In my career coaching practice, I frequently work with people who are not currently employed.
This has come about for all sorts of reasons. They may have been made redundant due to a contracting industry, difficult economic conditions or a change in company direction.
They may have taken a voluntary redundancy, sometimes cashing in a payout to fund a new business.
They might have had to relocate for family reasons, away from their previous employer.
They may have been terminated. The common thread is that being unemployed is a really difficult situation.
We are conditioned to value ourselves based on our career success, which sets us up for struggle when our career isn’t going well.
And of course, we’re in a world where we need to earn money to support ourselves and our loved ones.
A hit to your confidence
So even when your unemployment is “not your fault”, almost everyone takes a hit to their confidence.
A lack of confidence can make it really hard to be effective in your job searching.
When you doubt yourself and your abilities, it can feel like a waste of time even to look for a job, let alone put the effort into applying.
In Richard Triggs’ book Uncover the Hidden Job Market, there’s a case study about Tania, a very experienced and senior manager who had lost her job due to a relocation. On top of that, Tania is also a very shy and modest person.
In her own words “Since my confidence levels were low, I was not able to get out there and tell employers why they should hire me.”
You can see the problem for her as a job seeker. If you’re not able to put yourself forward for consideration, how will you ever be offered a new role?
Build your confidence by reaching out
Tania was able to build her confidence, simply by using LinkedIn to put herself in front of people.
For a shy person, this would have been far less intimidating than going to networking events and introducing herself to strangers.
She started by ensuring her LinkedIn profile showcased her transferable skills and was search-optimised for her keywords. (You can read how to do this here)
Then Tania used the Search function to find people who work in similar areas to her and started to build her network.
She was surprised and pleased to find how much her confidence increased when her connection requests were accepted by people she respected. It encouraged her to continue the process and her network on LinkedIn was soon significantly larger.
Tania also began providing endorsements to her former colleagues and her self esteem got a further boost when she received endorsements herself.
Now, she admits she is still quite shy but she has seen firsthand how you can get a much-needed injection of confidence from reaching out.
Try it for yourself
If the job search process is getting you down, please try using LinkedIn to boost your confidence. Reach out to half a dozen people in your profession or industry whom you respect. Introduce yourself and ask them to accept your connection request. I’ll be shocked if at least one person doesn’t look at your profile and gladly accept, because they can see the value in being connected to you.
You’ll feel better just because you’ve done something positive. And you’ll have added a valuable contact to your network.
Arete means “..the fulfillment of purpose or function the act of living up to one’s full potential.”
They work with executives and boards to to identify and engage the best leaders into their organisations. They also educate and coach executives on how to “headhunt their own job”. You can find more advice about this in Richards’ book Uncover the Hidden Job Market – How to find and win your next Senior Executive role (available from Amazon). You can also subscribe to Arete’s newsletter at www.areteexecutive.com.au for useful information and resources.
We look forward to connecting with you.