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  • Rich Haglund

Discouraged in your job search? Help others in theirs.

I've learned a lot over the last two years. I spent many months looking for a new job without success before deciding to build up my own legal and consulting practice.

When you go months searching for a job without success, it's hard not to feel like a failure. I doubted my current worth to potential employers and even questioned whether I had been as useful to my prior organizations and teammates as I thought I had been.

One truth I've discovered is that these feelings of inadequacy are self-centered. We mislead ourselves by dwelling on them. It's easy to think the whole process is about us and others' failure to see why we're the one they should hire. Following that logic, we discount the worth of many other job candidates. We imagine recruiters and interviewers have bad motives and are personally looking down on us. We assume we know exactly what hiring managers are looking for.

I found the best antidote to those feelings is to take time to help others. In just a few minutes you can help someone else by:

  • Sharing job search methods that have produced leads for you,

  • Admitting mistakes you've made so they won't make the same ones,

  • Connecting to people in your network well suited to help,

  • Offering suggestions on written materials or statements (everyone needs low risk opportunities to practice their answer to the "tell me about yourself" question), or

  • Just being an empathetic listener.

I was taught what to do by all the people who selflessly helped me. I was astounded at how quickly I found myself talking to people five steps removed from the person who was in my network at the time I started job searching. One person referred me to another who suggested I talk to someone else, and so on.

So, get outside yourself and get over those feelings!

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