Let’s be honest, job hunting is daunting and remaining positive and confident may seem impossible at times. While job hunting all our resources and strengths are put to the test. Our competencies are tested through CV screenings and interviews; our self-confidence is tested by the rejections we receive; and the stress of preparing application after application without losing focus is real. Job searching is like a marathon: you win it on the long distance. But, truth to be said, many lose the run before they even start. So what should you do to approach the job search with the right attitude?
Fight the ‘impostor syndrome’
The reason why some people lose the marathon is because they decide not to run it all together. What happens is that some people simply decide not to apply for a job if they do not fully respond to all criteria listed in a vacancy. And if sometimes this is the result of a careful assessment of the vacancy and your own skills and expertise; most of the times this is just the ‘impostor syndrome’ kicking in and your inner voice telling you that your are not qualified enough.
Let’s get things straight, a vacancy notice is a list of criteria aimed at describing the ‘perfect person’ for the position. But the perfect person simply does not exist. Companies and organisations rightly list what they believe are qualities, skills and competencies which are required for a job, but they are absolutely aware that a person that gathers all those qualities is very rare if not impossible to find. Also, during the recruitment process attention is put in identifying a person that can grow in the position and that can bring an added value to the organisation. So, ask yourself: even if I do not match all the criteria in the vacancy, can I do the job? If the answer is YES, then apply! If the answer is no, ask yourself: could I quickly learn how to do the job? And if the answer is YES, apply!
Describe yourself at your best
When preparing the application, describe yourself at your best! In your CV, stop listing your tasks – everybody can organise an event – but say something about your achievements. What did you accomplish in your previous work places? Did you increase the number of attendees to an event? Did you develop a new strategy? Did you make something work smoother and increased efficiency? Focus on what you can bring to the organisation. Do not downplay your accomplishments just because you want to appear modest, be honest and say things as they are. If you are great (and you are great!), be great!
When you prepare the cover/motivation letter, say something meaningful. Don’t limit yourself to summarise your CV in a narrative format. Say something else. Talk about your motivation and why you want to work for that organisation. Talk about what you could bring to the table and how you could contribute to the vision and mission or the team dynamics. Focus on one or two of your strong points that you believe are the most important for the position and expand on them. And, write something that is tailored to the job you are applying for. Trust me when I tell you that copy-and-paste are spotted immediately.
What’s your brand?
The job interview is maybe the most stressful part of any application process. As much as you prepare, an unexpected question can always come up and throw your rehearsal and preparation out of the window. So, what to do during a job interview? First of all, do everything in your power to reduce your stress at the minimum prior to the interview so that your mind isn’t clouded and you can react promptly to the various questions. You may want to consider going for a run or doing some physical exercise before the interview, if your stress manifests as an excess of energy. Or you may do some confidence-building meditation if your stress causes you to under perform.
But the most important advice I can give is to ‘pick your brand’. Who do you want to be during that interview? What skills do you want to present to the panel? What strengths do you want to put forward? Decide who you want to be and commit to it. The words will follow. And, of course, whoever you decide to be for that interview, be confident in yourself, your skills and your experience. If you believe in yourself, everyone who listens will believe in you.