Summer’s over and everyone’s suddenly terrified that they’re not going to land that graduate role.
Despite fantastic qualifications and heaps of extracurricular activities, everybody already seems convinced that they’re going to fail.
The problem is, this attitude hurts your chances of getting a job. To an employer this lack of confidence comes over as a lack of initiative, a lack of drive. To them it’s unprofessional - a sign that you’re not competent, an indication that they’re going to have to walk you through every little stage and task. This isn’t something they’re looking for.
They’re wrong of course. This nervousness has nothing to do with capability, it stems from two areas - the first is a product of the horrible job market, the endless reminders of high competition and what’s at stake, the second is a lack of experience manifesting itself as a lack of appreciation of your own skills.
You can’t do anything about the first factor, it’s tough out there and all you can do is use that as motivation to work that little bit harder, be a little bit better than your competitors.
However, the second factor is something you can work on.
You’re better than you think you are
Just because you’re lacking in experience doesn’t mean that you don’t have valuable assets to offer a company.
The big graduate recruiters spend a huge amount of money reaching out to recent grads, trying to persuade them to work for their firm, you know why? Because you’re good! The economy hasn’t changed that.
What’s needed here is a change of attitude, while it might be true that you’re desperate, really desperate, for any job with the word graduate somewhere in the job description - there’s no need to let that come through in your job application.
People often liken job seeking advice to dating advice, well, this is one of those instances where that holds true. Just like with dating, desperation is never an attractive feature. Another well worn piece of dating advice equally applies - how can you expect others to appreciate you, if you don’t appreciate yourself?
You do have valuable skills that you can bring to a company and you need to remind yourself of that fact throughout the job hunting process - if you don’t even believe that yourself then how can you expect an employer to?
The only difference between you and the people who are assessing your application is that they have a few more years under their belt. Again - you’re good, that’s why big employers spend so much money on their graduate recruitment programs - they want what you have to offer, so stop selling yourself short!
Learn how to sell yourself
Try thinking about the job hunting process as a service provider to business relationship.
The candidate has services to provide that the business wants, the application and interview process gives the business a chance to see who will offer them the best service for their money.
In any transaction it’s not the business’s job to lead the service provider through the process, the service provider has to demonstrate clearly and efficiently why a business should choose their product or service over the competitions. To even begin to do that, they first need to have confidence in their product, and that’s exactly what you as a job seeker need - confidence in yourself.
This is sales 101
Spend some time learning how to sell yourself. The first step is to gain an appreciating of the skills you possess and why these skills are valuable to an employer, the next is to learn how to communicate this value. This is not an easy task, particularly if you naturally lack self confidence. A good place to start is to imagine yourself as an employer - why would you hire you?
So don’t approach every application thinking “Oh god I wonder how many people have applied? I bet I don’t have the right experience!” etc etc. Instead think positively, remember your strengths and approach it like this – “I’m good, I would be an asset to this company because of x, y and z and they should hire me”.
Shift your attitude, realise your worth and learn how you sell yourself!
Rachael works at Graduate Rescue, the online careers resource for job seekers