Why is it that some people just seem to effortlessly climb the career ladder? You know these folks we speak of: They always know how to dazzle during an interview, and they have a knack for nabbing that prime position before it’s even posted.
What’s their secret?
According to the authors of “Fearless Job Hunting: Powerful Psychological Strategies for Getting the Job You Want,” these are people who have mastered the job hunt by not only honing their skills but also building up the psychological know-how to get through a sometimes soul-crushing process.
We tapped two of the book’s coauthors—Bill Knaus, a psychologist who specializes in personnel selection, and Russell Grieger, a psychologist and organizational consultant—to find out what makes such so-called fearless job hunters tick.
Based on their research, Knaus and Grieger have pinpointed eight key traits that they say make these job-seekers so resilient—and a hiring manager’s dream.
Fearless Trait #1: They Accentuate the Positives
It’s easy to feel down on yourself after getting rejected for a dream job, either telling yourself that you’re a failure or that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. According to Grieger, that’s because “so many people wrap their self-worth around their careers.” There are, however, ways to dig yourself out of that hole of negativity, and approach the process in a more fearless fashion.
First, ask yourself whether what you’re thinking is logical—and whether it gets you anywhere. Here’s a hint: The answer to both should be no!
Then flip the script, and tell yourself, “This will be hard, but I can do it,” or “I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, and I’m fully capable of accomplishing this.” Even if your career prospects don’t pan out, don’t accept that as the be-all, end-all. Instead, say to yourself, “If I fail at this, it doesn’t mean that my whole life is a failure,” or “I have a lot to offer—if this interviewer doesn’t appreciate it, someone else will.”
Finally, give yourself a pep talk by writing down a list of your best qualities as a person, as well as an employee, and then read them aloud. This will help to build up your confidence—and further motivate you during the job hunt.
Fearless Trait #2: They Identify Their Hang-Ups
Does job hunting stress you out so much that you keep putting it off? Once you can confront your specific issues head on, you’ll put less stress on yourself—fearless job hunter-style.
Start by pinpointing what could be the underlying cause (or causes) of your particular hang-up, and then “strip away whatever loadstone you have on your back,” says Knaus. For instance, if you’re nervous that your résumé isn’t up to par, ask a mentor to critique it. Or if you’re unsure of what to say in an interview, practice with a friend and videotape the session, so you can review it and improve upon your delivery.
Fearless Trait #3: They Have Passion—and Purpose
There are a lot of different ways to think about work. For some people, it’s simply a way to put bread on the table. But fearless job hunters view their 9-to-5 as an expression of their purpose in life.