The job search process can be one of the most stressful professional experiences we can have. It’s riddled with unknowns and out-of-our-controls, like “Will this job be a good fit for me?” and “Am I qualified?” and “Will they choose me” and “Will I even enjoy it if they do!?” The job search can feel like a whirlwind of uncertainty and insecurity and disappointment, and it can sometimes be hard to find ourselves in the process. I recently went through a significant job transition, a process that took months and came with lots of “almost-yes-es” and “not-quites” and “not-yets.” Despite so much being out of my control, I found myself identifying some steady footing. If you’re considering a job change, or currently in the process of seeking that next opportunity, I hope to offer some encouragement and strategies that helped me approach the process with authenticity, confidence, and clarity.

Approaching with Authenticity

Your only job during the job search process is to show up as yourself at every stage. That’s it. Seriously. We spend so much of our time in life making decisions with other people in mind, constantly weighing and taking in the expectations and opinions of our friends, our partners, our kids, our colleagues, that stranger we met one time (I get it, really, I do!). During the job search, it is so important that you just focus on being you, and here’s why. 

By showing yourself authentically through your resume, your cover letter, and in interviews, you get to set your own expectations. You get to say, “this is who I am, and I’m proud of her!” It guarantees that when you find the job that’s the right fit for you, it will be because it really is for you, and not for a version of yourself that you temporarily put on in order to impress or win someone over. The desire to be liked, to be perfect, to win people over, or to fit a perceived mold can lead us to become shells of ourselves. We put on a performance instead of showing up whole and real. But by showing up authentically, we set ourselves up to be able to continue being that authentic person when we move into that new role. Let them see you and get to know you for all you are. If they reject you, they have saved you from a place you didn’t truly belong. The right place will want not just your skills, but your brave, bold, authentic self, too.

Coaching Question: What does my authentic self look like? What would hold me back from showing up as this person in an interview?

Affirmation: I am enough just as I am. Any place that does not want my authentic self is not the right place for me.

Prayer: God, help me to show up everywhere as the person You created me to be.

Approaching with Confidence

Confidence begins at the very beginning of the job search process. A popularly cited statistic says that men typically apply for a job when they meet about 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. Women – we’ve got to stop that nonsense! We can reclaim and build our confidence by shooting for the moon every time. Do not sell yourself short, and don’t let your insecurities sell you out. You are your own best advocate. No one will ever have your back the way you have your own.

You know yourself, you know who you are and what you bring to the table. So go for it. I’ve often heard it said that when we interview for a job, we are as much interviewing them as they are us. Our confidence allows us to enter into interviews knowing and believing in our own worth – knowing deeply that our worth is not defined by our success, while also believing we are worth great opportunities. We are extremely good at telling our friends and families that they can do anything, but we put limitations on ourselves. We will likely not get everything we reach for, but our confidence builds a little bit every time just by taking the action of believing in our own value. We build our inner confidence – one that gets harder and harder to shake down so that eventually, small rejections feel like cobblestones on the journey to what is really meant for us.

Coaching Question: What are my insecurities in the job search process, and what truths can I tell myself to help combat those insecurities?

Affirmation: I am talented and worthy of exciting, new opportunities.

Prayer: God, help me to be confident in my unique capabilities, talents, and skills.

Approaching with Clarity

When we approach the process authentically and with confidence, we are able to see the entire process more clearly. It becomes easier to make decisions about which roles feel like a good fit and which ones don’t sit right in our gut. Having clarity in the job search process includes being realistic with yourself about your situation and asking yourself what it is you desire and what you are looking for.

There are all sorts of factors that come into play when we are making a big decision about our careers. If you’re currently out of work and in financial hardship, your decision-making about whether or not to take a job might look different than if you’re presented with an opportunity for a move you weren’t expecting. If you’re managing the emotional needs of a family at home, your process might look different from someone who is single and extremely mobile. Clarity means seeing with good vision what lies ahead and being able to answer honestly whether it aligns with your vision and passion. Clarity allows us to see and be aware of red flags throughout the process, like parts of the job, company, or people that make us uneasy or uncomfortable. Clarity is taking time to map out our vision, and then being honest with ourselves about whether certain opportunities align with that purpose.

Coaching Question: What am I looking for? How does this opportunity in front of me align with my vision and purpose?

Affirmation: I see all opportunities with clear vision and align them to my purpose.

Prayer: God, help me to see things clearly and to be guided in directions that serve Your purpose for my life.