Changing jobs can be time-consuming and very stressful. Society likes to put a certain pressure on us to find our destiny which is compounded even further by our own individual expectations and measures of success and can lead to anxiety. What if we’re not doing what we’re supposed to with our life? Have we missed our destiny then? And how do we leave our wrong “destiny” behind, so we can go find the perfect job?
Every job hunter I speak to (and at all levels within their careers) face a series of common fears when they try to find and land a new job.
Don’t stress. YOU decide your own destiny and no one else. Even if you don’t get your so-called dream job, you’ll still be able to live happily ever after, but this doesn’t mean that you should let the fear break you or stop you from trying.
Here are 8 common fears that every jobseeker tends to struggle with—and strategies for how you can deal with them.
1. You’ll Never Hear Back Regarding Applications You’ve Submitted
Every jobseeker must put in a fair amount of effort when they launch their job search strategies. If you send out the exact same resume and cover letter to every position you apply for, then you know you’ll most likely not hear back. Therefore, it’s important that you take some time to get to know the job requirements and the company, their values and how they align with you and include this in your application.
Taking this initiative is great, but once you’ve hit the submit button—anxiety creeps in on you. What if you don’t hear back from them? What if your resume just disappears into a black hole? Was it all for nothing?
Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to get any guarantee. You might not hear back from them. This can be discouraging. Especially, if you’ve applied for several jobs, and you haven’t heard back from any of them. Your self-esteem might take a hit.
It’s important to remember that silence doesn’t have anything to do with your future. Accept the fact that someone out there might be better for this position than you, but at the same time, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be the perfect fit for the next job you apply for.
You should fully commit to every job application, but once you’re done, then it’s time to let go and focus on the next application. You can always go back later and possibly identify some flaws you’ll improve for the future, but don’t get stuck.
Don’t waste your time overthinking what went wrong. It won’t give you a job, only unnecessary worries and doubts.
Takeaway: Don’t make the mistake of just applying for advertised roles. 𝐎𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝟐-𝟒% 𝐨𝐟 𝐣𝐨𝐛𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐛𝐨𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬, 𝐲𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞. You need a variety of strategies in your job search toolbox: https://www.totalresumes.com.au/career-resources/
Also, follow up wherever possible. If you have the contact details for the recruiter or hiring manager looking after the jobs you’re applying for try to build a relationship BEFORE you apply for jobs and reach out afterwards. This is a crucial step to your success!
2. Unsure How to Position Yourself in a Crowded Marketplace
A good job application needs a quality resume and cover letter, but what if you have trouble identifying exactly what you bring to the table? It can be difficult to market yourself.
It can set you off. It might make you reconsider even applying for a particular job, simply because you have no idea how to position yourself.
There are many aspects to developing your personal brand. How you do this will influence your daily leadership decisions and career management plans.
Most leaders are not mindful of how they manage their personal brands and lose career momentum, focus and impact along the way. Managing your brand means knowing how to make decisions that strengthen your leadership skills, capabilities and influence. Thus, enabling you to effectively lead others, build your career path and shape the legacy you will be leaving behind.
At work and throughout their careers, leaders are faced with a multitude of unforeseen situations. If you are leading in ways that come naturally to you, and making decisions before circumstances force your hand, you’ll allow your personal brand to organically evolve, grow and flourish. This means that you are proactively managing your brand, rather than allowing those around you to define who you are and what you stand for as a leader.
In my work, I find many leaders lose focus and find themselves juggling problems rather than delivering solutions. Read my career brand series here:
3. Being Rejected by Prospective Employers & Recruiters
The only thing scarier than being ignored is being heard, understood, seen, and then rejected. No one likes rejection!
Our egos are fragile. It’s never fun to be rejected. Especially, if it’s something you really want. When it comes to a job, you’re not only being rejected; they’re crushing your dream.
Fear of rejection is universal. Unfortunately, it’s unavoidable. You might be rejected, but remember that if you never try, then you’re also failing. If you don’t apply, then you’re throwing away your own job application.
If you don’t play, you’ll never win. And if you don’t even try to go for the job, then rest assured, you’ll never ever get it.
In the end, rejection is not as scary as we make it out to be. Often, we learn from it, and even if we don’t, then it’s still just a rejection.
You’ll still fall asleep in your own bed tonight, and you’ll still wake up tomorrow.
4. You Won’t Be Able to Do the Job
As a jobseeker you might be looking for a complete career change, or you might want to move up the ladder. Either way, the idea of a new job can seem scary. New things will be expected of you. Everything will change, but are you up for it? Can you even do it?
It’s normal to get scared of the unknown. Naturally, we want to do good and be good. The thought about going into a new territory can keep you up at night.
Remember, you’ve (hopefully) given this job more than just a quick thought. It might be new, but you came to the conclusion that you could fit in there. So, don’t sell yourself short.
One thing I encourage my clients to do ahead of an interview is to remind themselves just how much value they bring, by rereading the CVs I’ve developed for them. My resumes are brand-driven and achievement-focused and always provide that much-needed boost of confidence that will squash any negative self-talk.
If you’ve had a job in the past that didn’t exactly make you heart beat faster, or make you jump out of bed in the morning, or maybe you straight up hated it, then it might seem a bit scary to get back into a new job.
Or maybe you’ve been living a more laid-back life (also called unemployed), and you’re afraid of jumping into a routine again. After all, humans are creatures of habit.
It’s normal to be afraid of the unknown. There’s a reason why humans stay in the same pattern for years, even though they’re unhappy and aware of it. We get in our “comfort zone” and find many reasons for why we can’t leave a toxic workplace, horrible boss or failing organisation.
Change is scary, but it’s also one of the most rewarding things in life. Ask yourself what’s on the other side of fear, because normally, there isn’t anything there. Acknowledge your fear of the unknown and then move forward with vigour.
6. Your Past Will Come Back to Bite You
𝐃𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝟗 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝟏𝟎 𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐮𝐩 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞? 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦!
Social media has changed everything. Including the job market. As a jobseeker, you make yourself vulnerable. When you go into an interview you know they had the ability to Google you and find you on any social media. If they really went digging, then they might even have found you on someone else’s social media.
The choices we made in the past might not define us, but they’re going to stay with us in most cases. If you’ve done anything that could affect your potential job, then there’s a good chance they’ll know about it, but you can’t let it stop you.
Be honest and get in front of it. Think thoroughly about what you put out, even if you’re at a position now where no one cares or will notice.
Note: The absence of information about you online can be just as damaging as negative information. So, manage your online reputation carefully!
⇨ Remember, you don’t have full control of your online reputation. It’s determined by what you post, but also what others post about you.
⇨ Consider the “Golden Rule” of social media: If you don’t want your mum (or grandmother, or sister) to see it, don’t post it.
⇨ Digital dirt can live forever. Once something is posted online, it’s hard to erase it entirely. So think twice, and post once!
Takeaway: Improve your online reputation by removing or correcting wrong information and by posting new content to bury the unfavourable information.
7. Not Getting the Salary You Want
A dream job is about more than money, otherwise, it wouldn’t be a dream job. But let’s face it, money is still in the back of most people’s heads. Money might not be everything, but it does pay the mortgage, your food and allows freedom.
Or if you’re not good with negotiations you might be fearful of the salary talks. Do some research and go in prepared and confident. Remember to always aim for the higher end of your salary target. This way you’ll be able to seem negotiable without actually losing.
8. Asking for Help
If you’re unemployed, or interested in climbing the ladder, then networking is as essential as it’s scary. It can be very hard to ask for help, especially if you’re currently in a bad place where you don’t feel your best.
It might not be the easiest thing, but asking for help can be a game-changer. When you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to use the contacts you have. Ask for a way in, if you have one.
People usually don’t mind helping, but it also comes down to your relationships and how you’ve behaved in the past.
You should always help people when you can. Connect two people that could benefit each other or give out a reference.
Even if the favour will never be returned, there’s never any harm in helping out others, and if the day comes where you’ll be the one in need of some help, then chances are there is a long list of people who are willing to stick out their neck for you.
In the meantime, try not to overthink, and enjoy whatever situation you’re in. Whether you’re unemployed, or simply looking for a change, you can still enjoy your time without worrying about the job hunt every minute of the day.
Everything is temporary, so both the bad and the good will pass. Focus on what you want, and do what you have to do to get there, but don’t lose your head in the game.