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Ten Secrets for Boosting Your Confidence During the Job Search


How will I find another job? How long will it take? What if no one will hire me? Who will pay my bills? Will I join the ranks of the homeless? What do I do now? If your thoughts and feelings are similar to these, you are not alone. Unemployment can be a frightening experience, but it’s also a time to build your confidence in preparation for and during your job search.

Job hunters typically fall into one of three categories: 1) those just entering the job market after graduation; 2) those who are currently jobless, but had full time employment previously; and, 3) those who are employed, but are looking for a different job. The last category includes people seeking new jobs in the same career field for financial reasons, career advancement or personal fulfillment, as well as those pursuing a change in careers.

One major factor in today’s labor market is the change in the employment process. For example, 30 years ago when you accepted a job offer you often could expect to spend your entire working life with the same employer. If you worked hard and remained loyal, the company would provide rewards.

By the mid-1970s, trends began to shift. You valued job security, but may have discovered that your employer had other plans for you. Layoffs, common by today’s standards, became a terrible new reality. Employees asked, “What happened to the belief that employees are a company’s most valuable assets?”

The 1980s and 1990s brought even more changes. Mergers and acquisitions were in vogue and thousands of people lost their jobs. Those who escaped layoff often suffered “survivor sickness.” Symptoms included anger, hurt, fear, and guilt. Some managers ignored the post-layoff healing process and never addressed denial with their remaining employees. Companies became populated with depressed workers. In addition, advances in technology changed job performance expectations and increased the pressure on employees to stay abreast of current conditions.

Now, fast-forward. It’s the 21st century and it’s time to take a fresh look at how you are competing. Your approach to changing careers or dealing with job loss can make the difference in how fast you transition to something new. Regardless of your situation, it’s time to look at the ten secrets for boosting your confidence during the job search. Accept the realities, and let the suggestions assist you in developing an action plan for finding a new job or career.

Secret #1–It’s a jungle out there
If you haven’t looked for a job in a long time, you probably feel like you are walking into a jungle. In reality, you are simply over-whelmed with all of the steps you need to take in order to find a job. Yes, you have competition, but don’t let that scare you. Your focus should always be on what you can do. You can’t control your competition and in most cases, don’t even know who they are. Concentrate on yourself and in creating a powerful “door-opener” resume, a cover letter that knocks their socks off, and practice, practice for the interview anticipating every question you can think of.

Secret #2–Envision yourself as the answer to someone’s prayers
You deserve to get the job. Why shouldn’t it be you? There is an employer out there somewhere who is looking for you as you are reading this. All you have to do is find each other. And when you connect for the first time, whether by resume, email, telephone or in person, you have earned an opportunity to tell them, and maybe even demonstrate what you are capable of doing. You become the answer to someone’s prayers!

Secret #3–No pain no gain
You didn’t think the job search would be easy, did you? Looking for a job is a big commitment. Finding what you’re looking for won’t happen overnight. You will need to put in the time before you can reap the benefits and that includes developing a marketing plan, preparing a resume, and networking with anyone who can potentially help you.

Secret #4—They are probably nervous too
It may not have occurred to you, but there is a good chance that the interviewer is also nervous, especially those who are inexperienced. Boost your self-confidence by focusing on your credentials and how you can meet the employers needs. And don’t be intimidated by the interviewer regardless of their position in the company. Hold your head high and confidently answer each question.

Secret #5–Practice, practice, practice
Nothing builds confidence quicker than practice interviewing. You do this every time you interview, but it should start before you are called for a telephone or face to face interview. If you have done your homework, you have practiced answering questions out loud with a friend or to yourself. With especially difficult questions like, “Can you share with me one of your weaknesses?” you may want to write out your answer, memorize it and then practice until your answer sounds natural.

Secret #6–Be aware of the language of confidence
What language are we talking about? It’s the English language, but spoken with the utmost of confidence. It’s about being able to express yourself without hesitation. It’s also about good eye contact, and turning questions into statements. People who lack self-confidence often turn declarative sentences into questions. For example, “I’m not really sure what I bring to the table now that we’ve talked further, do you think I would be a good fit?” Turn that question into, “I’d like to learn more about the job responsibilities, but based upon what you’ve told me so far, I know that I would be a perfect match for the job.” Never look for reassurance from the interviewer; your job is to confidently assure him or her that you are exactly what they are looking for!

Secret #7–Create a winning image
When you look good you feel good. You’ve heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” What you wear to the interview definitely impacts your self-confidence. If you don’t like how you look it shows. Begin by finding out what you are expected to wear. If the interviewer tips you off by suggesting that you dress “business casual,” do as you’ve been told. But if you don’t have advanced information, for women suits and separates can be coordinated with tasteful accessories to convey an up-to-date look. For men a solid navy suit with a solid white dress shirt is appropriate. Ties should be solid, pinstripes or small patterns. Polished shoes, clean hair and fingernails are expected along with white teeth and fresh breath. Your overall look should reflect confidence and capability.

Secret #8–Don’t talk to much or too little
People who lack self-confidence either talk too much or too little. Nervousness sometimes causes out of control chatter or rambling. It can also make people clam up. You need a balance. Nervousness and building confidence comes with practice. The more opportunities you have to interview, whether in mock interviews or the real thing, the better your chances of controlling your nervousness and exuding confidence during the job interview.

Secret #9–Don’t be shy about asking for the job
When the interview comes to a close, the interviewer typically asks if you have anything else to say. And even if she doesn’t ask, be sure it’s clear that you are definitely interested in the job and know that you could meet her expectations. Tell her this. Then ask her what happens next. If you’ve made a good first impression, she will inform you that you will be invited back for a second interview or she will tell you that she has other people to interview and that she will know more when all interviews are complete. Now is your chance to ask, “May I follow up with you if I don’t hear anything by a week from today?” Or, “When would it be okay to follow up with you?” These questions leave the door open so that you can call her back without feeling uncomfortable.

Secret #10–E-mail a letter of thanks
Another way to express confidence is with a “thank you” for taking the time to meet with you. It can be short and to the point, but it must include several reasons why you are a good fit for the job. It’s another opportunity to show that you are still confident that you are the right pick.

In conclusion, your self-confidence is critical to your success during the job interview. If you need a boost, as we all do from time to time, implement some of these secrets before and during your job interview. And don’t forget to express your appreciation and include a point or two about why you are qualified for the job.

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