How to tackle self-doubt during your job search

2nd March 2023

Looking for a new job can be exciting and stressful at the same time. Add a candidate-driven marketplace, with heaps of emerging talent out there. It can get overwhelming and self-doubt may start to creep in. 

Most of us at some point in our careers have felt discouraged. These are normal feelings to occur, however, what makes or breaks the situation is how you can overcome these feelings and turn them into something positive. 

Self-confidence is one of the most unspoken critical attributes to job search success. Hiring managers not only look at skills, experience, and characteristics, but they also look for people who are positive and motivated. 

When you overcome self-doubt, your well-being improves, and you allow new opportunities to unfold without fear.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
― Suzy Kassem

So what are the ways we can keep negative self-talk at bay to improve our mental process through our job search which will inevitably create positive results?

  1. Take care of yourself

Maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of rest, exercise and even meditation will ensure our body is functioning at its best. This will help keep your mind clear, in turn giving your the best shot to tackle unwanted feelings.

  1. Hone in on your pain points

Pinpoint the areas in which these feelings occur and what they are attached to. This way you start to take control. Identify if there is any truth to them and if so create a plan to address the problem.

  1. Remember your accomplishments

Make a list of everything you have accomplished throughout your career and what makes you proud, including positive feedback on your skills and abilities. Remember how you did that and the obstacles you faced to achieve those things. This will help bring light to the fact that if you have done it once you most certainly can do it again. 

  1. Set short-term goals and celebrate the small wins

Creating a realistic road map is key. Yes, you have the end goal but looking at the end goal may seem out of reach which can decrease your motivation and allow room for self-doubt to creep in. Instead, break it up into small goals. What are the first steps? Organising your cv. The second step researching companies and the third step apply for x amount of roles etc. With each step that you complete, celebrate it! This will help you stay motivated and enthusiastic throughout the process.

  1. Let go of external expectations

This is your career and your journey. Focusing on what you want to get out of your career is crucial. Remember, you are the only one who should set expectations for your performance. Allowing an overload of external expectations will distract you from your own goals.

  1. Practice positive self-talk to maintain a positive mindset

Positive affirmations can counteract negative thoughts and help you form a habit of thinking positively even when your job search isn’t going as well as you would like. You cannot control 100% of your job search, no matter how good your cv is. Ultimately your fate lands in the hands of the hiring manager. However, what you can control 100% of is your attitude.

  1. Create a plan for rejection

Rejection is simply re-direction. Focus on learning from the experience. What can you take away from it and do differently next time? There is no harm in following up with the organisation that turned you down for some feedback. This can help you see the areas in which you need to work so you are ready for the next interview.  

“I seek strength, not to be greater than others, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself”
― P.C. Cast

Negative self-talk can wreak havoc on your thought process and impact your mental and physical health. However, while searching for a new job can present challenges, remember that you can succeed.

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