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Job Applications Got you Down? Tips and Tricks to Apply for That Role With Confidence

Job Applications Got you Down? Tips and Tricks to Apply for That Role With Confidence

As we all know, applying for jobs is not a very exciting process. It is extremely tedious, stressful, and decreases our daily energy and confidence. It can be mentally and physically draining to not hear back from an employer or feel worthless after reading the requirements.

I can say I’ve been in this boat many times and still am, but I want you to take a deep breath in and release a new you. Today starts the era of a new confident job applicant.

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A few wise people have told me that in order to be successful, you must go above and beyond your comfort zone; those wise people are mom and dad. Yes, my parents are always the ones keeping me motivated when I can’t seem to motivate myself. We all need to hear someone tell us, “you are better than what you are settling for, you can do wonders with your talents, etc, etc.”

So the question is, why are we not pushing ourselves more? When we first type in a job webpage, we initially find ourselves scrolling for hours, looking for something that sounds a bit more on our “level” and also doesn’t seem so intimidating.

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I’ll admit I would skim a very long explanation of the job and requirements, later telling myself I do not qualify. Wait, I do not qualify? Where did I get this idea from? Mom and dad were just telling me to go out of my comfort zone, and that novel was supposed to be my first step.

I later went back to that job description and decided to thoroughly read through every single detail. Once I did this, I still had minor doubts, but I felt that the worst thing that could happen is I don’t get a reply. I won’t know if someone on the other side of the computer is laughing at me thinking how someone with such “low” qualifications could possibly think they are worthy.

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The problem is we overthink. We are scared of putting ourselves out there with the fear of being turned down. This, however, is not a healthy approach. It is important to do whatever it takes to get that energy and motivation back. If it takes blasting 80s rock to get you motivated, do it. if it takes running a half marathon and coming home all energized and ready to apply, do it. if it takes eating a whole pint of ice cream and getting an energy fix, do that too (cookie dough is always a good option). Do whatever it is that gets you feeling confident.

We are all different and all have different ways of raising our energy and confidence. You don’t have to look to others and try to be like them. Of course sympathizing and discussing helps, but be yourself on this journey. Get out of your comfort zone and do something good for yourself.

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The reason I put “level” and “low” in quotations is because we are not unexperienced and we are certainly not on the lowest level. We always have to remind ourselves of our accomplishments, of how far we have come. If you need someone to tell you, then ask them to reassure you, but this is something you have to do for yourself.

Here are a few daily steps in opening your confidence each and every day, as well as some steps to applying with more confidence.

Daily confidence boosters:

  1. Wake up with an intention. Tell yourself “today I will…” (e.g. apply for the best jobs).
  2. Get that pot of coffee, cup of tea, or glass of juice — whatever your preference.
  3. Set up a comfortable space for yourself where you can sit, relax, and apply for jobs
  4. Set aside social media, phones, remotes, and/or any other distractions that can interfere with applying.
  5. Give yourself a little pep talk and encourage yourself.
  6. Have your resume and all other documents properly saved so you can easily find them.
  7. Have a notebook and pen or your online notepad open so you can jot down any names, numbers, emails, etc. that are important to your applications.
  8. Take a breather. Give yourself some time between each application to stretch, eat, drink, go for a walk, etc.
  9. Always set a goal. Tell yourself you will apply for 10 jobs today and do it. Don’t slack. Pretend you are reporting your daily log to someone and need to be accurate in order to receive a gold star for the day.
  10. Last but not least, relax. Don’t get worked up and mess up. Take it easy, do everything slowly, and be attentive to details. This should be a calm process that makes you feel good once you are done.

Well, there they are: 10 steps to boosting confidence and applying like a pro. Don’t forget that you are special, unique, and awesome in your own way. Now, go out there and show the world what it’s missing.

Featured photo credit: Alejandro Escamilla via unsplash.com

More by this author

Nicollete Izakovic

Candidate of International Relations

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common leadership styles and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More About Leadership

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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