How To Approach Your Job Search With Confidence

Victoria Canham, Forbes Council Member

It will come as no surprise that the job market and, therefore, the search, has changed as a result of the Covid-19 global crisis. More people are seeking new roles due to layoffs or a change of priorities caused by the pandemic or the economic impact thereof. It is no longer enough to just send in the same old resume to countless firms in the hope that someone will bite and hire you. No, in this new world, it is critical that you stand out from the crowd and highlight your uniqueness and value.

Anyone could find themselves in the market for a new job. In 2019, if someone had told you that restaurants and hairdressers would close for months at a time in 2020 you would’ve thought they were crazy because it seemed so impossible, yet here we are, a year down the line and many fabulous restaurants have closed permanently, thrusting thousands of people unexpectedly into the job market. The same goes for airlines, travel companies and many other industries.

The new market requires assertiveness, self-confidence resilience and self-selling in a way many of us are not familiar with because we have never experienced it in our industries before. Let’s look at what you can do now to build your confidence and get noticed:

Manage your inner critic.

To build confidence around the job search, you must first tackle your inner critic. We all have it, that niggling voice inside that tells us we can’t do something or that we are not good enough. But let me tell you something: Your inner critic is wrong about you. Both you and your skills are required and are of use in this current market. Some of us are better than others at silencing that mean voice in our heads, but with practice and consistency, we all can turn the volume and frequency down.

For the most part, that inner critic exists to keep you safe and out of harm’s way, but, to your brain, all change can come across as harmful and painful, so it tries to talk you out of change and keep you where you are. You need to manage your inner critic if you are to convince a hiring manager of your suitability for the role. Here are some tips for doing just that:

1. Separate yourself from the state of the market and the economy — you are not a job loss and you cannot control an unprecedented market.

2. Focus on the things that are within your control, such as networking. There is no point in worrying about things you cannot change.

3. If things don’t go your way the first time, you may need to adjust your plan and come back with a new approach. Don’t give up.

4.Try not to dwell on the past, but if you must, only focus on the good experiences as evidence of your achievements.

5. Don’t take other people’s judgment onboard — no one else gets to decide what you are capable of or what you can achieve. 

Support your application with your transferable skills.

Transferable skills are those skills that we learn along the way that can be applied to a multitude of different roles, industries and situations. For example, if you have grown your Instagram following to 10,000 followers organically, this skill is a hugely valuable marketing skill that is also beneficial in sales or public relations roles, even if it is not a specific skill listed in the job description. Hiring managers do pay attention to additional skills, and they can set you head and shoulders above the next best candidate.

Don’t take your skills for granted; you no doubt have a whole portfolio of skills that combine to make you unique and a completely different candidate compared to someone with similar qualifications. Even your hobbies and your interests can combine to make you the ideal candidate. Market your skills effectively by showing your potential employer that your excellent proofreading skills translate into a flawless resume or your copywriting skills sell you in your beautiful, captivating cover letter.

Get social on social networks.

Make your social media, especially LinkedIn, work for you. The idea of social networks is to be social and network with people on the sites. If you don’t share, your network may not know you are available and looking for a new role and thus may not refer you for opportunities.

I recommend creating what I call an “attention-grabbing post,” in which you make people within your network aware of your current situation, what you are looking for and what your area of brilliance is. These posts are designed to promote engagement with your network and, by extension, their networks.

Here’s an example: “I currently have capacity. I am looking to join a B-Corp to support their sustainability programs by utilizing and implementing my five years of experience in solar energy. I am already having some great conversations, but if you come across anything relevant, please do let me know.”

Reach out directly to people that you know and recruiters on the platform. Make sure your headline is updated to reflect what you do and how you help, e.g., “Helping B-Corps to improve sustainability scores through solar energy solutions.”

Confidence is not something we are born with; in fact, it is more like a muscle that grows and strengthens as we work on it. It is a daily practice that requires you to actively shift your thinking into action. You have to take responsibility for building your confidence. How we show up today creates our legacy for tomorrow.

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