5 Tips to Be a More Vulnerable (and Successful) Job Seeker

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As you’re job seeking, it’s natural to feel vulnerable — but it’s also natural to want to do whatever it takes to avoid that feeling. No one enjoys leaving themselves open to possible harm (or in this case, rejection).

While vulnerability can be scary or frustrating, facing your fears can actually help you be successful in your job search. So rather than putting your guard up, admit when you hit a dead-end, ask for advice, and accept help. You do not have to do it all on your own.

Here are five tips for spinning your vulnerability into something positive and landing your dream job:

1. Identify your avoidance tactics

We all have ways of avoiding situations that make us uncomfortable. For example:

  • Letting the phone go to voicemail 
  • Avoiding eye contact during conversations
  • Making yourself busy with meaningless tasks
  • Simply staying in bed all weekend

Try to figure out what your avoidance tactics are. That way, you can start to notice when you’re doing them. Then, the next time you catch yourself avoiding a stressor, instead of falling back into routines that aren’t helping your job search, encourage yourself to make a change. 

Open yourself up to networking and information sharing with people in your ideal industry or company. Do something to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Only when you allow yourself to be a little bit vulnerable can you thrive as a job seeker.

2. Stop resisting offers

Being vulnerable also means accepting help when it’s offered. Many job seekers come to the conclusion that by accepting help landing a job, they haven’t truly earned the position. But this simply is not the case.

When someone volunteers to help your job search, hear them out! When you decide you’re too proud, you don’t want to be a burden, or the timing isn’t right, you’re only hurting yourself. Remember: There is no shame in getting help from other people.

Accept that offer to have someone review your resume. Check out the job listing your great-aunt sent over. Meet up with your friend’s coworker who works at your dream company. You never know what may come out of these opportunities.

3. Sharpen your listening skills

Were you listening closely when career coaches, interviewers, previous employers, and friends gave you job search advice? It can be hard to admit we need advice from all these people, but your job hunt is exactly the time to listen. They can be a great resource for a wealth of ideas you hadn’t considered yet.

Now that you’ve allowed yourself to be a bit more vulnerable and stopped resisting the help of others, focus on sharpening your listening skills. You can take a lot of value from encounters with people in your network, who could positively influence your job search success. You just have to be vulnerable enough to listen.

4. Open up to constructive criticism

Along with quality advice will also come some criticism. It is undeniably difficult to take criticism, no matter the scenario. But when you’re already a vulnerable job seeker, it can feel even worse. 

While you don’t have to implement every piece of advice you receive, your job search is also not a time to ignore critics. Keep an open mind when someone gives you negative feedback — this feedback is often where you’ll learn something new. 

When someone is willing to work with you and show you how to improve your resume, interview skills, or job search strategy, hear them out. If you can take the criticism and work on bettering your job search, you might have what it takes to land that job.

5. Admit that you’re worthy

Often, we automatically assume we aren’t qualified for the job we want, especially if the circumstances that lead to our job search knocked down our confidence. But try not to be so hard on yourself.

HR managers have reported that 42% of resumes they receive are from candidates who don’t meet the job requirements, according to research from global staffing firm Robert Half. Even better, 84% reported their company is open to hiring an employee whose skills can be developed through training. 

This proves that you can land a job without meeting every qualification on the list. You just have to own up to your flaws and let the hiring manager know you’re willing to learn on the job.  

Embrace your vulnerability — you are worthy of your dream job and will find it. 

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.