20 Feb Why Optimistic Job Seekers Do Better (And How to Become One)
There are two ways to look at life, your job search and the inevitable interviewing rejection each job seeker incurs.
The first is to imagine the worst and be prone to depression when you encounter each roadblock. The second is to look at interviewing rejection as a temporary setback and leverage that disappointment into action rather than stagnation.
It should come as no surprise which thought process is more beneficial. Job seekers who think positively will interview more effectively, receive higher salaries and enjoy more career options. (Click here to tweet this idea.) During their job search, optimists know that rejection will happen, but they also believe that rejection is one step closer to a successful outcome.
Conversely, pessimists can crumble at even the most minor setback. They expect the worst; worry is rampant in their lives. Their stress is consistently high, and their pay is much less robust. At the same time, their expectations, self-confidence and subsequent performance remain low.
Luckily, your thought process and fortunes can change. It just takes some practice.
Change the Way You Think, Change the Way You Interview
The first route to finding a better job with higher pay and surviving an arduous job search is to change your frame of mind and begin to think more positively. While it’s easier said than done, here are some steps to help you do so:
1. Check Your Worrying
Pessimists often worry about everything and anything they can. When they have a productive interview, they feel it’s a fluke. When they receive a job offer, they worry the position will be given to someone else.
But for any job seeker, worrying does absolutely no good. It lowers your focus in interviews, erodes your ability to negotiate salary and makes your overall job search unpleasant.
One of the best ways to stop worrying and begin thinking positively about your job search is to practice the following exercise:
Catch yourself worrying, and ask yourself whether your time could be spent productively somewhere else.
Write down all the times you’ve worried about this particular outcome and determine when, if ever, the outcome you were concerned about ever came true.
Have contingency plans. Write down a list of solutions and actions you could take if what you’re worrying about becomes reality. This will mitigate your concerns. For example: If I don’t get the job offer from company X, I’ll apply to _______, _______ and _______ firms.
2. Learn to Be Self-Reliant
Emotional dependency comes out of our need to be right and to get approval. Often, we look to interviewers and recruiters to validate our worth, which is a very poor habit.
Instead, it’s important to learn that only you are in charge of your feelings and actions. Begin to trust your intuition and stop fearing fault or being incorrect. Risk rejection.
When you’re a self-reliant job seeker, you’re willing to take chances and speak your mind. If you’re dependent on other people’s thoughts and actions, your performance and career will be a fraction of what it could be.
Here’s how you can train yourself to be more more self-reliant in your job search:
Know where you want to go in life. When you begin to achieve goals on your own, your confidence rises and you learn to trust yourself.
Take a few minutes and reflect upon the successes you’ve had so far. Often, we think about our failures and overlook all of the positives we’ve achieved.
Expect to obtain your goal. Visualize your success, and have faith that if you do the work you’re supposed to, things will fall into place.
3. View Rejection in a Different Light
We are emotional creatures, and rejection is never easy. However, when we’re rejected by a company, we tend to think the worst. Negative thinking drains our energy, creativity and focus.
Running an executive search firm, I can tell you there are a myriad of reasons why a firm might not hire someone. Often, it’s not personal. Here is how our recruiters recommend job seekers learn to view job search rejection:
Realize that the person who didn’t hire you isn’t necessarily correct in their judgement. Bad hires happen every day.
Make corrections. Life is about making corrections and learning from your mistakes.
Take action and keep busy. When you start to get down, it’s imperative you begin an activity that will put your focus elsewhere.
For more on learning to change your view on setbacks and disappointments, see this video:
It’s Not Too Late
Regardless of how many rejections, poor interviews or failures you may have had, begin to adjust your mental picture during the interview process. There is no job seeker too senior or too junior to change their thought process.
Running an executive recruiting firm, I can vouch that it’s a lot more lucrative to think “glass half full.” So, you might as well learn how to do so.
Do you consider yourself an optimistic or a pessimistic job seeker? How could you improve your thought process?