Job Search Obstacles: How the Self Doubt Monster Hurts Your Job Search

CN_Marc_v1_eIn my last article How Long Does It REALLY Take To Find a Job?, I brought up the idea of the “self doubt monster.” Not only does self-doubt make an appearance in interviews, but there are many other important places it might be getting in the way of you finding that terrific new job.

So let’s take a closer look at the different ways this extremely important job search obstacle can undermine even your best intentions – and some things you can do about it!

Where self-doubt creeps in

One place  where self-doubt shows up is obvious: when thinking about and then later during the actual job interview, where we feel so vulnerable under the employer’s microscope. But it can also show up much earlier – and last well beyond the interview phase.

You might not realize just how much power these mere thoughts have when it comes to how you present yourself and even the efforts you put into your search, no matter how many “right” job search steps you take.

Where else it might show up:

  • When you think about whether you should even look for a new job
  • When you think about the kinds of jobs you should apply for
  • When you think about networking and asking people for help
  • When you actually try to connect with people who can help you
  • When you try to write (and rewrite and rewrite again) your resume and cover letters
  • When you decide not to pursue a job you could do because you don’t have EVERY qualification
  • When you think about the things you’d really want to do and dismiss them rather quickly as unimportant or unobtainable
  • When you find yourself delaying each step of your job search … using excuses like “I need to get this perfect” before contacting someone
  • When you begin to question things you decided weeks ago – and then go through the same process to the same result to the same questioning
  • When you see the absence of a good job offer after only a few months as evidence that you will never get a job
  • When you start to view everything about yourself from other people’s eyes – and lose yourself in the process

Does any of that surprise you?

What you can do about it

First know that even the most qualified of candidates can feel self-doubt at some point in their job search. It’s totally normal. And it’s also normal to minimize the value of things we did in the past as the weight of “Will I ever get a job offer again?” takes over in our minds.

But people who succeed know how to separate mere thoughts from truths. They learn to shake off any self-doubts and move forward. Remember these are only thoughts you create … a doubt isn’t anything you can hold in your hand. Don’t give it power!

In the meantime, spend some time thinking about all the things in your life that you have done well. Things you’ve made better. People you’ve made smile. Things you’ve figured out without any help.  Things you’ve learned. Things you’ve helped others learn. People you’ve helped. Projects you’ve completed. Things you’re good at. Even the little things. It all adds up.

Keep going. Make a list of every good thing about yourself that you can think of (even from many years ago), without worrying if it’s important or not. It’s all important since it’s all you. Oh … and keep the list handy any time you forget!

A few final thoughts

I know someone who lost hope that he was ever going to find a new job. He’d gotten to the final round of candidates a few times, but no offer. And he was starting to think it was all about him. But then he got two offers. It was just a matter of the finding right ones. And you can’t control when that happens.

Remember … you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have every single thing the job requires. You just need to be able to use your unique set of abilities to help get things done. And I have NO DOUBT you can do that!

=>  After the Interview: Thank You Note (SAMPLE)


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