Four Job Search Self-Criticisms to Turn into Lessons

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

“When I argue with reality, I lose – but only 100 percent of the time.” –Byron Katie

Many could argue that the hiring practices of this century make it difficult for people to land jobs. We could wax philosophical about unemployment, complain about the lack of support for job seekers, or get angry about irresponsible organizations.

But the reality is, right here and right now, you are on the job market. You need a job, and those discussions won’t help you land one. Focusing your attitude on the negative only creates unnecessary friction. You can’t change your feelings, but you can change your attitude. Here are four critical statements that you can use to hone your job hunt skills.

“Job searching sucks” becomes “How can I make the most of this?”

Job searching is stressful because you put a lot of work in without compensation – all to prove to someone else that you’re worth it. Instead of stressing over the time you spend unpaid, think of the job hunt as an investment in your future income and fulfillment. Approaching the job hunt this way will help you be more judicious about how and for what kind of jobs you apply.

“Dream jobs don’t exist” becomes “What skills do I have now that can help me reach my end goal?”

People don’t often snag their dream jobs out of the blue. Getting to your dream job is a step-by-step climb. Keep your dream job in mind, but focus on the next step. What skills and experience do you have now that can move you to the next level – one step closer to your goal? Make a list – and make sure the most important ones are on your resume!

“Recruiters never give feedback” becomes “How can I refine my efforts after each rejected application to be better equipped for the next opportunity?”

Take a breath after getting a rejection. Let your emotions – the disappointment, frustration, and anxiety – swell and then settle. Once they’ve settled, reflect on how you conducted yourself through the application (and interview) process. Ask for advice when possible, implement changes to your process, and move forward.

“Companies shouldn’t interview people if they’re just going to hire internally anyway” becomes “How can I put my best foot forward in this interview?”

You only have control over one candidate – YOU. So if you’ve been passed over for a job in favor of an internal candidate, look for ways to make yourself more appealing to those interviewers. Research the company and its values and goals. Come up with one or two ways your expertise will uniquely benefit the department you’re interviewing for. Prepare your minute-long elevator speech. Make yourself the best possible candidate you can be, and don’t worry about the rest.

With the right effort, you can always find the positive elements of your job search – that is, if you take notice of what you need to learn from your negative experiences. Turn your letdowns into ambition instead of inaction, and spend time learning from your mistakes.

After your emotions run their course in privacy, look at your efforts positively. Unsuccessful interviews or a quiet month-gap on your resume are simply lessons.

Morph that self-criticism with a positive attitude, and you can focus less on the problems that occur and more on possible solutions that will land you a job you’re proud of. You’ve got this!

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