3 Critical Questions – Stepping Out of Comfort Zones on the Job Search

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Photo by Mette Køstner on Unsplash

Familiarity breeds confidence. It’s natural to default to applying to the same jobs with the same responsibilities. Besides, employers are looking for your exact experience in certain roles, right?

Well, yes. But you are likely limiting how far you can advance in your career by pigeonholing your skills and experience. 

In fact, you may find your transferable skills are highly desirable in another industry altogether. And when you consider your breadth of skills and experience and how they translate into other roles, you open yourself to boundless opportunities. 

Learning to step out of your comfort zone in the job search is important. So here is what to ask yourself to build your job search confidence and apply to the job you really want!

What is the most important thing you look for in a new job?

For some people, it’s salary and benefits. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that! You have bills to pay and maybe even a family to care for. This is a common default so let’s start here. 

If you’re looking for a higher salary or better benefits, consider how difficult it may be to compete for higher-paying jobs in your industry. What is it you’re lacking? If it’s years of experience, you may want to focus on gaining more years with a particular job title and responsibilities. 

However, looking closely, you may see additional requirements you could meet by working in a different role with similar responsibilities. You may even be able to find better career advancement opportunities by shifting to another industry.

If you’re looking for values and culture you align with, you really open up your options. Of course, you still need to make a decent living, but you could refresh your job search by looking for brands that speak to you. 

From there, you can identify appealing job openings with responsibilities and requirements you can meet. Even if you don’t have all of the experience necessary, your passion and willingness to learn could be what lands you the job of your dreams. 

Don’t let money hold you back, build your job search confidence while finding your passion!

What is the skill you feel most confident about?

Think about it. What do you do really well and feel the proudest about? Identify what it is about your job (or previous roles) that you enjoyed doing day after day. That should be your new job search. 

Looking at just the titles you’ve been given over the years is not enough. Companies have different needs depending on their company size, industry, and product or service. That means the same title from one company to the next could entail different responsibilities, even if they are listed similarly on job posts.

When you silo your job search to job titles, you risk applying for and possibly landing a job that’s very different from what you expected. As a result, you’ll either end up unhappy and feeling stuck or back out searching for another job.

Instead, if you think about your career interests and do some research to identify jobs that require your best and brightest skills, you’re more likely to find a job you love. And it may surprise you that you end up in an industry you never expected.

What skills do you want to improve?

Finally, list the skills you have always wanted to develop. Not just need to improve to get a better job, but what abilities do you want to improve?

Now, what is holding you back?

There’s a good chance the kinds of roles you’ve held so far have not offered the flexibility for you to focus on skills-building. For example, let’s say you would love to become fluent in another language. Yet, you struggle to find time to study outside work and learn better with personal instruction or immersion.

This might be a good time to look for a job with a company with a diverse or international team that offers tuition reimbursement. Perhaps the classroom environment is best for your learning style, and having courses paid for would be the motivation you need to carve out time to develop your skills.

You can begin to feel hopeless in your job search when the right opportunity doesn’t turn up after weeks or even months of searching. But it could be because you’re searching in all the wrong places by keeping yourself in a habitual application cycle!

Rebuild your job search confidence! Press pause today and ask yourself what you really want to find, love to do, and hope to develop. You might just discover that the jobs that felt ‘comfortable’ before couldn’t feel more unnatural. So step outside your comfort zone and find the job market is teeming with opportunities. 

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