Job Hunting: The Fear Factor

Friday, June 05, 2015

Jobseekers have to face and overcome fears to land the ultimate prize – that dream job. Unfortunately, many jobseekers fail to overcome their fear and miss out on opportunities. Below I will examine a few job hunting fears and some simple advice to help.

The Pit of Self Promotion

I meet many jobseekers who have under performing CVs as a result of their fear. These jobseekers hold back on outlining key achievements and successes on their CV because they are fearful that they will be perceived as boastful or big headed. Job hunting is all about selling yourself and if your CV doesn’t stand out then you won’t get interviews.

Tips to overcome this fear - You have to accept that self promotion is an important part of job hunting and creating an impact CV. Your success will excite hiring managers rather than turn them off. I recommend that jobseekers brainstorm work, education and personal achievements. Many struggle because our experience growing up forced us to hide our success rather than present it proudly to the world. Work colleagues, friends or professionals can help you dig up these gems and to overcome the difficulty of writing/integrating these achievements into your CV.

Interrogation Hell

The final task of job hunting is the dreaded interview. Most of the fear of interviewing is a result of the fantasy we create in our mind. From experience working with jobseekers I would say that the fear of interviewing would fall third after death and public speaking.

Tips to overcome this fear – Don’t ignore is the obvious – PREPARATION!! Investing time and energy into preparation will help reduce nerves and enhance performance. Change your perception of the interview experience. Don’t focus on the fantasy - grim faced interviewers in grey suits or angry interviewers trying to trip you up with difficult questions. Focus on the reality – Interviewers want you to succeed at interview because you could solve their staffing problem. Revisit your previous interview experiences focusing on past successes and pleasant interviewers (you will find that most were actually quite nice). Write out your top 100 success list and review this prior to interview. Reviewing past successes or challenges in our personal lives, work or education can make interviews seem insignificant and less daunting.

I read once that FEAR stands for “Fantacised Events Appearing Real”. When I am afraid I challenge the fear and the fact that I am creating this fantasy. I revisit past experiences when fear was present and how the reality was very different. I relive the highs I experienced when I faced down and overcame my fears. Start facing down your fears and start delivering more positive results in the job market.


Paul Mullan is founder of Outplacement & Career Coaching firm Measurability. Services include CV writing, Interview Coaching, Job Search Strategies & Online/Offline Marketing (aka Personal Branding). Paul’s Blog offers useful articles and job hunting advice.