They say the average job search last about 9 months or longer these days. That’s a long time to be pounding the pavement, receiving rejection after rejection. No wonder people start to feel things like depression, anger, frustration, anxiety, lack of confidence, and any other negative emotion you can name. The problem with this is these things tend to bleed out all over the place in an interview. We do our best to hide it with the right body language, killer answers to questions, dressing the part, but somehow it seeps out when we least expect it. Wow, sounds like we’re doomed, right? Well, no we’re not. We just have to learn to fake ‘til we make it.
How, you ask? We have to learn to dig a little deeper than just practicing the right body language. Sure we need to know this stuff, but the gold is learning how to turn the volume down on the negativity and jack up the volume on the positivity. Easier said than done, I know, but remember we’re faking it ‘til we make it. And I really do know – I was “the unemployed Employment Counsellor” for almost two years! And after a long job search and rejection after rejection, you bet I was carrying around a huge suitcase full of negativity to every interview I went to. And that suitcase popped open in every single interview, until I took note of what was happening and did something about it.
First off, I stopped interviewing, meaning I stopped applying for jobs until I got things back on track. What!? That’s right, stop before you burn bridges or make bad impressions with the very employers you are trying to impress. Next, call in the troops. Speak to friends, family, former co-workers, anyone in your network that can remind you of all your greatness. Ask them to tell you about you; you need to hear it. Next review your resume, not for errors but to remind yourself of all your accomplishments, skills, qualities, you know all the good stuff! Next, stop talking to the ‘Negative Nellies’ in your life, including yourself! Turn that internal voice off; you know the one that doubts everything you do and tells you you can’t. Tell it to shut up by reframing what is being said. Instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t do that”, say “Well, I haven’t done that before but I sure would love to learn.”
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Exercise, eat right and get sleep. You don’t need to do anything extreme here, but when we feel physically better, we just feel better about ourselves. Without trying too hard, our frame of mind will start to shift. Lastly, make a plan. Be purposeful. And start job searching again. You may not feel 100% positive about everything (actually I think that would be impossible and inhuman) but remember we’re faking it ‘til we make it. It’s easier and much more believable in an interview if you really are feeling more positive about things.
So, how did I become the employed Employment Counsellor again? I did all the things I just told you to do and then started to apply to only places I really wanted to work. And the very next interview I landed, I got the job! I felt more confident in myself, more positive about my situation and was able to “fake it” much more convincingly. I was able to concentrate, deliver my on-point answers and project a positive personality that fit with what they were looking for. And that’s what it’s all about after all. An employer just wants to know that you can do the job and that you’re going to fit in with them. And making them see that comes from inside you and how you communicate it to them.
by Carolyn Leeson, Employment Counsellor and Contributing Blogger at Agilec