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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.

Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track 4 Simple Steps to Start Living a Positive Life Common Fears of Every Job Seeker (and How to Deal with Them) Do You Have a Fear of Disappointing Others? How to Conquer It for Good How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others & Celebrate Your Uniqueness

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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