Focusing on things within your control

The job search process can be draining and even painful at times.  But, spending your energy only on those things that are within your control can help immeasurably.  It will help both with time management and with your mental health.

Things you can’t control

  1. The stated application process (yes, sometimes it’s absurd)
  2. The stated job requirements (often only tangentially related to the actual job requirements)
  3. How long it takes the employer to get back to you (often much longer than it should)
  4. Questions that will be asked in your interview (every interview is different)
  5. How the interview went after its over (could be better or worse than you think)

Things you can control

  1. Sending out more applications (there’s always more)
  2. Reaching out to practitioners in your chosen field (you can never have too many contacts or mentors)
  3. Researching the industry (use LinkedIn, Idealist, Hoovers and a ton of other resources you can find at your local library)
  4. Preparing for likely interview questions (i.e., “Tell me about yourself”; Behavior questions (“Tell me a time when”); “Tell me your greatest strength/weakness”) (we can help with this)
  5. Checking application materials for keywords, typos, and grammar (the format of your resume matters less than you think as long as the content is strong)

What does this mean in practice?  Don’t worry if the job description asks for 10+ years of experience and you only have 6.  Just send in your application and move on.  Don’t spend time thinking about the answer you “should’ve” given in the interview.   Make a note for your preparation for next time.  And, don’t try to read the tea leaves on whether some action by an employer is a good or bad sign.  You don’t have a job until you have a job and you haven’t been rejected until you get a rejection.  If you keep your focus on what you can control, you will be successful.  I promise.

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