Let’s face it – job searching isn’t any fun and if your job search method is a waste of time , then the whole activity of job hunting can often turn into a personal nightmare.
I have identified a list of key psychological roadblocks that can side-track, confuse and discourage even the most dedicated job hunter. They are among the strongest reasons that many people stay in dead-end jobs, or for the unemployed, procrastinate and eventually even give up on the job search, often to the detriment of their careers and the overall quality of their lives.
#1 The angst of job uncertainty
Nothing is certain in the job world. There are no guarantees. Starting a new business or signing up for a freelance side gig or trying to find a new job before any redundancy doesn’t mean you’re diverting from the path of certainty and into a life of the reckless unknown. It just simply means you accept that certainty is largely an illusion, and pining for it will most ultimately hold you back from finding a new job or changing your career.
#2 Pretender syndrome
Make a list of your habits that prevent you from living a healthier life and figure out what issue or discomfort you use them to try and deal with. Envision what it would take to make productive changes to your life. Be honest with yourself and start small to keep it manageable. Sticking your head in the sand is actively making things worse and delays your job search progress.
#3 Avoiding the job search discomfort
All of your bad daily habits that are holding you back, you likely adopted as ‘getting by’ mechanisms. Those kinds of behaviour are only there to avoid the discomfort of searching and applying for jobs. Most job hunters build their whole job search strategy around just doing what makes them feel most at ease without realising that trying to avoid the challenges is just fast tracking complacency and actually facilitates job hunter depression and ultimately job search failure.
#4 Job hunter victim mentality
Your backstory will not define your job future, career or even your life. Your current circumstances will not define your life. The only thing that really defines your life is what you choose to do versus obsessing over what you can, or could, do. Every job hunter I have met in my years as career coach has their own story of struggle to share. Some job hunters define themselves by it, others simply act in spite of it. Your past will be your future if you let it define you. Enough said
It’s okay to justify why you aren’t where you want to be. But, that whole ramble also won’t get you there any faster. It’s rather simple, you either do or you don’t. You either waste time procrastinating yourself into motionless unemployment, or you get honest about where you are and start to make changes – one step at a time. Just do it.
#6 Entitlement aka Learned Helplessness aka Superiority
One form of helplessness is when people have faced so many job obstacles and career challenges in their lives that they are convinced they are powerless about their job future, and therefore, they just stop trying to change them. Focus on your job search responsibility to yourself instead of putting your energy into the ‘who’s at fault for your circumstances’ game. Letting yourself feel entitled just takes you on a downward spiral when things aren’t working out. Job hunting is more about ‘doing’ and less about ‘being’.
Superiority. I may be impressed by the superior background or skill set you feel you have, but trust me, no matter what credentials you’ve earned, no matter what prestigious educational pedigree you hold, no matter how many names and titles you drop, no one is going to come knocking on your door with a list of exciting job opportunities just because you feel that you are entitled to them. The psychology of entitlement, whether in your current job or for your current job search, is a roadblock to your success. Stop impressing and start doing.
Everything that isn’t helping you to get results, even the small wins, is simply just distraction. Whether this means creating early or daily routines, parsing down on your non-essential project or task load, downsizing your social media and other ‘obligations’ or reducing distractions is absolutely essential if you want to secure job interviews. Serious job hunting is not a side gig – it’s a full time job.
#8 Trying to do everything yourself
You are not meant to take on every role, job and responsibility in your life. This particularly applies to your new role as job hunter or career changer. Successful job hunters don’t drown in job search work, they hire the right people, streamline and surround themselves with experts who can handle what they are not best equipped to. You’re wasting your energy and weakening your potential and you are wasting your most valuable asset if you try to do it all alone. Stop wasting YOUR TIME.
#9 Quick online fixes and mobile gadgetry shortcuts
Securing job interviews and ultimately a new job won’t happen overnight, especially not through over reliance on online and mobile gadgetry. So, stop expecting it to. Real change happens gradually, and one step at a time. Instead of fixating all your efforts on just one job portal like Seek, or on all your mobile notifications from LinkedIn, focus on how you can do 10% better by undertaking another job search activity each day. Over time, the job search effort will compound. Shortcuts don’t get you jobs.
#10 Waiting until you ‘feel like it’
Motivation isn’t something you wait for, it’s something you build. Passion might have inspired you to decide what you want to do in your career, but it isn’t going to be the thing that propels you through difficult job search days that make you just want to quit. To become an achieving job hunter, you need 3 principles and habits: Drive, Discipline and Diligence. Feelings don’t deliver results – what you do every day does.
It’s not a question of “can you”, it’s more a question of “will you” change your approach, strategy and method.
Every job hunter situation is unique and has its own challenges. For example, experienced career and job search coaches understand that job hunters in rural and remote areas of Australia face different challenges to the job hunters who live in the main metro areas.
The Australia job market remains one of the healthiest in the world and there are far more job opportunities here than in most other countries. So get with it. Review your job search methods and adjust your activities. Re-read the points above, be honest with yourself, take time to self-analyse, and always remember to hunt wisely!