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Dog ate your resume? Overcoming excuses during your job hunt

Don’t delete your LinkedIn profile and walk away from the hunt with an I-didn’t-want-a-new-job-anyway smugness just yet!

Here’s a fun fact: We have 65,000 thoughts a day.

Some of our thoughts are helpful, some are neutral and some are, well, downright damaging. When you are looking for a new job or career, when you are pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and taking risks, your mind can become pretty destructive.

I’m not qualified.

I don’t know where to start.

There are no jobs out there for me.

I don’t have enough education for that position.

I have so much to do before I can start looking.

I could never land a job like that.

I don’t have enough time to look for my dream job.

It’s enough to make a job seeker delete their LinkedIn profile and walk away from the hunt with an I-didn’t-want-a-new-job-anyway smugness.

But you shouldn’t walk away.

Excuses can become major — yet avoidable — obstacles for people looking to change up their professions or positions. They limit your confidence, your resilience and your enthusiasm. They can make you believe that your goals are unattainable, unreachable.

Excuses are simply negative and fearful thoughts that limit you from being who you really are — because you are too focused on other people’s expectations or what you believe other people may think of you. They stop you from hoping, from dreaming, from acting… or applying, in this case. It can feel like paralysis.

Excuses and procrastination actually end up causing you more stress and more negativity. You want to move forward, to grow, yet you are stuck in your own fear.

So let’s conquer those excuses, shall we?

It is far more encouraging and helpful to develop a new set of positive thoughts that inspire informed action. Either that or you continue to feel guilty and annoyed at yourself for not applying for jobs that you want — you really, really want — or for stopping yourself from learning which jobs you really, really want!

That’s right, positive thinking can be one of your most dependable and beneficial job hunting tools — helping you to ward off excuses, procrastination and negative thoughts. You must fine tune your mental positivity just like you fine tune your resume, your networking chops or your interviewing skills.

Positive thought and emotion drive positive action in many areas of our lives, including job searches. They help you see the world through a lens of opportunity. Job hunting requires a good dose of effort, courage, vulnerability and selling. And it’s not just selling anything; it’s selling your own worth and value. You need to learn to better appreciate your skills and highlight your best attributes. You need to build your confidence so that rejection doesn’t faze you.

Plus, if you don’t think you are good enough for a job, chances are that no one else will either.

So how can you harness your positive emotions to banish excuses during the job hunt? Here are five tips to give yourself the positive edge:

Collect Your Positive Thoughts

I’m a big (OK, huge!) fan of developing a positive thinking habit, like a daily Top Five list. Every day, write down five positive things. I’m not talking about the roof over your head or the nourishing meal on your plate. I’m talking about the people, experiences, things, happenings and tools that you’re grateful for each day.

You discovered and applied for five positions.

You had a good first interview, and you made your interviewer laugh.

You networked naturally and with ease at a lunch with former colleagues.

When you begin to collect all those small victories — job related or not — you build self-belief, confidence, happiness and resilience so you can exile excuses.

Welcome Rejection Letters

Business coach Tiffany Han has created business and online programs that help you celebrate and learn from rejection letters.

Remember, every rejection letter is one step closer to a job offer! Her program is actually called 100 Rejection Letters, and participants celebrate the number of rejection letters they get. Why? Because there is courage in taking a leap and doing something that is scary, especially when it comes to your career. It’s something to rejoice.

Cliché alert! You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. So take a shot.

Don’t Focus on Job Titles

We can get all wrapped up in climbing the corporate ladder or following a certain career path. Enough of that! It’s time you refocus on your skills, your passions and your internal compass.

Here’s how: Have some fun with a reverse CV or resume. It’s like writing a job description without any job names. Write down your skills, passions, experiences and the things you look for in a job that have nothing to do with the roles you have had before.

Then show friends and acquaintances (or even post it online) and ask them to suggest jobs that you might be good at. By doing this, a friend of mine who is an accountant realized he was destined to start a YouTube channel or a food truck focused on his favorite food. Yes, a culinary career is totally in left field for him, yet it made sense with his reverse resume.

This activity is all about building awareness, thinking outside the box and freely seeking ideas from others.

 

Refocus on Outcomes

Procrastination, a form of excuse, is a real struggle for so many professionals and job seekers. The solution is in finding positivity in the task at hand by linking it to a bigger picture goal.

Here’s one easy way to make this a habit. Sometimes I refocus my to-do lists on outcomes. What does that mean? Make the heading for your job search to-do list something with meaning and impact. For example, instead of “To-do list for job hunting” use, “Uplift disadvantaged communities through leadership development work.” Then create a list that will help you attain that big picture ideal. Yes, you probably hate customizing cover letters or digging through job boards, but when you connect mundane or time-consuming tasks with a positive outcome, it gets a whole lot easier.

Just. Get. Started.

Here’s an applicable analogy: When you head somewhere in your car, you don’t turn on your car and wait in the driveway until all of the lights are green before you start your journey. You just go.

It’s the same with your job hunt. You are about to head out on a new adventure. You can’t wait for all your employment lights to turn green before you go for it. You just need to actually get in the driver’s seat, turn the key, put your foot on the gas, and go.

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