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You’re unemployed and you really need to find a job as soon as possible.  You have a job but it’s just not as fulfilling as it once was and you’re ready to make a move and grow.  A recruiter called and peaked your interest making a move and taking your career to a new level.

Any of these scenarios sound familiar? No matter your particular situation in the job hunt, there is one particular skill necessary to have in order to make it through the process without pulling your hair out or throwing your hands up in the air and giving up: Patience.

But, you need a job, right!?  As a job seeker, aren’t you supposed to be aggressive in your search?  Aren’t there hundreds of other people out there vying for the same jobs?  Don’t you need answers right now so you know what your next steps are?

Patience may sound a bit counter intuitive to the process, and it may not be a secret, but if you can master it during the job hunt, you will come out on top and here’s why:

Strategic Thinking

All of our decisions are heavily influenced by subconscious behavioral biases.  This is why we often make snap judgments, waste valuable time doing unnecessary work, and unfairly assess problems.

As a job seeker, it’s essential that you take time to reflect on each decision you are making.   As the old saying goes, haste makes waste.  When you are showing patience with your process, you can evaluate things more clearly and come to terms with the reality that is presented in a truer way.

When this happens, you can make more strategic decisions about which roles you are applying to and how you approach the process.  Instead of letting your initial biases distort your thinking, you can outsmart the competition by taking a more tactical and planned approach to your search.

Instead of applying to every job out there and plastering your resume in every database and online profile where you may start to come off as desperate and un-hirable, you can pick and chose which avenues are best to showcase your talents and become a hot prospect.

Murphy’s Law

Most people know Murphy’s Law by the following definition: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong, at the worst possible time, all of the time, without fail , when you least expect it.

This can seem very pessimistic as though we have no control over circumstances or what will happen, but it is the very law itself that establishes the counter-argument: that we have control over any of the circumstances that can happen at any given time and not allow them to foul our path.

But, just in thinking strategically about your job search, you must have patience to approach the day to day process to avoid the pitfalls and roadblocks that present themselves throughout the job search.

“The greater our capacity to think clearly about our circumstances, and spot things that otherwise we would’ve ignored, then the greater the likelihood that we can turn disaster into potential  rewards that will serve us as we move forward into the future.” (A great read on the breakdown of Murphy’s Law can be found here)

You see as human beings we are all fallible.  We all have the ability to choke under pressure, especially in the job search.  No matter how skilled you are, how well you interview, when the pressure is on, it’s only human to choke.

“Nevertheless, choking is actually triggered by a specific mental mistake: thinking too much. The sequence of events typically goes like this: When people get anxious about performing, they naturally become particularly self-conscious; they begin scrutinizing actions that are best performed on autopilot.” (Read more)

This is why some candidates may actually make it to the final rounds of interviews (or even be the only one considered for the job) and blow their chances by harassing the hiring manager daily about their candidacy or making snide comments upon departure overheard by key decision makers.

A little patience and insight and these same candidates could have take a step back, went through the appropriate process of sending the requisite thank you note, taken a breathe, continued to focus on their job hunt, and then received that welcoming phone call announcing they got the job!  Instead they may have been met with silence or the dreaded rejection letter.

Don’t over think the process as a candidate.  There are hundreds of reasons why you may not have gotten a call back or received no response.  Patience is a virtue.  Focus instead on yourself and what you can do to continue to improve your chances the next go round.

Resolve

You’re set on a path to find a job.  Great.  Always remember your goal and not the disappointments along the way.  Learn from them as you go, but be resolved that the job hunt will take time and that you have the patience to find the right fit for you.  Any job opportunity you miss along the way was not meant to be and there are other, brighter opportunities ahead.

Don’t let loss aversion get you down on the job hunt.  What is loss aversion?

“Loss aversion [is] the well-documented psychological phenomenon that losses make us feel bad more than gains make us feel good. (In other words, the pleasure of winning a hundred dollars is less intense than the pain of losing the same amount.)” (Read more)

For many job seekers whose job searches go on for long periods of time, it is easy to get caught up in the many losses along the way, and to let them directly affect your attitude towards your search.  Depression, anxiety, and a negative outlook are all effects of this.

Have patience with your process and resolve that it will take time.  In doing so, you will not see these losses as failures but as stepping stones towards the goal you keep ever present.  You can separate yourself from the pain of the loss and be all the more ecstatic and happy when you do secure your new position.

For those that are unable to separate themselves from the losses, even if they are able to land a position, it may not feel as fulfilling as they’ve allowed the pain of the process to overtake the pleasure of their new job.

If you want to be successful in your job search, learn to have a little patience.  All good things come in time.  And the more patience you practice, the more clearly you can see ahead, and the more quickly the right opportunity may find you, in time.

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