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Getting a Job – It’s about Belief

by Rob Cross on April 25th, 2010

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Over the last few weeks I’ve met and helped a lot of people who’ve spent a very long time looking for a job after Graduating, but with no luck! One person had even been looking for 3 years without a single interview – yes, 3 years with not even an interview!

When I listened to each of these peoples’ stories, I kept coming to the same conclusion - each of them had a couple of things in common:

1. They were trying the same failing approach over and over again – hitting their heads against the same brick wall, you might say! and

2. They had stopped believing that getting a job was possible!

Ultimately, because they’d fallen into the trap of these two things, it was clear to see that they were stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy – if you don’t believe you’ll get a job, then chances are you wont!

Although there’s a lot more to the story of these people than what I’m writing, there’s one thing that each needed to develop; they each needed to learn to believe again - they each needed to change their state of mind!

Breaking the Prophecy – Change your State of Mind

When looking for a job, if you’re not having any luck, or, if you’ve discover that you’re in a self-fulfilling prophecy, there’s a few critical things you must do:

First,  recognise that whatever you’re trying, it isn’t working.If you’ve been repetitively knocked back at any stage of the recruiting process (initial application, phone interview, face-to-face interview, or assessment centre) it’s critical to stop and consider what you’re doing wrong. To do this, if you can, seek some feedback from the organisations you’ve applied to. They should be able to give you some insight as to what worked and what didn’t. If they won’t give feedback, then don’t worry. Depending on what stage you’re going wrong, seek to do a complete review of what YOU think YOU could be doing wrong. For example, if you’re not getting an interview from your applications, you need to take a serious look at your cover letter, CV and also your approach to your applications. There are plenty of experts who review CVs in the market, and if you can find a good one it’s worth investing to get them to take a look at what you’re doing. If you are failing at another stage then you need to reflect on every aspect of what you did to identify (i) what you did well, (ii) what you didn’t do well, and (iii) what you will do differently next time.

Second, keep the outcome in mind, but take one step at a time. In the process of getting a job it’s easy to become fixated on the end outcome, i.e. getting a job! Although starting with the outcome in mind is really important, focusing solely on it is dangerous because you pay less attention to the steps in between where you are now and getting a job. What I mean with this is that to get a job you must excel at all the steps in the process. This includes, developing an excellent CV and application, researching the organisations you have applied to, and rehearsing your key interview approach and responses. By keeping your outcome in mind, whilst also taking one step at a time to get there, you can make sure you excel at all the steps to success.

Third, keep the faith through being self-critical. When looking for a job, you’ve got to believe that you can get one. This means believing that the job you’re after is out there, and you just have to find it and earn it. To do this, you have to keep the faith. This will help you remain positive and focused. To do this however, linking back to the first step, you must stay self-critical. That is, you must be constantly reviewing, reflecting and improving what you’re doing so that at each stage of the recruitment process you are excelling. You don’t have to do this alone, because often when you’re in the heat of the moment trying to find a job it’s tough to step back and look objectively. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask those around you for help to ensure you are excelling in all areas!

A last thought on Getting a Job…

Getting a job is 50% about belief and 50% about your approach. And, believe it or not, but your belief will heavily impact your approach, and vice versa. Therefore, if you find yourself hitting your head against the same brick wall, then stop and take some time to see where you may be going wrong. Through doing this as objectively as possible you’ll be able to change your approach to ensure you’re successful!

For help with getting yourself in the right mindset and breaking out of a self-fulfilling prophecy as you look for a job, contact Grad Expectations at


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