Being unemployed is scary, there’s no two ways about it. I’ve changed jobs countless times – but quitting or being let go, without another job in place, is nerve-racking and can feel overwhelming. Personally, those unemployed, uncertain times in my past have stuck with me. I’m soon to enter unemployment again (as I’m moving to another country) and I wanted to share how I’m overcoming the self-doubt and lack of purpose I’ve felt in the past.
Lack of confidence and self belief
What is the problem with this lack of self belief? This leads to me only sending off my CV if I can tick off 99.9% of the desired attributes on the job description…
Confidence is something we dive into in a lot more depth during the Digital Innovators Skills Programme but I want to touch on it here, specifically regarding applying for jobs. I often feel that if I can’t do everything on the job description then there’s no point in applying, because I’m clearly ‘not good enough’.
But the truth is, ‘The requirements listed in job descriptions are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. You don’t have to satisfy every requirement or meet every qualification listed.’ If you feel you have a solid understanding of some of the attributes listed and that the role and company are a good match for you, then you should apply! After all…
Remember, soft skills like communication, adaptability and work ethic (highlighted in your CV and during your interview) will be taken into account alongside the practical skills you have previous experience in. From your soft skills, employers can gauge whether you have the right attitude and personality for the job as well as if they can train you further down the line. How else would we up-skill and develop our careers?
If you’ve convinced yourself a job is out of your league, consider that ‘data suggests that matching 50 percent of an ad’s requirements would be just as good as matching all of them’. Imposter syndrome affects all. However, the outcome of actually applying for the job will either be you get it or you don’t. If you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get it. So do yourself a favour and apply, you might be surprised by what you achieve.
Lack of purpose
Why do I feel like this? Due to my uncertainty around the types of job roles I’d like to apply for…
Leaving education or a job might enable you time to consider the vast array of other opportunities out there! But with this, for many of us, comes the realisation that you have no idea what you want to do next. You might feel passion and desire for something but can’t put your finger on exactly what it is. Thus, you begin to question your purpose.
Whether you’re seventeen, thirty-five or sixty-eight, a change in circumstances can create anxiety around what exactly you’re ‘meant’ to be doing next. But there are key things to appreciate when you’re feeling this way…
Firstly, you may not know it yet, but this feeling of unknowing is telling you that something needs adjusting or something new needs to begin. Maybe your passions or priorities have changed. Maybe you’re ready to discover a new skill. Whatever it is, you’re on a path of discovery. So, try to see this stage as the start of something, rather than an uncomfortable ‘inbetweeny’ bit.
Secondly, It’s cliche to say but it’s not just about the destination – finding your next job – it’s about the journey. It’s about learning about yourself during this downtime. It’s about trying different employers, job roles and salaries. It’s about work experience and personal projects. It’s about pushing yourself to enter situations that feel difficult, but coming out the other end having learnt and grown as a person. Those are the moments that will enable you to discover your purpose(s) – so try and embrace them whilst you’re taking this next step.
You’ve got this!
Now, we’ve established that you don’t need to have a PHD, 6 years experience and 4 volunteer roles alongside your last 9-5 in order to feel confident when applying for jobs. In addition, it’s important to remember that the word ‘career’ actually encompasses the journey towards finding a job as well as the time you’re employed, you can begin to take the next stride towards your next career goal.
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