SEVEN Career Coach Jennifer Scurfield spoke to METRO to share her tips on impostor syndrome and a job search strategy.
Acknowledge imposter syndrome
That voice in your head that tells you you’re rubbish at everything and not good enough for any job you apply for? It’s like poison for career success.
The first step is acknowledging that these thoughts and feelings aren’t based in reality.
Jennifer Scurfield says: ‘Imposter syndrome is very common. It is a psychological experience, not a pathology, that most of us will feel at least once in our lives.
‘Imposter syndrome prevents you from taking risks, asking for help and creates self-sabotage in the application process, i.e. a recipe for a difficult and painful job search!
‘The most effective and long-term way of busting your imposter is to first notice when it rears its ugly head and then learn to change the way to process it – notice the negative feeling that accompanies it, notice what triggered it, ask yourself what it is saying to you, ask yourself if it is true, and then, ask yourself what you would tell your best friend.
‘It is also useful to name it and visualise it (mine is a black cloud) so that the negative thoughts are separated from you. You are not your imposter. They are merely thoughts which you can control.
‘Where people often stumble is when they try to ascertain if what the Imposter is saying is true or not. In my experience, it is always false.
‘But don’t take my word for it, make a list of all your skills and achievements and then a list of situations in your life where you have showcased them.’
Don’t get too bogged down in not meeting job requirements
It’s tempting to only apply for jobs that feel like the absolute perfect fit, or take yourself out of the running because you feel like you don’t tick off all of the requirements.
Don’t do that. Give yourself a chance.
‘Change your mentality from “what I can’t offer to what I can offer”,’ says Jennifer. ‘Recruiters will usually be happy to consider applicants who satisfy only 60% of the job specification, sometimes less!
‘So don’t feel it has to be a perfect fit. A perfect fit doesn’t exist.’
Create a job-hunting plan
Getting organised really does help with motivation.
Soma advises: ‘Create a job hunting plan so that you have activities around the job hunt every day.’
Make it a habit with clear tasks to complete. This will stop you questioning what you’re doing, if you’re doing enough, and so on.
Change your perspective
Try to avoid thinking of everything in terms of one set outcome (getting a new job offer). This can reduce the sense that you’ve failed if things don’t work out exactly as planned – thus lessening that hit against your motivation and self-belief.
Try to see every application and interview as a learning experience, and every interaction with managers as building relationships that could benefit you long term.
‘See the bigger and more fun picture of meeting new people who might have the same interests as you,’ Jennifer suggests. ‘What’s the worst that can happen?
‘From my experience, the worst is that they don’t answer. But at some point, someone will, and that might lead to the opportunity you were looking for.’
Focus on your ‘why’
Motivation relies on finding a reason to keep going. For that, you need to really reflect on why you’re doing this, why you want a new job, why this is important to you. Once you’ve worked that out, repeat it like a mantra any time you feel your reserves running low.
Jennifer tells us: ‘Try to keep the bigger picture in mind. Write it down and connect to it every day
‘It will not only inspire you to be resilient but also help you consider other routes, push you to connect with people and help push past your fears to get there. Purpose is key.’
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