Remaining confident during a period of unemployment is not easy. What can be helpful during this time of uncertainty is to take the time to carefully shift your mindset.
Sounds easier said than done, right? If you’re currently grappling with a career transition, follow these tips to stay confident throughout your job search.
Acknowledge the Situation
Take a second or a few minutes to yourself. Take a deep breath in and breathe out. Acknowledge the magnitude of the situation.
How do you feel? Licensed psychologist Dr. Eliza Belle said some may feel angry, disappointed, scared or worried. However you feel, identify those feelings and own your feelings. Belle said this may help you better engage unique coping strategies while you process through it.
Don’t Personalize the Event
As you acknowledge the situation and process your emotions, Mari Vasan — hypnocoach and certified stress management consultant — said to avoid personalizing the event. This means overthinking the situation, such as fixating on the idea you were laid off because of your personality or your skill sets. It’s equally as important not to generalize the event. For example, don’t beat yourself up by saying “bad things always happen to me.”
Rather, consider this to be one thing which has happened in your life. You can now move forward and discover new possibilities. Perhaps some will be better than what you had before!
“It’s important when going through the process of looking for a new job to recognize that most of the time, change is good,” said Vasan. “A setback is the first step to a comeback.”
Adopt a Curiosity Mindset
Vasan, who coaches clients on job transitions, said the first question she asks clients is how they want the process to be.
When applying for jobs, you do not want to feel as though you need to rush through it or submit applications to anyone and everyone. Take a moment to identify how you want to feel. Maybe you’d like to feel calm and relaxed, curious or supercharged with confidence. Vasan said whatever the primary feelings are you want to feel, make sure to connect with them, and remind yourself several times a day to activate those emotions.
Are you having a hard time figuring out how to feel? Recall a previous moment where you felt truly confident. Vasan recommends stepping into the feeling of confidence: seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard and feeling what you felt. This helps activate neural circuits again in your brain and allows you to feel the feeling of confidence again. Vasan refers to this as the “copy and paste” technique to train your brain to feel this way about the new endeavor.
In addition to confidence, those looking for a new job often benefit from adopting a mindset of curiosity as they apply for and interview with potential employers.
“Instead of asking disempowering questions such as, ‘Will they like me?’ or ‘Will they invite me back?’ one can simply be curious as to whether this is an opportunity they’re interested in,” said Vasan.
Make Job Hunting an Adventure
As mentioned earlier, the best approach for finding a new job during a period of unemployment is not to apply for a bunch of positions you may not want to work simply because they’re available.
Vasan recommends changing the entire job hunt experience by turning it into an adventure. What’s out there? Where can you make a positive impact? Applicants may research whether the opportunities they find are a good fit.
Ask for Feedback
Let’s say you interviewed for a job and did not get it. It is fair for the candidate to reach out to the hiring manager, or employer, to find out why they did not get the position. The feedback you receive is progress.
“An interview which doesn’t lead to a job is still valuable because it provides valuable information. It gets you closer to knowing what you want,” said Vasan.
Vasan recommends candidates measure their daily progress. Focus on the fact you are taking action, through research, applying for jobs which interest you and going on interviews, rather than on the fact you don’t have the dream job yet.
Add ‘Yet’ to the End of Your Sentences
“The word ‘yet’ is powerful,” said Vasan. “If you’re saying anything like, ‘I don’t have a job’ or ‘I haven’t found what I want,’ add ‘yet’ to the end of the sentence to change its meaning. Language matters.”
Be Kind to Yourself
Set aside some time each day to apply for open positions and network, but do not eat, sleep and breathe your job hunt. Belle recommends making time to enjoy life around you, whether it’s with family, friends or hobbies.
“The more you’re able to continue moving through your life despite this setback, the more you’re able to trust the process and approach the new opportunities which will come your way with confidence,” said Belle.
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