Due to the COVID-19 pandemic you may be experiencing either unemployment or underemployment and are responding in one of two ways:
1. You’re taking advantage of your newly found free time to conduct an extensive job search while building yourself into someone employers will likely hire.
2. You’re happy to collect unemployment insurance and tell yourself companies aren’t hiring, so why bother looking for a job.
I’ve conducted many job searches and found certain personality traits were crucial for job search success.
Many will disagree with what I am about to say; it would negate their false narratives, excuses, and limiting beliefs (e.g., “I’m an introvert.”), which they attribute to their lack of job search success. I believe with effort and self-awareness, it’s possible to develop personality traits such as the following four which have been instrumental in my job searches being successful.
1. A healthy ego.
Your ego is a mental tool you shouldn’t stifle. The healthier your ego, the better your capacity to handle setbacks, criticism, and rejection.
When we think of a person’s ego, we’re most likely to say, “Daryan has a big ego! He thinks so highly of himself.” What’s wrong with Daryan thinking highly of himself?
Embrace your ego! Just be careful you don’t over embrace it and cross the line into being narcissistic. An out-of-control ego can be destructive, as we’ve seen with many public figures like Lance Armstrong. Armstrong allowed his ego to destroy and manipulate others and ultimately himself. Instead, you want to create and maintain an ego that firmly supports you in believing in yourself. Self-belief is the foundational characteristic of a good competitor.
2. A high stress tolerance.
Job searching is stressful, especially if your financial resources are limited. Not being able to deal with stress healthily has many downsides. The most significant: stress, and the resulting anxiety, can paralyze you.
I admit I think there’s a natural predisposition when it comes to stress tolerance. Some people naturally manage stress better — they have a more carefree view of life. Then there’s the person’s respective situation. (e.g., A person with a large bank account will have less financial stress.)
I use principles from ancient philosophy, such as stoicism, to avoid fear and worry as much as possible. Do I always succeed? No, but I’ve gotten much better at managing my stress.
3. Being level-headed.
This is a tough one for me: Staying composed in stress-inducing situations, which a job search is full of. In situations like not getting the job after four interviews or being ghosted after what you thought was a great telephone interview, you want to avoid having an emotional response.
Not that long ago, I’d get emotional during stressful situations. I finally got tired of it. I saw how I was harming myself and others, so I committed to controlling my emotions. Take it from me; if you want to be more composed, you can. You simply need to practice it.
4. Your energy and being persistent.
This is the biggest challenge for job seekers. Most things in life require long-term effort before any payoff. Unfortunately, it’s natural for our energy to go up and down. As a result, we’re not consistently persistent — and consistency is the key!
It’s not about how fast you are or how skilled you are. It’s about persistently making progress. You want to steadily “chip away” at your job search as if you’re destroying a wall. Destroy it in stages without wearing yourself down. If you go at it with force, even with a sledgehammer, you’ll only get tired and likely give up.
Ultimately, none of these traits will guarantee job search success. What these traits will do is keep your job search in continual motion so that at any given time, you have several pokers in the fire. You can’t afford to let a bad interview, not landing the job, having your application rejected by your dream company, or being ghosted by the hiring manager derail your search. I’m talking about developing a winning mindset — a mindset that keeps you moving forward with your job search.
Speaking of mindset, a mindset that tells you that you’ll be fine no matter what happens is always a great one to have.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. Send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.