Yesterday I was at home, Netflixing a television show I’ve come to love, and I heard this bit of advice, “Life will knock you down more times than you will ever image, so you can’t knock yourself down.” It came when a high school junior didn’t want to attend college interviews because she felt she always ruined her good opportunities. What seemed at first like depressing reality ended up being motivating wisdom. If you don’t believe you can do something, or succeed at something, why would anyone else believe you could?
This ties in to job search and any other career struggles we may face. If you don’t believe you’re the best person for the job, is that same feeling becoming apparent to your boss or the hiring manager conducting the interview?
With all of the troubles life throws at you, don’t have your own negative self-talk be another obstacle. Success comes from trying. You can’t fail if you don’t try, and sometimes the greatest successes come after what seems like the biggest failures. I could share the countless times I’ve felt like I completely messed up in my career- some experiences ranged from being too young to understand professionalism with proper communication, and some have just been downright embarrassing- and although it might make some of you laugh, it would detract from my overall message. The point is it was during those points that I really began to shape who I was. We have the freedom to make choices; in how we act, what we say, how we treat others- and those choices influence our opportunities.
Routine means both a regular schedule and unsurprising, predictable, and monotonous. If everything always runs smoothly, there will never be a reason to change or analyze your actions. How we recover and progress forward from the obstacles in our lives, professional or otherwise, will shape the course for the rest of our lives. That is why when you’re job searching, it is most advantageous to keep a routine, but vary the ways you job search every day. If while you were working, you woke up at 8AM every day, continue to wake up at 8AM every day. If you went for a run every other day at 2PM, keep doing that. During your job search hours, switch the activities. Perhaps one day you can complete applications, and another you can work on your resume. You could take a free workshop on interviewing techniques at a local job center, and later on attend an industry networking event. Maybe every Friday you attend a job search club as well. Keep a routine, but don’t make your job search routine. You have to vary the ways you market yourself to get results, and part of that comes from trying new things, getting out of your comfort zone a bit, and not being afraid to fail.
If networking in person or writing an email to someone you’ve yet to meet gives you some anxiety, then meet with a career advisor or research best practices so you don’t try to “go in cold.” Education is one of the biggest ways to gain confidence because the more you know about a topic, the more comfortable it is to approach that topic. If you’ve had a bad experience at a potential networking opportunity, remember that we consider an experience “embarrassing” when we think we are not meeting our own standards of what is acceptable. There’s no need to over-apologize for embarrassing moments, but try to learn from it or laugh about it. We are our harshest critics.
It’s okay to be afraid, and you have to put yourself out there to get noticed. Just don’t let the fear of something going wrong stop you from doing anything you want to do. Things will go wrong. Something always does. The question is, will a failure set you back from progress, or will you keep trying? Success is temporary, but it makes all the struggles in between worth it.