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How to Stop Worrying About Your Job Search

2 February 2010 Written by: Kevin Donlin 2 Comments

Want to put an end to your job-search worries?

You can.

Or, at the very least, you can channel worries into positive action that moves you closer to employment.

That’s a message I got from the book, “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself,” by Steve Chandler, who writes:

The next time you’re worried about something, ask yourself, “What small thing can I do right now?” Then do it. Remember not to ask, “What could I possibly do to make this whole thing go away?” That question does not get you into action at all.

This idea has two important implications:

  1. One small action is more productive than any amount of worry, and
  2. Trying to solve all your job search problems at once can paralyze you with confusion about where to start.

Let’s tackle the second one first.

No matter who you are, you’ll almost never go from unemployed to hired in one day, just as you can’t lose 50 lbs. in a week or master French in an afternoon.

So stop tearing your hair out in frustration. You probably won’t get hired from one action, but many. It may take a week, or several months, but the job you seek is out there and you will get it after you’ve taken enough of the right actions.

With that said, here are three small, positive actions you can take today that can stop your job-search worries and help you get hired faster.

Best part: Each of them requires only 15 minutes …

1) Call one person
We all know someone well-connected to potential job leads, with whom we haven’t spoken in months or years. Pick one person and call them today, just to say hello.

Be sure to do one thing: Ask, “What would help you do your job better in this economy?” Then write down their reply.

After you hang up, brainstorm ways to help your friend do his/her job. You can ask other people in your network or Google for ideas. Keep going until you find at least one promising idea. You will then have an excuse to call your friend back tomorrow.

This will do two things: jump-start a dormant relationship and put you top of mind with a well-connected friend, both of which will make them more likely to send you employment leads.
2) Research one ideal employer
Have you ever submitted a resume to a blind ad online or in the newspaper, one that told you nothing about the company? If so, how did that work out?

By contrast, the more you know about an employer, the clearer your path to employment.

There are literally thousands of ways to make a connection with your next boss and stand out from ordinary job seekers. But you’ll never know until you research the 10-20 companies you want to work for.

Why not pick one employer today and spend 15 minutes learning all you can about their employees, corporate culture, clients, problems, and opportunities?

You may find that a manager there went to the same school as you, or you go to the same church as the CIO, or they sell to a client you used to work for.

Then make a connection with someone, based on your experience, education, affinities you share (school, a Linkedin group, charities, etc.) and network of contacts.

3) Write down five scary interview questions
What’s the last question on earth you want to be asked in a job interview?

Is it, “Why did you leave your last position?” Or, “What are your salary requirements?” Or, the dreaded, “What’s your biggest weakness?”

Whatever questions scare you, put them on paper.

Something magical happens when you write down a problem on paper. It’s like shining a light under the bed to check for monsters — when you see things clearly, they lose most of their power to frighten you.

Also, any interview question that scares you has been asked before, which means it has an answer. And you can find that answer by searching online, reading a book, or asking a friend who works in HR.

Now. What if I haven’t addressed your job-search worries in this article?

No problem. Simply write down whatever is bothering you, whether it’s your age, lack of experience, the job market in your city, etc.

Then, spend just 5 minutes doing something about each worry today.

Will you solve all your job-search problems in 5 or 15 minutes? No. Will you be taking action toward solving those problems? Yes. And action dispels worry, just as sunlight dispels fog.

As Steve Chandler writes: “When you find yourself worrying about something, ask yourself the action question, ‘What can I do about this right now?’ And then do something. Anything. Any small thing.”

Why not prove it for yourself and try it today?

Question: How’s your job search going? If you want to try something different, learn about Kevin Donlin’s book Guerrilla Resumes featured in The New York Post, ABC News, CBS Radio, and others. Learn more by clicking here to reach Kevin’s site.

Kevin Donlin is a frequent Career Jockey contributor. He is also a co-author of Guerrilla Resumes. This is a recommended Career Jockey resource for writing a resume that will make you stand out and get noticed.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • uberVU - social comments said:

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  • Rob Dearmon said:

    Great article, Kevin. I would add to do whatever one can to remain positive. As General Colin Powell said, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

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