This week on the podcast Melissa is sharing how you can approach your job search so it is one that is empowering and even something you enjoy.
Looking for a new job can be overwhelming and draining. Instead, make this one shift and it will become something you may even find fun.
What You’ll Learn
A new approach to the job search process
Why the job search process is overwhelming for your brain
A shift that will will increase your confidence and help you find the best job for you
Featured in This Episode
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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills and psychology to help you get happy.
At work and live the life you want.
If you want to stop feeling stuck and start feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. This week we’re going to talk about something that I have been coaching on a lot lately, and that is how to approach or really a different perspective for how you can think about your job search. Now, it’s super common that when you are even thinking about applying for a new job internally or externally, you have some feelings surface and feelings bubble to the top, maybe even some anxiety. It can feel really vulnerable to put yourself out there. You’re presenting your best self in the terms of your experience and qualifications and hoping that you get a callback. But even deeper than that, there are all of these thoughts and feelings associated with thinking about what the application symbolizes because it symbolizes change, right? Even if you don’t get a callback or interview or get the job, just submitting the application is sending something out to the universe that you’re available and looking for something better. And it can feel like a finalization of a decision. Like you’re deciding you want something else and are open to other opportunities. And that you may be leaving what you’ve known for so long in your current position behind.
Which is why you can have thoughts about whether or not someone else will find out, if someone at work will know, if people will talk, if your boss will know the industry is so well connected that everyone seems to be for sure within six degrees apart from each other, and often less than that. So when you apply for another job, even outside your company, it can feel overwhelming. Then when you don’t get a call back, it can bring up feelings of rejection. Not good enough, even hopelessness, right? Like you spent so much time building up the courage to decide you want something else and actually apply. And then to not get a callback can feel hopeless, like you’re stuck. And even if you wanted to leave, you can’t. Then let’s talk about if you actually interview. You get the call back, you interview, you learn more about the job, you’re excited about it, you might even make it to the finals. Then you get either a we’ve gone with a different candidate template, email, or maybe you just get ghosted. What the heck does that even mean? Things were going so well. Some of my clients that have had this experience is something that sticks with them.
Months or years later, they still wonder what happened. If they did something wrong, they wonder what was missing. And then it can cause some hesitancy to go back in, right? Like to let your guard down to try again, all the while thinking in the back of your mind that what if it happens again or it’s probably not going to work out. It can be kind of disappointing and a downer to go through this process, not to count all of the hours it takes to actually apply and go through the interview process, it can be very draining. So the psychology and emotional toll that the job search process has on a person is so much deeper than the tedious process of filling out the application and repeating everything that is already on your resume. Am I right? And since we operate in the subconscious and all of these experiences are so buried in our brain and guiding our actions and our conscious thoughts, it’s no wonder that so many people struggle with this. It’s no wonder that so many people stay stuck in their careers for so long that they settle for good enough. Because the idea of going through all of this does not sound like something most people would want to do.
You work so hard at your job. You’ve achieved all of this success. Your salary is pretty good, you’re comfortable, and your brain loves that. But you know you want something more in your career to have a role that is actually worthy of your talents and skills. But is it worth it when you have to deal with all of this? The thoughts and feelings, the self doubt, the terrible HR practices, the vulnerability, the what ifs of the actual change that could be happening and there isn’t even a guarantee that you’re going to get the job. It’s a lot. So I want to suggest a different approach, a different take or way of thinking about the job search process that has helped a lot of my clients. And I think it’s going to help you too, if you give it a try. Because you 100% deserve to have a better job, to have one that you love going to and allows you to have the impact that you want to, that gives you energy instead of drains it, that is paying you well. So much so that you have no doubt if you’re underpaid. You know you’re paid fairly for what you do, and your male colleagues aren’t making 50% more 100%.
You deserve this. But if you’ve been listening to me for a while, you know that your brain does not like change. So let’s offer your brain a softer place to land, a more welcoming path to the change that you want to see. Are you ready? All right. Now I want to suggest that you approach your job search like you’re dating. And now hear me out. I talk about the fact that when you’re interviewing, you are interviewing the company or person who posted the position just as much as they’re interviewing you. And I break down how to exactly prepare for your interview, questions to ask and everything on episode 73 how to Prepare for Your Interview but today I want to focus on the preinterview. This is that time between when you’ve decided you’re going to start applying and then that interview process. And so for this period, I want to suggest that you think about this job search process, this period where you decide to apply, like you’re single and ready to mingle. So let’s imagine that you’re on Tinder or whatever the popular dating app would be. I know there are a million for every different niche out there.
I’ve never been on them myself because I just I’ve always met my partners at work, but they’re out there. They’re all the rage. So let’s imagine that you are on a dating app and you’re looking for some prospects similar to how you might be scrolling on LinkedIn or indeed looking to see what jobs are out there. So you’re swiping, swiping, and then, oh, who is this? Oh, my, look at that profile. This is everything you are looking for. Okay, so you’re checking out the qualifications, and there are some gaps, but you’re willing to go for it. It might be true job love after all, and you won’t know unless you give it a chance. So you send a note to the profile similar to applying for the job, and you’re saying, hey, I’m interested. Check me out. You want to talk. Maybe you wouldn’t say that, but it’s generally the vibe of it, right? You’re expressing interest, saying you want to talk, want to connect. Is this a mutual thing? And now the ball is in their court. So if you applied it’s with the company to reach out to you, if you’re on the dating app, it’s up to them to get back to you.
And let’s say that you don’t hear anything back on the dating app, what would you do? Now, what we do from a job search perspective is when we get really excited, we kind of go all in, right? When we apply to a job and we don’t hear anything back, we can make it mean that we weren’t good enough, that we did something wrong, there was something wrong with our resume and feel defeated. And oftentimes we’ll just stop applying to jobs and just decide that it isn’t meant to be. And you might as well stay stuck where you are because you’re either worried it won’t work out anyway or you’re worried that somehow others will know you applied to multiple jobs and they’re going to think badly of you. Okay, but let’s put this into a dating context. If you had that response in the dating app world, that is the equivalent of one being like, but I was ready to marry you. Oh, my gosh, I’m going to be on forever. Clearly, I need to just stay single. Or you might be like, well, I can’t try with anyone else because I don’t want to look like a hussy.
Wait, is hussey something people say, I don’t know, I feel like with the word that just came to mind from way back or something. But you know what I mean. In the dating world, I’m guessing you wouldn’t react that way, right? It wouldn’t be this big, strong reaction of like, either I’m just going to give up, or I was ready to go all in and Why don’t you want to marry me? Because you’re just getting information. You’re just checking things out, right? You’re just taking it one little baby step forward. You’d probably be like, well, guess they weren’t that into me. Wonder why. Oh, well, not worth my time. And keep going, right? And just that introductory phase, because that’s all you’re doing when you’re applying is you’re offering a resume. You’re offering not even who you are. You’re offering what you’re representing in a piece of paper and online form and saying, hey, I’d like to be considered, which is just like swiping on those dating apps. So let’s take it a step further. Let’s say you send that note on the dating app, aka submit your application, and the person does get back to you, and they reply and they say, hey, it’s nice to meet you.
Want to go out for coffee sometime? Okay, so things are heating up. Okay, let’s liken this to that first screen interview for the job that you applied for. Are you following me? So you go on the States now, how we approach interviews is we try to be perfect, right? We say all the right things. We worry about our presence, our tone, our look, our backgrounds on zoom. We want to give the best impression, so much so that we don’t even consider that this is someone we are also potentially making a commitment to in the dating world. If you went and got coffee, sure, you would put your best foot forward, but you would be assessing them too, right? Yes. You would want them to think you’re great. You’d want them to like you. But you know that you’re ultimately in the driver’s seat. You are the one deciding if you want to go on another date. You’re deciding if they meet your criteria for a good partner. It’s not just about them. It’s about you too. And you want someone to like you for you, so you want to be yourself. Otherwise, what happens? You get into a relationship with someone that loves you for who you are pretending to be, and in the long run, you’re going to be miserable.
And it’s the same with jobs. You want the job where the people want you as much, if not more than you want them. They see your value, and they’re excited to have you be a part of the team, not a job that you have to pretend or be perfect like a robot, regurgitating everything everyone else wants to hear from you. So what if you thought of your job search this way that you’re dating, if they don’t get back to you, you move on. Because when you swipe once, you aren’t actually already shopping for your wedding attire, okay, you haven’t booked the venue. So you don’t just apply to the one thing and then hope it works out. And if you go on a date, if you have an interview, you’re looking for a match for you too. You know the right person, aka job is out there for you. You know your worth. You know what you bring to the table, and you’re confident that the best place or person for you will see that they won’t have to be convinced endlessly or need some perfect show. And then what happens when you see some red flags?
Let’s say you’re interviewing and some red flags come up. How would you approach it if you looked at it like an equal dating situation? Because I can tell you that in a job search situation, people ignore the red flags. They will question themselves. They will think that they misunderstood. They will choose the exit plan that gets them out, and hope those things like the boss that gave bad energy or the stakeholder that was aloof and didn’t answer questions, it was just a bad day. But if this is someone you’re moving in with that you’re making a commitment to, you wouldn’t likely do that. You’d probably talk about it, bring up the issues, or just stop dating the person. Now, I have a client who found what appeared to be her dream job, like one of those needle in a haystack positions, and she applied, had a couple of virtual interviews that went amazing. And I was coaching her through this process. So she knew that she was advocating for herself, presenting herself in the best way, but also looking to see that this was a good match for her as well. She was then offered to come on site for the next round of interviews, and she interviewed with multiple people.
And this was for a pretty senior level leadership position. She was prepared with the things that she wanted to know. Because, again, this isn’t about generic interview questions you pull from the Internet. You want to be able to know what questions to ask that are going to give you meaningful responses and tell you if this is a good fit for you. This is what I help my clients do. So she was following this strategy. You just think about it again in the dating context. If you’re trying to get to know someone, you wouldn’t Google what questions to ask on a first date. You would have your own criteria. It’s so important. Those questions on Google are so generic and don’t get you what you need to know. They get you generic responses that don’t show the real red flags a company or boss may have. And you want to know this before you make the commitment to change jobs just like with the commitment in a relationship, you want to know what you’re really signing up for. So as she was interviewing, some red flags came up. The question she asked showed that the leadership was avoiding some of the key things that were important to her.
She also, through her questioning, was able to discern that the leader was a micromanager and may have had a hard time letting go to let her in to do the job that she was applying for. And so she was able to kind of proactively see how that might be a problem and how she would manage that. And a few other things came up that kind of grounded her. So she was like, okay, this may be my best job right now that I’m seeing is available, but I have more questions and I know what I want to look for. And so she’s waiting now for the final round of interviews to start and she’s prepared with what to do to figure out if that really was just like a bad day because there were some things going on that were distracting. While she was interviewing with the company that she was interviewing for, they were having some issues and so she’s not sure if it was just that or if it’s actually a real problem. But now she knows what to do to handle that, to see if it’s something she wants to move forward with.
So when you think about applying for jobs, consider thinking about it as a relationship because it does have a lot of the same emotions and psychology behind it. In the beginning of this episode, I talked about the selfdoubt, the vulnerability, the overthinking that can come into the job search and application process. And this is also true in relationships. But with jobs, we tend to give the employer the control over us. We let them tell us if we are good enough and we wait for them to give us validation that we are. But what if instead you’re the one in control, you’re the one selecting, you’re the one deciding if you want to go on another date. You’re the one deciding if you want to hold out or not. You’re the one that is going to keep applying and going toward what you want and finding the best fit for you. When someone goes to you, you can decide what to do about it. In the job search process, you can reach out and ask for feedback on LinkedIn, on an email. You can ask what happened, if there’s any feedback that they can provide. Or you can decide that it’s not worth your time.
But you don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t see how incredible you are. So don’t give them another thought. Sure, maybe you would have liked that job, but that is outside looking in. When you’re interviewing, it’s like you’re looking at a profile someone put up on their dating site or a social media highlight feed. Just like people don’t share or talk about their real struggles or what goes on behind closed doors or what they’re doing when no one is looking. Companies don’t share what they have an issue with. They don’t share that they just had a contamination, that their employees are all looking for their jobs, that they have a management problem. They are showing you their highlight feed and when you’re interviewing, that is all that you’re seeing. So when you beat yourself up or wonder what happened when you didn’t get the job, that’s because you’re disappointed that you didn’t get what you had built up as the best case scenario with only the highlights. Like that dream person in your life. And when you feel like you were rejected from that, it brings up all of this doubt and disappointment, wondering if it’s you.
But that is not a fair comparison because that isn’t reality. If they just aren’t that into you, take it as a gift and say bye. Keep going after what you want, knowing it was their loss because you are off to bigger and better things. You are going to find your match and maybe those will see what they missed out on when they see that you found your match. When you update your job on LinkedIn and they’ll be like Dang, she looks happy now. Alright then. I hope you enjoyed this episode and it gave you a new take on how to think about your job search. I love you all and I will talk to you next week.
Coaching with me is the best way.
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And achieve your career and life goals. Getting started is easy. Head over to www.melissamlawrence.com to learn more and apply. It is the first step to get you from feeling stuck to knowing exactly what you want and have the tools to make it a reality. I will be by your side the entire way.