This is a guest blog by Nader Mowlaee
Your job search and networking success depend heavily on how courageous you are. It calls for reaching out to strangers and starting conversations with them without any assurance that they’ll like or even listen to you. Yet, it’s important to have courage because you have to take these job search actions regardless of your fear of rejection. That means you can’t give up just after a few attempts.
That’s why building your courage muscles during the job search phase is crucial and becomes your leading differentiating factor among competing candidates. Here’s how you can get it done:
1. Be Honest with Yourself
It’s not uncommon to tell yourself that everything’s fine when it’s actually quite the opposite. The truth is that if you don’t take action, your job search won’t move forward.
Instead, face the truth and become self-aware. Practice self-awareness during your job search by writing down your key plans and priorities for your career. Consider keeping a record of strengths you can learn from others and weaknesses you can work on, including fine-tuning your interview skills or organizing your daily job search routine. By becoming self-aware, you can evaluate your growth over time and push your job search forward.
2. Build a Strong, Wealthy and Healthy Network
Build a network of people who are stronger, wealthier and healthier than you. Find people who are in the positions you aspire to have and mastered the skills you seek. For example, if you’re looking to make a career move as a software engineer, consider joining a local tech meetup to find individuals in these roles and ask for advice. You may even find people who are wealthier or healthier than you or possess stronger skills in common places or events, such as the gym, a festival or a sporting event. The goal is to get out, ask questions and build a genuine network with people whom you can learn from.
LinkedIn is a great tool that allows professionals to establish and build their brand. Begin by making a list of companies you would love to join. Keep it short, five to ten companies are sufficient to start building a network. Send out at least twenty connection invites per day, and always personalize the invitation message by clearly mentioning why you’re reaching out. Your new circle of friends on LinkedIn will naturally help you level-up your networking game, and take the next step towards going out and meeting new people.
3. Do Things That Scare You
Fight any fears you may have by participating in activities or tasks that scare you. That means moving past the standard canned emails and cover letters and picking up the phone and cold-calling recruiters. Also, directly messaging hiring managers during the job search phase is ideal for standing out in the crowd. Don’t procrastinate. Attend networking events and talk to recruiters on the spot. Engage in new conversations, answer people’s questions and handle conflicts professionally Practice talking about yourself and talking about yourself becomes effortless. By doing more of these tasks and activities, you can also boost your self-confidence and you will fast-forward your job hunt.
Often when we do something for the first time we realize that it wasn’t that scary after all; that it was mostly an illusion our mind was playing in our head. While job searching, it’s common to find yourself in a spot where you feel scared or insecure. There are several ways you can overcome that feeling, and one is by actually practicing overcoming your fears. You must fight your fears and eliminate them. As soon as you rip off the bandage, the pain will be gone. If you’re scared of calling recruiters, just go ahead and call a recruiter from an opposite industry. Call and introduce yourself, ask if they have any positions that match your skills. Do this once or twice to practice and get rid of your fear.
Taking your job search to the next level requires taking action to develop the courage you need to move your career forward. By building your courage muscles, you can accelerate your job search for success. Take matters into your own hands by targeting employers directly, and if you’re not sure about your interviewing skills, call or meet with anyone from the same or another industry and talk about your skills with them. Practice telling your career story and how you came to be the person you are today. Then share your goals for the future and expand on how you’re planning to hit those goals. This will require you to have a certain level of self-awareness and if you don’t have that, it’s likely that you’ll make some career moves that you’ll regret in the future.
About Nader Mowlaee
Nader is a career coach who believes you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. His mission is to enable engineers to break away from their fears and create the ideal lives and careers they desire. You can learn more about Nader through his LinkedIn account.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about building your courage muscles for job search.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success