Careers Job Search Mindset

Going through a career transition will be challenging at times. It requires a growth mindset and positive attitude to power through the process.

As Carol Dweck explained in her book Mindset: New Psychology of Success, a growth mindset is powerful because you believe your “talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching, and persistence.”

Be Aware of Your State of Mind

While looking for a new job, you will go through ups and downs. While it is natural to experience strong emotional responses during the process, it is important not to bring negative emotions, comments, and tones you’re experiencing into:

  • Written emails
  • Calls with recruiters
  • On-site interviews
  • Conversations with people at networking events

Being aware of your state of mind and learning to control it will help you immensely throughout your job search.

What Puts You in a Great State of Mind?

Even when you are going through a crazy time like a career transition, you still need to take care of your mental and physical well being. Ask yourself what is most helpful for you to put you in a good state of mind, and make time for those activities, especially in times of stress.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Consistently get a good night's rest
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your time
  • Practice relaxation; deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself
  • Take breaks in between hours of skills practice, blogging or job search activity
  • Be confident in your abilities and know you will improve even more over time
  • Stay connected with people who can provide emotional and other types of support. It’s important to have a network of people to support you.

When your body and mind are in good shape, it’s easier for you to maintain a positive mental state.

Don't Have a Negative Attitude

A candidate with an optimistic attitude attracts more employers, makes more meaningful connections, and ultimately gets hired faster. Confidence will help you during interviews and make you more likeable.

There are three simple ways to maintain a positive attitude during the job search process.

  • Visualize acing the interviews and getting the job. What would this feel like? Can you imagine how confident and knowledgeable you are in these interviews? What the mind conjures up are where actions follow.

  • Team up with a fellow learner. Other students going through the online curriculum are going through the same job search process and need help with keeping a good mindset. What better way to help each other than by holding one another accountable for weekly (or even daily progress) and talking through challenges!

  • Reach out to your coach for support, motivation, and encouragement. They’re there for you through the ups and the downs!

Realize that staying positive during the process is something you choose and can continuously work on. Also know that if you have a premium account, you can reach out to your coach if you're feeling this way. This is a critical part of the job search and we're here to help you with this as well.

What are the Psychological and Physiological Impacts of All This?

As Carol Dweck puts it, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits.” Therefore, people who have a fixed mindset during the job search are more likely to have a negative attitude when it comes to their abilities.

Psychologically, if you have a fixed mindset and negative attitude you feel limited in your abilities and doubt yourself often. During interviews, these types of scenarios may occur:

  • Mentally disqualifying yourself and being stuck in detrimental self-talk
  • Giving up on answering a technical question before even trying
  • Fear of sounding stupid and thus deciding not to ask questions
  • Not believing you can learn new technical skill sets

Physiologically, if you have a fixed mindset and negative attitude you will often feel stressed and can get sick as a result. Some symptoms can include:

  • Worrying to the point it affects your ability to concentrate on other areas of your life
  • Being constantly unhappy thanks to an upset in the balance of hormones
  • A weakened immune system which makes you more susceptible to diseases and illnesses

Dealing With Negative Events and Rejection

There are going to be ups and downs along this journey. Be prepared for rejection from some companies -- this is an inescapable part of every job search.

During the job search, you may have normal feelings like:

  • Imposter Syndrome - Being plagued by self doubt and feeling like a fraud.
  • Discouragement - When you don’t get the results you were hoping for, it’s easy to get discouraged.
  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm - This can happen after a long period of not a lot of progress.
  • Frustration - If your hard work is not yielding the desired results in the time you hoped, you receive a rejection, or overall just feel lousy throughout the process.

Even though you may experience these normal feelings, you can control how you respond to unfavorable setbacks. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, reflect on how it could have gone better and change your approach or improve your preparation for subsequent interviews.

For getting through these rough patches, you can vent to your Career Coach, a friend, partner, or therapist whenever you need it.

Your Attitude Means a Lot To Employers

Employers don’t just want someone who knows programming fundamentals, or the latest framework. They want a candidate with certain attitudes that will make them a positive addition to their team.

Some of the most desirable attitudes are:

  • Adaptability - If an employer wants to start you out with a 3 month contract to test your skills before transitioning you to full-time, are you open to this?
  • Accountability - If an employer asks you to complete an assignment, do you turn it in on time and not make excuses that you lost your charger or didn’t have a wifi connection?
  • Commitment - Employers want candidates who are planning to stick around and carry out what they set out to do. Do you embody this attitude of follow through?
  • Curiosity - Do you ask thoughtful questions to your interviewers?
  • Enthusiasm - During interviews, do you express sincere interest for company’s mission and the role you would be growing into?
  • Honesty - Are you upfront about what you do or don’t know? If you don’t know something, you can always say you’ll put time into learning the new skill.

Do you have these types of attitudes? If you don’t yet, being aware and cultivating them during your job search will put you far ahead in landing your next full-time job.

Getting a Job is Easier When You're Positive

To recap,

  • A growth mindset and positive attitude are powerful in a job search
  • Monitor your thoughts and understand how to put yourself in a great state of mind
  • Having a fixed mindset and negative attitude can have psychological and physiological effects
  • Employers want to hire people with optimistic attitudes

There are different ways of dealing with the ups and downs of finding a job. Recognize this is a choice on how you respond to those feelings.

To tackle these psyche issues, you can use internal and external tools to get confidently back on track. Should you want to work on your job search mindset or you are looking for strategies to stay positive, talk to your coach.

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