Job Search Tips

Your 8 Biggest Job Search Fears and How to Conquer Them

Written by Peter Jones

You absolutely hate your job. Or perhaps you’re between jobs—or even just starting out. The first rule of job hunting is this: you’ll never find a job unless you start. But putting yourself out there can be hard, and the fear is often real. Here are a few of the most common job hunting fears and how you can overcome them.

1. Confirming Your Worst Feelings About Yourself

If you’re not really searching, then you can tell yourself that if you only put your back into it, you would find a job no problem. Actually searching means facing rejection. But you can’t get a yes without putting yourself out there. And what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll get a “no,” maybe a resounding one. So what? Then you’ll brush yourself on and move on to the next one.

2. Risking Embarrassment

You don’t really want to broadcast to your friends and contacts that you’re looking for work. It makes you feel like a failure. Take comfort, instead, on the fact that literally everyone has not had a job at some point in their lives, and has been rejected from one.

3. The Grass Not Being Greener

You hate your current job. But what if you go through all the stress of finding a new one and getting established in a new company—and it turns out that job is just as bad? The best way to handle this is to make sure to enter the interview with a good set of questions for the employer—about workplace culture, job responsibilities, etc. This will help you make sure you’re not going to be just as miserable in a new place.

4. Selling Yourself

You feel a little like a used car salesman on the job market—Dressing up in outfits you don’t usually wear and having to pedal yourself like wares for sale. Just remember: you’ll find the best job for you when you put the best version of yourself forward, not a fake version. Try to be honest and still make a fine first impression, and you shouldn’t feel too uncomfortable with the process.

5. Asking for Help

No one is an island. And this, by the way, is the whole point of networking. You built up a robust group of colleagues and contacts—now go work them. If this makes you too uncomfortable, just imagine how you would feel being approached by someone in your network for advice or help. Generous, right? Happy to help out if you can! Now treat yourself as nicely as you would treat your contacts.

6. Not Measuring Up

Whether you’re most afraid of imperfection, or of being un-or-under-qualified, and/or a little out of your league, relax. First of all: nobody’s perfect. Second of all: if your resume and experience match the requirements in the job posting, then you are exactly in your league. Now take a deep breath and go after what you want.

7. Time Drain

Maybe you’re afraid that job searching will take up every last ounce of free time you have and make you even more miserable. It is a time consuming process, but it doesn’t have to eat up your life. Try scheduling little job search sessions for yourself, with lists of goals and tasks. Then leave it for the day. Little by little, you’ll get the work done.

8. You Won’t Stand Out from the Crowd

While it’s true that the market has become much more saturated of late, that doesn’t mean there aren’t easy ways to distinguish yourself among a list of candidates. Try making sure to go the extra mile—write the handwritten thank you note, do the extra research, ask the better question. If you focus on proving you’re the best one for the job, you’ll be set up quite well to show your unique strengths.

About the author

Peter Jones