Looking for a job is no easy task: whether it’s an internship or a full-time position, the whole process is energy—and time—consuming. So it’s no wonder you might feel anxious before you even begin your job search.
Personally, I’ve been in that position many times, both earlier in my life and now. I’ve compiled a list of 7 steps that helped me destress and land a good job, and I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me!
1. Get in the right mindset
Don't undervalue this one because mindset and attitude are the basis of every successful job search.
If you’re not fully motivated, why the hell should someone hire you?
I found myself in this position in high school when I was applying to summer jobs. After being rejected numerous times, I realized that I wanted none of the jobs I had applied to and lacked the right mindset.
You have to be fully committed and invested when you look for a job. If this is your first full-time position, it's a good idea to make the job search a job itself.
Even if it’s only a one-month internship, you have to do your research, work on your résumé and cover letter, and be original.
2. Know where to start
Assuming that you’re motivated to learn new skills and land a job, you should come up with a plan and stick to it. More specifically:
- Know what websites to search (if you don't, make sure you search for the right keywords on search engines)
- Spend some time on your résumé to make it neat and graphically appealing (or not boring at least)
- Work on your cover letter (this one is key)
- Set yourself a daily goal (realistic and achievable)
After I talked with several people, it was clear that most of them didn't reply from companies because their cover letter looked impersonal or like a copy-paste of the résumé.
The purpose of a cover letter isn’t to write down all you can do or what you’ve achieved so far. Let your résumé highlight that. Companies want to know why you. Show them why that company appeals to you and what you share in common! List your skills strategically (how they will help you in that new position).
Believe me, it takes time to write a cover letter, and no, changing a few lines isn’t enough to reuse it for another company. Dig deep into each company's mission and values. Think about why you would be a valuable employee and what that company would help you achieve.
3. Don't listen to that impostor's voice
Okay, so you’ve spent a fair amount of time writing perfect cover letters and even found some good companies to apply to.
You send your documents and wait. And wait. No answer.
Perhaps they haven't received your application?
Companies receive many applications. If you’re applying to big corporations, chances are they receive hundreds and dozens from people more skilled than you.
When I wasn’t doing proper research or writing good cover letters, I often didn't get answers. And then the impostor’s voice would enter the back of my mind.
You’re not good, experienced, smart, or (insert adjective here) enough.
If you’re having these thoughts, it's totally normal. However, they shouldn’t prevent you from focusing on writing a good application.
Whenever I was feeling down, talking to a trusted friend made me realize that we’re all in the same boat. As soon as that voice would start, my friends were there to remind me of my accomplishments.
Don’t let a rejected or unanswered application make you doubt your self-worth.
4. Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback was the best thing I could do during my job searches because it helped me understand what I was doing wrong.
Maybe someone you know landed their dream job. Ask them for advice. My boyfriend, who took an entire course on how to write résumés and cover letters (lucky him!), was super helpful to me.
If you speak up, there will always be someone ready to help.
5. Stay away from these…
I know searching for a job can be tiring and not rewarding at first. However, keep it fair. Please don't lie about your experience or references (every serious company will check them), don't copy someone else's cover letter, don't brag about your successes.
If you don't have much experience, list volunteer jobs you’ve done, or state that you don't have experience on your cover letter. This shows that you’re committed to learning and already have some skills the company could benefit from, even if you’re not experienced in that field.
6. Calm your interview anxiety
If you have an interview ahead, congrats! And if you’re anxious about it, know that feeling nervous is normal and good: your body and mind are aware of this new challenge, and they are preparing you in their own way.
The most sincere advice I can give to help you combat your interview anxiety is to practice, practice, practice, especially with a friend or someone who can give you feedback.
If you feel embarrassed to talk in front of someone, turn around and talk to the wall.
Don't undervalue this step because feedback is vital for performance validation.
Search on the internet for the most tricky questions and possible answers. Study them, but don't learn them by heart. Watch YouTube videos on them or read previous employees' interview questions on websites such as Glassdoor. In a nutshell: prepare yourself in every possible way.
The more you practice, the more natural and confident you’ll feel during the interview.
And believe me: confidence, preparedness, and a natural attitude will stick to good managers, even if you lack experience.
From a personal point of view, every time I was facing an interview, the HR or managers always tried to ease me. In the end, questions were always more manageable than what I expected because I prepared myself.
7. Be yourself
If you did stand-up comedy like me and like cracking jokes, you might be thinking of breaking the ice with your potential managers. Well, while being natural is important, don’t get too comfortable. Remember who you’re talking to and why you’re there.
But don't be afraid to smile and be spontaneous, either. Find the right balance.
Don't use words you wouldn’t normally use. Don't invent anything or say the typical clichés that don't really mean anything (switch this: “I have always dreamed of working in XY to make the world a better place” to "I would love to work in XY because it will help me…”).
Remember that the interview is not just a way for the company to evaluate and get to know you; it’s also a way for you to realize if you would like that particular job.
I hope these suggestions are helpful and that they’ll help you land your future job!