convinced herself it’s not even worth trying. And so she just makes the best out of a job she’s long outgrown — one that doesn’t appreciate her anymore.
But fear lurks within all of us — especially when it comes to change. And it’s great at creating all kinds of reasons to just let things stay as they are. Here are just a few of the less-than-helpful thoughts that began circling for her:
- She’s too old.
- Too few up-to-date skills.
- How can she compete with people more skilled than she is?
- Why would anyone want to hire her anyway?
Soo let’s look at job search fears
- Age – For some jobs age may very well be a deal breaker. But many employers still look for experience and good old seasoning. You just need to help them see that you also have kept up with skills. And are more than ready to learn new ways when needed.
- Skills – Especially in this tech-heavy era, keeping up with your skills is critical. Even a quick brush-up before an interview (with the help of online resources) can go far to help them see you working successfully in the new job.
- Level of competence – It’s tempting to judge yourself against the unknown competitors out there. But what you can’t know is how heavily a potential employer weighs certain skills over others, including what’s know as soft skills.
- What employers want – Again, you have no way of knowing exactly what an employer is thinking or looking for. Often, it has to do with finding someone who can not only handle the job skills, but also fit well with the company culture and employees. So bringing your real, best self to the interview is your biggest ally. (Some tips in posts linked below to help.)
Coaching tips for job search fear
Although I didn’t want to offer help that wasn’t wanted, my friend came to me for a pre-interview pep talk. And after hearing her concerns, I offered suggestions — and encouragement — based on the following:
- Focus on what you bring, not what’s lacking.
- Make a list of strengths and accomplishments from any part of your life. (Remember that person is still inside, no matter what you’re feeling. Or telling yourself now.)
- Read that list a few times a day. And then think about where / how you might apply (transfer) any of those skills to the new job. Your goal in an interview is to help them see that. But first you have to believe it too!
- Stop thinking about what you don’t have. And can’t do. Employers might surprise you with what they see in you — if you let them.
- Listen and answer based on ways you might contribute to the company (use stories where possible as examples) — and let go of what you might be lacking!
- Just be yourself when you interview. You might be surprised how well being authentic plays. Too many people try to game the interview. And it shows. But real people are what they are looking for — assuming enough of a fit otherwise.
And now the happy ending:
We talked. She interviewed.
And though she still wasn’t sure …
she got the job offer!
More posts to help