Is imposter syndrome sabotaging your job search efforts?

5 Ways to manage Impostor Syndrome and land a job.

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In the course of your job search process, do you feel inadequate or incompetent for roles that there is clear evidence of success? Do you downplay your academic qualifications yet you have the papers? Do you credit your professional achievements and accomplishment to luck? Do you compare yourself to others and feel that you do not qualify to be at the table?  During interviews do you speak with little confidence over something you are 110% sure of? Do you undervalue your skills? If the answer to these questions is yes, you are likely suffering from imposter syndrome. 

Imposter syndrome is a feeling that you are not as competent as others think you are despite clear evidence of success. Many jobseekers suffering from this phenomenon have watched great opportunities pass them by because of underestimating their skills and qualifications or simply because of their unwillingness to take risks. Due to the unrealistic expectations these jobseekers place on themselves, it often results in settling for jobs that either do not challenge them, underpaid or roles that are not aligned to their passion and career goals. How then do you overcome imposter syndrome?

  1. Listing your achievements

Be intentional about listing down your achievements, accomplishments, and compliments. This builds inner self-awareness and confidence, erasing any perception or thoughts that your achievements are out of luck. This list is a great indicator that you are acknowledging and taking ownership of your strengths. Any time you feel inadequate for a role or an organisation, look at the list and you will be reminded of your strengths and capabilities.

2. Embracing imperfection

It is said that to err is human and in the job search process if you strive for perfection you will definitely let yourself down. Be brave enough to submit applications that do not meet all the skills and qualifications listed in the intimidating job description. Do not let your feelings of inadequacy stand in the way of your dream job. Rather than focusing on yourself, focus on the value you could add to the organisation. Also, talk to your network about their job search process and you will realize they also did not meet all the desired criteria listed in the job description.

3. Setting a realistic expectation

Many job seekers often set unrealistic job search goals mainly due to frustrations. Goals such as applying ten to twenty jobs in a day and securing a dream job in a month in unachievable. Truth is the job hunt process may take months or even years. Applying for fifteen jobs in a day equates to shooting aimlessly hoping to hit the bullseye.

Set healthy, tangible, and realistic goals regarding your job search process to make it successful. Focus on setting smart goals centered on your career goals, mission, vision, and target companies. Remember to allocate time to improve and develop your skills as with knowledge comes skills and with skills come confidence.

4. Engage a  hobby

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For most people, their profession is their area of expertise and is characterized by intense competition and high Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Having a hard time securing a job in your area of expertise may make one feel incompetent or a fraud. Finding meaning in other areas of life that are less competitive and with little pressure for perfection is highly advised. Allow yourself to take off the expert hat and have fun in and area that you enjoy. Read a book, draw, paint, travel and remind yourself that you do have some extra skills

5. Check in with a mentor

When the feelings of inadequacy checks in, Turn to a mentor for an honest evaluation. Exceptional mentors are in touch with imposter tendencies and are quick to respond with generous doses of affirmations and encouragement. This also provides a good opportunity for a job search process review, with a mentor helping you be more realistic and find your ground more easily once the self-doubt checks in.

Imposter syndrome is a dangerous frame of mind that leads to undesired consequences. If dealing with the problem, implement the above strategies and in time you will realize you are good at what you are doing. A little more confidence in your skills, capabilities, and achievements and you will get the job you want.

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