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Getting Over Your Job Search Fears

Getting Over Your Job Search Fears

Fear of failure, fear of the unknown — these common feelings can hold you back from a full-fledged, successful job search. Changing jobs is often a life milestone, and facing that change is daunting.

It can be a bit of a mind game to get over those fears, says career coach Mary Warriner, but you’ll need to if you want to make your job search a success. “Presenting yourself confidently to the interviewer is what will show them you can present yourself confidently in the job,” Warriner says.

Here’s how to get over your job search fears.

Widen Your Perspective

If you find yourself uncomfortable or worried about your job search, take a moment to go all-in and think of the worst-case scenario, Warriner says. Walk yourself through the different possibilities of what you would face while looking for a new job. “If you currently have a job and are interested in a new job, the worst is that you interview and don’t get it. If you have a boss you don’t care for, you continue to look for another new job.”

Even the idea of succeeding in your job search can be a little scary — what if you figure out after the fact that you don’t like the new position, or that the pay isn’t enough? Addressing those fears can help you determine whether they’re realistic, Warriner says. If you’re worried about what a new job might be like, research the position; you may find the pay is more than you expected, for example, or that the opportunity for advancement could make up for a temporary setback in salary.

Highlight the ‘Why’

Take the time to think about why you’re looking for a new job in the first place, Warriner says. Whether it’s to make more money, find a better opportunity or spend more time with your family, the reason behind your job search can help you balance any misgivings you might have about trying something new.

“Keep the ‘why’ front and center,” Warriner says. Focus on the steps you need to take to get there, which will help you ignore some of the fears that may arise “behind the scenes” in the irrational part of your brain, she says. If you find yourself worrying about what might happen, concentrate on the things you can control.

Express Confidence, Even If You’re Nervous

Fear can lead to self-sabotage, so evaluate every step of your job search to make sure you’re presenting yourself as well as possible, Warriner says. It’s natural to be nervous in an interview or on the phone, even when you know what you’re talking about, so don’t let those feelings spiral into an “impostor complex.”

And even if you don’t get the job and have to start all over, you can use the experience to help allay your fears, Warriner says. Putting yourself on the market is what’s important and can give you ideas on how to improve for the next time. “Going on an interview and not getting the job helps you prepare for the next job, so don’t be afraid — it’s always a good experience,” she says.

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