Traditionally Halloween is a spooky and scary time and for some this is magnified by a need to find that ultimate treat - an elusive but rewarding job. As you go ‘knocking on doors’ for jobs, you might feel haunted by the ghosts of your past experiences, previous rejections, uncertainty and self-doubt.
You need useful tricks to challenge your perspective and prepare and build your resilience because this can help you face these job-hunting fears. So, let’s open the creaky door to the haunted house of job-hunting. Pluck up your courage and let’s face those concerns with our Alumni Careers Manager, Konstantina Dee.
One of the most common fears experienced by recent graduates is around what happens after many years of hard study when the course ends. Completing your degree is a huge accomplishment and a major life milestone. You should expect to feel excited and relieved, hopeful and optimistic. However, at the same, transiting into a working life after full-time study can be daunting and overwhelming, and you may experience some anxiety about your next steps.
Whether you have found your job or are still looking for it, the post-graduation period can put many demands on you. Firstly, you should give yourself a treat:
It’s important to treat the period ahead as one of transition and remember that this will not last forever. You are opening the next chapter of your life, so pause and reflect on your experiences as a student. What were the things you enjoyed and excelled in? What are your core skills and strengths? What are the areas you can improve on?
Finding the ‘right’ career path regularly comes up in coaching conversations and some might fear committing to one field or one role. Many may feel anxious that they are making the ‘wrong’ choice. In reality, all experiences can be useful if you use them as learning.
Be open to explore options rather than finding the ‘perfect’ job right away. Nowadays we have multiple careers and many build portfolio careers, which can bring the satisfaction and reward you may need for your own personal development, as well as providing a wider and more varied set of experiences. Remember there are many potential right choices just waiting to be found.
Although it sounds scary, networking has been proven to be a great way to land a job. Even at a recent event some of our alumni shared that building connections with peers can lead to referrals, gaining insights and creating opportunities for future collaborations.
A top treat for you comes from Angel Zhou, Alvin Varghese and George Matolis (WBS alumni):
Network, network, network
Review your existing network and tap into the WBS Global Alumni Networks and Professional Networks. Having conversations with these people will help you to find out more about different organisations and their cultures. The informational conversations will offer you insights into the industry and you can use this knowledge to demonstrate your commercial awareness at a future interview.
And if you still feel uneasy about networking, check out Peers and Careers: Labour Market Effects of Alumni Networks (Gorshkov et al, 2021), where the authors state: “We find that students benefit from their alumni network by gaining access to more stable and higher-paying jobs”. In addition, the results of the Breaking the glass ceiling: How MBA programs can make a big difference research by Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) “suggest that female networks play an important role in women’s career advancement, especially for those working in male-dominated sectors.”
The job search itself can be daunting. The news about the challenging environment in the job market can impact on everyone’s confidence. This does not mean that you should give up, on the contrary remain optimistic and keep going or if you are familiar with the Spotlight profiling tool, just flex towards your Optimistic mindset preference.
You can treat yourself to adopting a different mindset.
Adopting a different mindset
Changing your mindset takes a moment. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said: “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how to respond to them”. You can consciously do this as soon as you realise you are stuck in a fixed or less optimistic mindset. Use the mindset that will help you focus on the learning you have had and the opportunities that are in front of you, rather than on the things that could go wrong or the fear of facing rejections. You might have not done well at your last interview, but you got to the last stage of the application process. Why not look at the progress you have made since your last application when you were not even shortlisted? These are all small victories and it is no trick that you should celebrate the little successes on the way.
Don’t let your imagination haunt you with the statements like 'what if I fail' and 'what if I am not good enough'. Remember you have already fought a few ghosts and have acquired the skills to succeed. Instead of worrying, invest your time in preparation and research, in networking and in exploring different venues.
Reach out for support, including your WBS Alumni Careers service, and treat yourself to the next chapter of your amazing story.