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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

Common Fears of Every Job Seeker (and How to Deal with Them)

Common Fears of Every Job Seeker (and How to Deal with Them)

Changing jobs can be stressful. Society likes to put a certain pressure on us to find our destiny, which ends up giving us 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 seeker faces a string of common fears when they try to find a new job.

Don’t worry. You decide your own destiny. 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 crumble you or stop you from trying.

Here are 8 common fears that every job seeker tends to struggle with—and how you can deal with them.

1. You’ll Never Hear Back

Every job seeker must put in a fair amount of effort when they apply for a job. If you send out the exact same 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 company, their values and how they align with you and include this in your application.

Taking this initiative is great, but once you’ve send it—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 little beating.

It’s important to remember that their 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.

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Don’t waste your time overthinking what went wrong. It won’t give you a job, only unnecessary worries and doubts.

2. Unsure How to Position Yourself

A good job application needs a good 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.

Start by figuring out why you want that job. Chances are you’re very interested in that specific field, because your skills fit in.

Humans are naturally drawn to things they are good at. Even when we were younger and played sports or a music instrument, we would usually not pursue things that we weren’t good at.

If you’re changing career you might not be the most experienced, but you’ll most likely have something else that drives you to make that jump. This is what sets you apart.

If you’re stuck inside your own head, then ask around. Ask friends, co-workers (or enemies if you’re brave enough). Study yourself and you’ll be able to formulate exactly why you are right for that job.

3. Being Rejected

The only thing scarier than being ignored is being heard, understood, seen, and then rejected. No one likes a rejection.

Our ego is 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.

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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 assure, 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 job seeker you might be looking for 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.

5. Change

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.

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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.

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.

6. Your Past

Social media has changed everything. Including the job market. As a job seeker 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.

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.

If you’re changing career, then you might not know much about the salary. Luckily, you can check out sites like PayScale and Glassdoor to get the insight on what the market is paying at the moment.

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.

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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 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.

Featured photo credit: Marten Bjork via unsplash.com

More by this author

Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

The 80 20 Rule or Pareto Principle, named after the nineteenth-century Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, who discovered that approximately 80% of Italian land in 1896 was owned by 20% of the population, has become a common axiom in business and life.

The principle was highlighted in 1992 by a United Nations Development Program report that showed that roughly 80% of the world’s wealth was in the hands of 20% of the population.[1] Businesses have reported that 80% of their sales come from 20% of their customers and, Microsoft discovered that if they fix the top 20%, most reported bugs they eliminate 80% of the problems in their software.

It seems the Pareto Principle is all around us.

When it comes to our own productivity, the principle can be applied in that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. The trick is to discover what that 20% is so we can apply our most effort to that 20% and eliminate as much of the 80% that does not produce the results we want.

So how do we do that?

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Be Absolutely Clear on What It Is You Want to Achieve

The easiest and most effective way to do this is to be absolutely clear about what it is you are trying to achieve.

What is the outcome you want to achieve? Most people do not get clarity on what it is they want to achieve, and so get sucked into working on things that will not deliver a big contribution to the overall objective.

For example, if you have a project to move house, spending an inordinate amount of time discussing the colour you want to have the walls, what furniture you would like and what plants you will have in the garden will not move you very far towards moving house.

Instead, deciding how many rooms and in what location you would like the house would give you far more important data on which to be able to go to a real estate agent. You are going to find the right house much more quickly than by discussing colours, furniture and items in your garden.

Before you begin any project, make a list of all the tasks involved to take the project to completion and then flag or highlight the tasks that will give you the biggest contribution towards the completion of the project. Those tasks will be the 20% of tasks that will take you 80% of the way towards completing the project. Focus on those.

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What Are Your Majors and Minors?

Jim Rohn coined this question and it essentially means there are parts of the work you do each day that have a direct contribution to the overall objective you are trying to achieve.[2] Other parts of your work do not have a direct contribution to that objective but could be described as housekeeping tasks. The trick is to know what they are.

Brian Tracy often talks about this with the sales process.[3] Major time is when you are in front of the customer talking with them. Minor time is traveling to the customer or being in meetings with your sales manager in the office. Of course, traveling to see your customer or meeting with your sales manager is important, but they do not contribute directly to your sales performance so that would be classed as minor time.

When I was in sales many years ago, I learned that while you might be popular with your sales admin team, if you meticulously write out your sales reports every day, doing so did not improve sales performance. I observed that the best salespeople in our company were the ones who had terrible admin reputations and were not the more popular people in the office. The thing is, they were the best salespeople because they understood that being in front of the customer led to higher sales which ultimately led to higher salaries.

Take a look at your calendar for last week and identify what tasks you did that had the biggest positive impact on your objectives. Then, plan to do more of those next week so you are working on the 20% of tasks you know will take towards achieving 80% of the results you desire.

Stop Thinking, Start Doing

I come across this with a lot of my clients when I am coaching them in developing their own businesses. Far too much time is spent on planning and thinking.

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Now, planning and developing ideas do have their place when you are creating your own business, but there is a line. If you spend 80% of your time thinking and planning, your business is not going to launch.

Take a simple example. When I began my YouTube channel just over three years ago, I spent a week planning what type of videos I would produce and then I began recording. My first video was terrible, but the process of putting out the videos week after week led to my learning better ways of producing videos which fuelled my channel’s growth.

I see far too many people planning and thinking about what they want to do and not producing the content. If you spend 80% of your time producing content and 20% of your time planning out your content, no matter what medium you are producing for, you will see positive results. If you turn that ratio around, you are not going to see much by way of results.

Stop for a moment right now and ask yourself: “What could I do today that will give me 80% of the results I most desire?”

Use Your Calendar to Review How You Spent Your Time

Your calendar is your most powerful analytical tool when it comes to seeing how you spend your time each week. If you see you are spending a lot of your daily time in meetings and dealing with co-worker issues, you will find you are not focused on the 20% where the real results are.

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If you have taken the time to write down the activities that give you 80% of your results, then review your calendar at the end of the week to see where you are spending your time you will be able to make adjustments; so you are more focused on the activities that give you the biggest positive results. Block time each day to work on those tasks.

Try to eliminate those tasks that do not bring in much by way of results. If you can do so, delegate them to other people better able to complete those tasks for you so you can spend more of your time each week on tasks. This will give you a much better return on your time investment.

To really take advantage of the 80:20 principle, you need to be aware of where you are spending your time each day.

If you are a content producer, then you need to be producing content, not wasting time analyzing analytics. Of course, analytics is important if you want to see growth, but without content, you will not have any analytics on which to base your future content. So 80% of your time needs to be spent on producing content.

If you are in sales, if you spend 80% of your time planning out your sales calls and only 20% of your time in front of your customers, your sales performance is not going to be very good. Turn that ration around. Spend 20% of your time planning out your calls and 80% in front of your customers.

Key Takeaways

So to make the 80 20 rule work for you, remember these:

  • Be very clear about what it is you want to achieve. What will a successful outcome look like? Then identify the 20% of action steps that will get you 80% of the way there.
  • What are your majors and minors? What daily activities could you do that will create constant motion towards achieving whatever it is you want to achieve? Do those every day.
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend thinking about doing something and just start doing it. If you are spending 80% of the time thinking and just 20% of your time doing you have the ratio back to front.
  • Identify which action steps you have taken over the last week that had the biggest positive impact on your goals. Do more of them next week. Prioritise them and schedule the time in your calendar.

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Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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