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30 January 2016 Posted by 

MANAGING JOB SEEKING STRESS

Removing the barriers to success

By Melissa Harries, Psychologist

CONVERSATIONS in the office recently suggest that job seekers are poised, ready to pounce on the flood of job advertisements that should surely be washing in shortly.

Whether it accurately reflects the job seeking market on not, the belief is that no (worthwhile) jobs are advertised from Christmas to Australia Day.

For some this is a stay of execution; a legitimate reason to procrastinate on writing up that resume or applying for that job. The struggle is real. In spite of feeling incredibly dissatisfied with where one is at professionally, they are not motivated to take the action to change this.

What could be creating a barrier to taking action? Conversations with clients suggest that it is their beliefs about the likelihood of getting work that stops them from applying. Such things like:

-       No one will hire me because I don't have a degree/qualifications.
-       I never get what I want; there is no point in trying.
-       I didn't get that one job that applied for six months ago therefore I won’t get any job.
-       I don't meet all the selection criteria so I can’t apply for that.

Humans aren’t great at telling the difference between their beliefs about an event, and the event itself.

While our beliefs colour our perceptions, they are still just words in our mind that may or may not reflect reality. When it comes to job seeking unfortunately we need to put our unhelpful beliefs aside.

How, you might ask?

The first question you should ask yourself is what evidence do you have to support your belief? What are you basing your judgments on? Be very careful of drawing conclusions based on the opinions of others (e.g. what’s said in the tearoom at lunch) The grapevine is rarely correct.

You will find that you have little evidence to support your beliefs; we are not completely irrational. You do need a qualification for some jobs. There have been times in the past when you haven’t gotten what you wanted. But be as specific and concrete as possible about this evidence.

Then ask yourself what evidence refutes your belief. What about your experiences and professional achievements make you suitable for the job? What are some examples from the past where you did get what you want? You got the current job you have (or your last job) so it stands to reason that you will get a future role too.

Finally, ask on balance of the evidence, what is a more objective way to view job seeking? One way to think about it is like flipping a coin. The odds of getting each job you apply for aren’t affected by the outcome of the last job you applied for.

Also, there tends to be a bit of a pattern with job seeking where people apply for a whole bunch and hear nothing. Its only after they refine what that actually want and put a decent effort into the cover letter and CV that you start getting call backs. Be patient.

Finally, a career coach said to me once “you need to apply the 70/30 rule when applying for jobs”. He said that all recruiters ask for the perfect applicant who doesn't exist. If you match 70% of the selection criteria then give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no? You are no worse off for applying.

It’s common to feel anxious about applying for a new job however it doesn't have to be inevitable. It’s never too late to learn skills to manage this stress. It’s not like we were ever taught how to do this at school. Think about a psychologist like a personal trainer for your mind; one-on-one sessions to learn skills to strengthen your mental fitness.

If you would like to learn more about how to manage job seeking stress, contact our friendly staff at the Parramatta Psychology Clinic on (02) 9687 9776 or by emailing reception@parramattapsychologyclinic.com.au.



editor

Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.