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Published on September 4, 2018

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

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Maria Jensen

Specializes in personal and professional development.

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

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