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Friday, 24 February 2012

Job Search for Nervous People Like Me

SAN MATEO, CA - JANUARY 28:  Job seekers atten...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
If you are looking for work, one of the biggest obstacles can be your lack of confidence.


A large part of confidence comes from what we believe about ourselves. And if you already lack confidence, losing a job can be shattering.  You can find a very honest discussion of how it can feel at this link.

If, in your heart, you really don’t believe that you have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job then it is going to be hard for you to convince an employer. But are you sure your fears are well founded?


As well as that, you need to believe that you will have the communication and presentation skills necessary to get through an interview. Well, I can help you there. So what do you do?

Believing in your gifts

At this link you will find some information about writing STAR stories. The STAR method means that for each signifcant achievement in your working life you set out the;

·         S – Situation, the background – when where, who and why
·         T – Task or tasks, you need to be specific here – exactly what were you required to do and what was the required outcome?
·         A – Action, what you did and what skills you used, how you behaved? 
·         R – Result – Outcome, what happened – what were the benefits and how could you measure them?   How did the organisation respond?

People like hearing a well told story.  And telling your stories well at interview will ensure you are memorable for the right reasons; make them not too long though and they need to remain positive and realistic! 


But, almost more importantly, preparing your STAR stories can also be a real boost to your self confidence.  It is a way of reliving your successes and that can be good for all of us when we start to feel doubts.

See if you can find some STAR stories  – things you really believe in  - at least one for each of the skills needed in the job you are applying for.  

Take pride in writing your CV

These stories can provide the foundation for the CV you tailor for this opportunity and at interview. 


You know now that you have something to be proud of!  But it does matter that you choose a job that matches what you have to offer – don’t stretch yourself, and reality, too far! Bluffing your way through rarely works and certainly not when you feel you are on very shaky ground.

Practice, practice, practice!

You want to walk into that interview knowing that you are the right person for the job. Then you will feel far less nervous and you will feel confident.  


But quite often confidence comes with practice, particularly physical practice! So practice walking into the room, sitting down and telling what you have to give. You can do this at home and, if you can get a friend with a positive and friendly attitude to help you, so much the better.

Walk in with your head held high but your shoulders relaxed – imagine yourself doing it confidently on the day.  Practice a few relaxation techniques to help you along – here is one you can use on the day. Remember body language says as much as your words, so observe the gestures you use during your practice. Practice answering the probable first question – “tell me about yourself.?”

On the day

Take a few minutes to use your relaxation techniques before you go in.  Then do what you have practiced.  Listen carefully to questions, ask for clarification if there is anything you don’t understand and take time to answer.  Remember most interviewers really are on your side.  They want you to be the one! And, as for you, well, if you have done your homework, you will know that you are truly the star they are looking for!


You will find more of tips on my Leaving the Public Sector website and the link is below.