Declutter your job search

460921013Searching for a new job can be an exercise in self-discipline as well as establishing a new mindset that accompanies a job change. Which brings me to the subject of clutter as in collecting thoughts that get you off focus during a time when your energy is needed to keep momentum flowing.

Experts say when your surroundings are cluttered it’s hard to focus on making progress and so it goes with your job search. For example, I once met with a job candidate who had a difficult time finding a job because his mind was constantly focused on updating his resume. He had over 50 resumes with each one being somewhat similar but different to him.

It’s not that he had dozens of resumes thrown about rather his mind was cluttered with so much information on writing a resume that he was consumed with having the perfect resume. He was so distracted that his search lingered for almost a year until he found a job, it might have happened much faster had he let go of thoughts that kept him unproductive.

Kudos for wanting to write a great resume, yet too much focus on one job search tool can create interference from your priority landing a good opportunity. Resumes are not the only things that can become clutter during a search – it can be the type of thoughts you gather on the way.

Believe it or not some of the greatest barriers are the ones self-imposed such as collecting negative thoughts about your skills. Focusing on the skills you don’t have rather than the ones you do will always create wasted energy. Yet candidates spend a great deal of energy comparing their skill sets to others without a solution in mind, they just dwell on skills rather than other contributions.

One way to reduce negative thoughts that clutter your mind is by naming your skills. Literally start listing all of your skills and what you will find might surprise you. Most candidates have more skills than first realized – it’s just not natural to go about listing them.

If you focus on transferable skills – the ones that can easily be transferred from one industry to the next – your chances of finding a good opportunity will increase substantially.

Another area that tends to clutter your job search is fear. Fear can transform a highly accomplished professional to one that is second guessing their ability to ever be needed. It’s only human to have some anxiety when job hunting because you are searching for opportunities that might exist or competing against others.

A job search is the great unknown to a certain extent and the ebb and flow of rejection can weigh heavily on your mind and accumulates. When fear becomes the only voice you hear throughout your search, it’s time to declutter and get rid of it.

Letting go of job search anxiety happens by taking fresh steps in a different way. For example, if what you are doing is not producing the results you want don’t give up – just try a different way. Answering job ads is part of a search, but many people will spend the majority of their time applying for jobs versus getting out of the house and meeting new people.

One of my good friends always reminds me of what fear stands for – False Evidence Appearing Real. Hanging onto thoughts that create barriers for you doesn’t help much. A good way to get rid of fear is to talk about it with others who can give you a different perspective. Focus on taking action steps that will most likely lead to a real job instead of collecting all the negative thoughts of what could go wrong.

Decluttering your job search is a great way to let go of past mistakes and things you could have done better and start over. Just like having a clean desk helps calm a busy mind, so does having a fresh start without all the self-imposed barriers.

What tends to clutter your job search efforts?

Kim Thompson