Everyone StrugglesFeeling inadequate is something everyone encounters. Seriously. Go ask a friend if they feel completely confident in their qualifications or whether they feel 100% competent straight across the board, I promise they won’t say yes.
In the age of the Internet, it’s hard not to compare your life to someone else’s. Typically, people only show you their “highlight reel,” which you then compare with your “blooper reel”. You don’t often get the full story. You may see a friend who appears to have endless success at work and in their personal lives, but if you were able to peak behind the curtain, you would see that they feel the same about themselves when comparing.
No matter how qualified or successful someone is—they are struggling too. Everyone who became successful had to start somewhere. You will get there.
Every Forward Movement Is An AccomplishmentIt’s daunting and disheartening to look at the entire big picture. You look down the road and see the countless steps you’ll have to take to get to your goal. This is normal, but it’s important to take a breath and remember that you’re not tackling every step at once. You just have to start somewhere. Break the big picture down into smaller bites, no matter how small you have to make them.
Remember that each step, however small, is a forward movement, and those are something to be proud of. If you have to start by simply getting out of bed, so be it. Now move on to the next. Don’t look further than the step you’re on and don’t stop on it either. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent.
Take positive action and take pride in having done it. Work your way up to the finish line. It’s a marathon, not a sprint (ha ha).
It’s Okay To SuckEveryone sucks at something.
It’s okay to be bad at things when you first try them. I was talking with a friend who teaches Kindergarten. She was explaining to me that she has to work with her students to go with their instincts and to experiment. She told me about one of her lessons in which she showed her students a bunch of numbers and (simple) equations. None of these had real, correct answers. She simply asked them to do whatever they liked with those numbers. To experiment. Several of her students cried and begged her to tell them what to do. Despite knowing there was no right or wrong answer, they feared the idea of getting something wrong. It dawned on me that this was how I grew up. This is how many of us grew up. I was too afraid to make guesses, to put myself out there because the embarrassment of being wrong was so scary to me. To this day I struggle with trial and error.
But trial and error is crucial. Mistake making is one of our greatest tools for learning and improving. It’s okay if you’re bad at something when you first attempt it. Just try anyway. Who cares if you got it wrong? What’s the worst that happens? It’s okay if someone else did it better or different or faster. Everyone has his or her own timeline and if you keep at it, you will get where you need to go.
Challenge yourself to try, and remember to be kind to yourself when you fail. It’s a learning process.
Things Will Come TogetherGetting a resume or cover letter to its fullest potential (if there is such a thing) takes time. Trends change, different companies look for different things, you learn as you go. Landing a job often takes several attempts before panning out. It’s frustrating; it’s time-consuming. But if you’re working hard, things will come together eventually.
You Can Start OverI can’t tell you how many times I’ve redone my resume and my cover letter. But I feel better and better about it each time. Scrapping your “work” can be very beneficial.
But starting over can be about more than just resumes and cover letters.
Sometimes starting over can mean finding a new job after leaving the comfortable one you’ve had for several years. Sometimes it means having the courage to leave a bad job for one that is better suited to you and your needs.
Starting over is often part of the process. It’s scary, but sometimes necessary. You won’t be the first to do it, you won’t be the last, and you can muscle through it.
There’s No Shame In Asking For HelpWhether it’s networking or having a few more eyes on your resume and cover letter, asking for outside help is smart—not shameful. I think our American culture tells us that we aren’t worthwhile if we take a long time to get somewhere or if we need some outside assistance getting there. Americans like to brag about the backbreaking work they’ve done and they wear these long work hours and solitude like badges of honor.
Quite honestly, screw that.
Ask for help. You’ll find that most people are eager to lend a hand. Ask trusted friends or co-workers to look over your work. Use the people you already know for connections. Everyone knows someone. Most people like to feel useful; they like to know they had a hand in helping a friend get a job or in getting them where they needed to go. Even if you simply utilize a service like Hashtag CV, it’s a smart move if you need the help.
Rejection Is A Good Thing In DisguiseIt’s cliché, but it’s true. Rejection is good practice. So you didn’t get that job you just applied for. You applied; you put yourself out there. You made an effort. This is important and gives you necessary exposure and experience. Don’t let your rejections be roadblocks. Reframe your thoughts by turning them into motivators.
Every Experience Can Be ValuableYou can put a spin on anything you’ve experienced in life. I don’t mean lying. But everything you’ve been through has taught you something. You may feel inexperienced, but there are ways to frame everything you’ve done in life as something valuable. It can be as simple as being the person everyone comes to when something is wrong. This makes you reliable, trustworthy, compassionate, and a problem solver. Boom. One more thing going for you.
Find the spin and use it to your advantage. You may feel you don’t have much going for you on paper, but I promise there’s more to you than you give yourself credit for.
It’s Never Too LateIt doesn’t matter whether you’re a recent graduate who’s been dragging your feet or if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent entering or re-entering the job world, or whether you’ve hit some rough patches in life and haven’t been in the job world for some time. You can always start again.
Don’t let your circumstance dictate how you’ll take action in your life. Some things are out of our control, but how we look at situations and the steps we take to move forward aren’t. Don’t let the fear that it’s too late keep you from your actual potential.
Don’t Forget To Be Kind To YourselfI mentioned it earlier, but it deserved some extra elaboration no matter how self-explanatory it may be. This is a challenging process and it takes courage and perseverance to get where you want to go. Beating yourself up for rejections, mistakes, or lack of experience won’t help you. It’s easy to criticize yourself, yet surprisingly hard to pat yourself on the back. It’s important to learn to do this though. You will need to be your own ally to succeed.
You can do it.
Paige is a recent graduate from the University of Missouri where she got her degree in English. She is going through the job search process just like you and writing about her findings as she goes. When she’s not blogging about the working world, she’s hanging out with her niece and daydreaming about travel.