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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 March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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