Your True Self Image: Conquering Fear and Doubt in the Hunt for a New Job

I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. – Rosa Parks

Circumstances are beyond human control, but our conduct is in our own power. – Benjamin Disraeli

Like most young people today, I graduated from college with the assurance that I knew what I was doing with my life. I had a career strategy, and my degree was all part of the plan. Of course, like most of those same young people, nothing went according to plan. I quickly found myself job-hopping from one low paying job to another, none of which presented the opportunity for a long-term career. I grew despondent and depressed. I felt within myself that I was capable of much more than I was doing, but nobody seemed to care. Eventually, I started to wonder if maybe nobody cared because I had it all wrong. Maybe I wasn’t capable of anything.

I know I’m not alone. In fact, sometimes the young and inexperienced have it better off than the older, more experienced generations. I watched in horror at one company as middle-aged men and women were axed on a weekly basis to make way for fresh (and cheaper) blood. I talked to those let go, sympathized with them, felt the very real pain in their voices as they all asked the same thing, “What am I supposed to do now?”

My first answer to that question is: don’t let anyone or anything else determine your worth. Push yourself to grow, make yourself more valuable, show up your previous employer and make them regret their decision to cut you. Show them that you know who you are, and they were stupid to lose you.

Easier said than done, right? When the fear sets in, it can become paralyzing. What if I really am out of date and my skills are worthless and I deserve to be cut from the working ranks? We know despite these doubts that we have to truck on, so we dust off the old resume, hit the job boards, and try to get some interviews. Unfortunately, in the back of our minds, the fear and doubt remains. And you know what happens? That fear and doubt makes itself present in our job hunt, our interviews, and even in our work. Our uncertainty can cost us jobs we should have in the bag, which only serves to fuel our doubt of self-worth.

Let me tell you something right now: don’t believe those fears and doubts for one second. You’re not allowed to. I forbid it. You need to forbid it, too. I went through it myself, and I can tell you that it does no good, no good at all. You won’t be able to force the fear away, but you can control how you meet it. Make up your mind right here, right now, and every single day from this moment on, to confront your fear and not let it control you.

Repeat after me: I have a lifetime of experience and knowledge that nobody else has because nobody else is me. I am a unique person with unique experiences, and I bring value to everything that I do. My work does not define me, I define my work. I am experienced. I am the one they should hire, and it is absolutely their loss if they don’t hire me.

No matter your age or professional experience, you have a lifetime of developed skills and knowledge that you bring to the table in every single position you apply for. Don’t let anyone else determine your worth.

None of this is meant, of course, in a shallow way. Your experience does not qualify you for every job on planet earth. But you already know that. I’m not trying to give you a fluffy pep talk. You simply need to know that being realistic about the world around you does not mean being pessimistic, and we all too often confuse realism with pessimism. I want you to acknowledge your actual abilities, you actual talents, your actual skills and experiences to their fullest extent. Value yourself and your abilities, and that confidence will shine through.

Alexandra Franzen of The Daily Muse recently published a great article entitled How to Convince Employers You’re the One (When You’re Not Convinced Yourself). If you’re in a slump and it’s affecting your job search, I highly recommend giving it a read. Listen to her and follow her advice.

If that’s not enough, then give us at Write Stuff Resources a call. Crafting a professional resume and cover letter isn’t just about getting hired: it’s about developing a true self-image. You need to know who you are before you can present your true self to your next employer. We help with that.

Whatever you decide to do, though, just remember what I said above. You are unique. You are experienced. No employer can ever take that away from you. Believing that is the first step to attaining confidence and landing a job where your talents and experiences flourish.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt