How to Believe in Yourself During a Long Job Search

To be successful in a job search, your core mission is inspiring a potential employer to believe in you. And to make that happen, you have to embody confidence. But when you’re looking for meaningful work and the months are ticking by with no response, it can be hard to believe in yourself. So how do you draw from the well of self-esteem, when that well is drying up?  

Bask in Your Strengths

Think back to a time when you accomplished something that you’re especially proud of. It might have happened 20 years ago or last weekend, but the key for this exercise is that the accomplishment is NOT job-related. No money exchanged hands.

Step 1:

Give this accomplishment a heading or describe it in a sentence.

Step 2:

What were the 3 most important characteristics that enabled you to achieve it?

Step 3:

What made you uniquely qualified to get it done?

Step 4:

What was the positive impact of this achievement on you and/or anyone else?

For the purpose of this exercise, don’t hold back. Sing your praises from the rooftop. This is not a moment for humility.

Now, let’s try it again. Except this time, come up with an accomplishment that is work related. This can be something you did solo or as part of a team. Go through all the steps listed above, including the part about not being humble.

Set a timer for 60 seconds. And this might sound awkward, but try it anyway. Use that entire minute to bask in your achievement.

During a Job Search, Put Your Talent to Use

When you’re in between jobs or employed at one that doesn’t provide opportunities to use your strengths and talent, they can get rusty. And not being able to do what you’re good at can chip away at self esteem. Here’s a remedy. If you’re not getting paid to be your best self, then find a volunteer opportunity and be your best self for free (at least for now). There are so many benefits to volunteering, particularly during a job search when you have extra time on your hands.

– Volunteering gets you out of the house
– It’s a less-pressured environment to network with new people while striving towards a common goal
– You can build the volunteer experience into your narrative and add it to your resume.
– Helping others feels good

Here’s a list of top sites for volunteering:

Points of Light
CatchaFire
Taproot Foundation
Linkedin for Volunteers
Idealist

Go Small and Dream Big

During an unrequited job search, staying motivated and confident are the most important, and often hardest, things to do. Right now, if your days don’t include enough of a sense of achievement, you can change that by creating a few small, doable wins. And they don’t have to be job-related to be effective. Maybe it’s 10 minutes of exercise, meditation, or (what I do), learning Spanish on an app. The idea is to commit to a daily goal and stick to it. But at the same time that you’re working off your list of small, achievable wins, continue to dream big. Part of staying motivated is allowing yourself to imagine a work environment that will have real satisfaction and meaning for you. Take the time to envision what that would look like, with as much detail as you can. That’s the first step to creating it.

For a set of daily exercises to invigorate your job search, click here:

And if you want more personalized guidance and encouragement, please get in touch.

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