You have decided that today is your first day of job searching.
Now, you are excited – you put together a good cover letter, you fix up your resume, and send it off to good prospective employers — those you like. You anticipate a callback and a job offer.
But days, weeks go by, and no one has called back. You feel down and frustrated, and all the negative emotions rush into you that you decided to give up altogether.
When you let these negative emotions overwhelm you and get the best of you, they get in the way of your path towards a successful job search.
The truth is, keeping a strong mindset is as important as any aspect in a job search.
A good mindset keeps you driven, positive, and realistic. If you go into any job search with a broken mindset, you will risk hurting your chances of getting the job you love and will end up in piled-up negativity and despair. When you do not have the proper mindset to handle such negativity, you will settle for a job that you do not like.
One of the strongest weapons you can have in the sometimes long and frustrating journey of finding the right job for you is not exactly your skills, not your clothes, not even your resume. It is having a healthy job search mindset.
- Why Is the Mindset Necessary?
- 5-Point Job Search Mindset Checklist
- 10 Ways to Condition Your Job Search Mindset
- 5 Positive Affirmations During Your Job Search
Why Is the Mindset Necessary?
The human mind is a powerful thing. Your beliefs, outlook, and perspective can activate the level of potential you want to achieve in your life. Ideas in your mind have the power to project action and these actions inspire motivated results.
Positive thinking is the most powerful energy for creating an ideal path for you. So in achieving the career path you want, conditioning the mind is part of the work.
As human beings, we have evolved to worry about dangers and traps that may eventually hurt us. This is a survival feature that has allowed us to thrive through centuries.
In modern-day living, psychologists call it the “negativity bias.” This is the built-in bias in our brains that wires us to pay more attention to the negative things that are happening around us.
In career paths, for example, people are more primed to focus on the rejections and failures along the way, and most often miss the doors of opportunities that these rejections have opened.
Learning how to rise from every rejection is crucial in searching for a job. You cannot control when and if you will be rejected. At some point, even the best of us will face failures and missed opportunities.
The real success is when you can take those failures into opportunities that will lead you to victory.
So how do you keep your mindset in check? What are the key things to do to maintain a strong and balanced job search mindset? What exercises can you do to affirm the positivity that is already in your mind?
Here are some things you can do to prime your job search mindset:
5-Point Job Search Mindset Checklist
Take time to face the mirror and ask yourself these questions when you are in the midst of a job search journey. Do this before you start applying to companies and periodically during your job search.
1. Are Your Goals Realistic?
Having goals is a crucial part of a job search, but setting up unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to disappointment and frustration. You will get lost and overlook your real purpose.
Having a proper job search mindset means setting reasonable and concrete goals with a realistic timeline to achieve it. Ensure that your goals are manageable and within your reach. Make a job search wishlist.
While it is not wrong to aim for something big, fixating on unrealistic goals will drain all of your energy. If you want to achieve something that you think is big, make small, manageable goals that will lead you closer to your big dream.
2. Is the Situation Controllable?
Focus your energy on your side of the job search.
For example, telling yourself that you have to “get a new job” by the end of the week is not something that you can control. Instead, your mindset should be, I will apply for job openings in five different companies by the end of the week. This action is focused on your part of the search and is achievable by you.
Again, like setting unrealistic goals, focusing on uncontrollable situations will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Frame your mindset on what you can do and not on the reaction of other people.
Stop worrying whether the recruiter will call you back, instead take charge of something that is within your hands like calling up old connections.
3. Are You in the Present?
Do not dwell on the past.
Stop being fixated on the previous rejections or mistakes. These can make you scared to try new opportunities and limit your potential. Instead, condition your job search mindset in the present: what do you have and what you can offer to the table.
It is understandable to get upset and sad over a missed job opportunity, but you have to keep a mindset of moving forward to achieve your goal. If an employer rejected you or did not contact you after your application, you follow up once and if there is still no progress, get up and move on. Work on the next opportunity on your way.
4. Are You Open to Assessment?
They say there is nothing permanent in this world but change. No matter how experienced you are, or how many jobs you have been through in your career, there is always room for learning and improvement.
Always keep your job search mindset open for new learning and innovation. Do not close your doors to new insights from mentors and even colleagues. This arrogance may cost you a really good job opportunity.
Instead, team up with colleagues for new ideas on the industry, reach out to your mentors for support and strategy, and always be open for assessment and learnings.
5. Do You Know Your Value?
To make others believe in your skill and competence, you must first believe in yourself.
When looking for a job, you must be aware of your best qualities, skills, and accomplishments. This is the value you offer to the table. You must be mindful of what you are capable of doing. This will dictate your path in your job search.
Remember that you are talented and skillful and that you are a deserving job candidate for your line of work.
Make a list of what kind of strengths, skills, and experiences have molded you into the professional that you are today. Combine these with traits that are unique to you: how you approach a problem, how you see things, and how you react to opportunities and challenges.
10 Ways to Condition Your Job Search Mindset
1. Surround Yourself With Positive People
Sometimes, while you know in yourself that you have to keep a positive job search mindset, it can be hard to brush away the negativity. This is where your support system can come in.
Whether for job searches or just generally in life, the right mindset can always be boosted by the people you surround yourself with. Keep yourself close to supportive friends, insightful family members, experienced connections, or even for professional help.
Find people who care about your journey and are willing to help you create the best version of yourself.
Not only that, sometimes, in trying to improve yourself, you will have the tendency to be over corrective or more biased on the negativity. Your support group will keep you in check and ground you back to reality.
2. Manage Your Expectations
Among the biggest pitfalls you can set up yourself in is to have unrealistic expectations in your job search. While it is encouraged to dream big and believe in yourself, you have to learn how to assess each situation and manage your expectations accordingly.
Unrealistic expectations usually fall into two categories: those who expect too much and those who desire too little.
Those who expect too much often overestimate their skills and abilities or their luck. Once their high expectations are not met, they tend to spiral down into disappointment and frustration.
On the other hand, those who expect too little often underestimate their capabilities and are crippled with fear of not being worthy and enough. Since their expectations are so low, they often end up with a job that is lower than their worth as an employee.
A person who has a proper job search mindset is someone who can strike a balance between the two.
Take time to really assess each situation and align your expectations accordingly. If at times you are having a hard time setting up realistic expectations for yourself, you can always ask help from friends, family, or people who are outside your situation so they can take an outside look and give you some insights.
3. Know When to Take a Break
Dedication and hard work, indeed, are among the crucial keys to a successful career path. However, so is learning how to take a productive break.
If you intend to work on your job search so hard all the time, you risk getting “burned out” in the process.
Take scheduled days off in looking for a job. Go out with friends on the weekends, take a small trip, pay attention to your body, eat at a good restaurant, spend time doing what you love.
Doing activities that are unrelated to your job search resets and recharges the mind for a more productive work week ahead. It clears your head and helps you make sound judgment and better decisions in your employment hunt.
4. Improve Yourself
The ability to learn is one of the important hallmarks of humankind. This power of learning does not only helps us survive and thrive. It also makes us feel good and empowered about ourselves.
Always remember that no matter how much experience you have or how good you were in school there is always something to learn about.
In keeping a positive job search mindset, there is value in picking up new skills or certifications that related to your field. These improvements need not be grand or big, you can start by learning a new way on how to efficiently do a task, researching new applications on the internet that may level-up your game in your industry, or taking up online courses. Always open yourself up to learning.
5. Avoid Being Overwhelmed by Being Organized
Looking for a new job or career path can be very overwhelming. There are so many requirements needed, so many documents to go through, so things to consider.
However, if you plan enough before you step out in the world, you can get a better grip on everything and help you stay calm.
Physically, it is essential to get everything you typically need for a job search ready and on-hand before you even start applying to companies. Update and have a printed copy of your resume or portfolio if required, think of an interview outfit you already have, and get a hold of identification numbers, cards, or other documents typically asked by employers.
Mentally, organize your thoughts to avoid mental clutter and keep your head straight in the game.
For example, if you plan on applying for multiple companies at the same time, make a rule for yourself that you spend a designated time of day to think about what one company needs, and another time for the other companies. This way, you don’t get the companies mixed up in your head.
It is helpful to put thoughts into writing. Do this by creating a job application calendar, a job search wishlist, or a compilation of company core values.
6. Befriend Rejection
Rejection should not always be the enemy in your job search process. However, it is an inevitable part of the job search experience. Thus, to keep a proper job search mindset, it is vital to frame rejection in a way that can help you improve yourself and not a mere step back that you have to sulk on and hate all the time.
Learn to acknowledge rejection, learn to assess yourself on whether or not the cause of rejection was something you can control, and continuously improve yourself.
It may be hard to see it, but keep it in mind that every rejection is a chance to learn something new and to make yourself stronger, better, and more equipped than ever to take on the job you love.
7. Think Out of the Box
A positive mind is a creative mind. Setting up a positive job search mindset can start by following job search behaviors that are unconventional.
For example, while it is common knowledge that employers ask questions during an interview, why don’t you go ahead and ask some questions to your recruiter, too.
Or if for example most people are used to just listing their job experiences in resumes as bullet points. You may describe your experiences by the skill you have mastered in each one.
Or in an interview, instead of listing down the skills, you have earned, mention a problem point of the company that you can potentially help solve with your unique skills.
There are many ways to think out of the box especially in looking for jobs. Do not be afraid to be different to stand out.
8. Know What You Want
You can do everything right and still end up unhappy and empty if you do not know what you want in your life and your career.
Just accepting a job opening that you do not really like is not a step forward but a step backward in your career. You will only end up feeling miserable and you will lose valuable time you could have used in preparing and applying for a job you like.
Identify the qualities that you want in a job and start listing job openings that match these qualities to make up your job search wishlist so you can apply for them in the future.
Knowing what you genuinely want gives you a mental compass of where you are currently and where you want to go. This way, all your efforts, and small sacrifices will be pointed to achieving what you want in your career.
9. Take Care of Yourself
To feel good on the inside, you must also feel good on the outside. A lot of mental work comes with preparing a proper mindset. But some of it also entails taking care of your physical self.
Self-care is essential in your overall wellness. You must know when to take a step back. Do the things you love the most, exercise regularly, eat good food, meditate and stretch, keep yourself hydrated, get enough sleep, take long walks, fix your hair, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy your morning coffee or tea.
Taking care of your physical self is necessary to keep your spirits up. These small efforts will prime your mind and set the environment for a positive attitude.
10. Know Yourself
You cannot control the things you do not know of. In the same way, you cannot frame your job search mindset into a positive one if you do not know your mind.
Take time to reflect on yourself and ask yourself a few questions:
What things am I most scared about in my career?
- What are my biggest insecurities?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What are my strengths?
- What can give me comfort?
- What can give me anxiety?
- What outcome do I want?
- What outcome should I avoid the most?
By truly knowing yourself, you are better equipped to get a better grip on your behavior. And, you are better prepared for the things that may upset you. This kind of preparedness will help you set a proper mindset for your job search journey.
5 Positive Affirmations During Your Job Search
No matter how sunny your outlook is in life, there are times that things just don’t go your way and this may eat up your optimism.
When this happens, it is important to talk to yourself and be reminded of what you are capable of. Here are some examples of positive affirmations you can say to yourself:
1. When Dealing with Uncertainties, Say: “There is a job out there where I will be wanted, needed and happy”
Situation —You have applied to 5 different companies in a week and did not get a single response
Instead of saying this — “No one likes me and the work I do”.
Say this instead — “Now I know which companies do not fit my style, I will focus on finding the ones that match my skills well”.
2. When Dealing with Failed Plans, Say: “The world is not perfect and that’s okay”
Situation — You got accepted to a company that is smaller than your previous employer.
Instead of saying this — “My career has no growth, it is going downhill”.
Say this instead — “A smaller company means more space to show my style and this will help me grow as a professional and as a person. This may not be my dream company but I can grow to love it”.
3. When Dealing with Competition, Say: “I am strong enough to deal with my insecurities”
Situation — You have a lot of competition in the position you are currently applying for.
Instead of saying this —” They are all better and stronger candidates than me; the odds of me getting the job is little.
Say this instead — “I may have weaknesses, but I know my strengths. I know I can do the job and I have the edge over the candidates. And if they choose another applicant, this will be a great learning experience”.
4. When Dealing with Self-doubt, Say: “I am worthy”
Situation — You just left your job and you are now overwhelmed with the job search process.
Instead of saying this —“I don’t think anyone would want to hire me.
Say this instead — “I know my worth and if I believe in myself enough, I can convince employers that I am worthy of their time”.
5. When Dealing with Rejection, Say: “I am open to learning”
Situation — Your job application just got rejected.
Instead of saying this —” This is the worst feeling ever. It is so hard to bounce back from this”.
Say this instead — “This may feel bad but I will make this a great learning experience. I will assess what my strengths and weaknesses are in the application. Then I’ll use my learnings so I can be better in the next one”.
Going into an employment hunt, one of the most important things to arm yourself with is a conditioned job search mindset. Recognize the power of positive thinking and frame your perspective for an optimal and productive job search.
Frustration and rejection will always be part of the job search process. However, keeping a proper mindset early on will protect you from falling apart and keep you on track to reach your career goals. Always assess your mindset by evaluating yourself before, during, and after the job hunt process.
Also, keep in mind key things that you should do to maintain a conditioned job search mindset. Continuously tell positive affirmations to yourself along the way.