Being a success at something requires you to get uncomfortable. You have to do things you didn’t do before until you become competent — and awesome — at what you are trying to do. We do not make the Pro Bowl or All Star game without going through a lot of uncomfortableness. Even great talent requires practice and honing of skills.
This applies to getting a job. We’re not very good at doing it.
You see, the least used job skill we have is our interview skills. Because we use our job search skills so rarely, we don’t have a chance to practice and get good at them. Plus, you’ll note that there is never any constructive feedback — you are just told no, you didn’t get the job.
What do you need to push through to get comfortable with your uncomfortableness?
1. You need to practice answering interview questions
Here is the truth about interview questions: to do them well, you have to construct a story that shows the hero’s journey. It means you need to show the context of the work you were thrown into, the obstacles you overcame, and the results you achieved from your work.
In many ways, this is a contrived answer. You have to answer in a way that is not how we normally talk. One can’t go meandering around and check out rabbit holes and watch chickens cross the road when answering interview questions. No, one needs to provide context, actions you took to overcome obstacles, and the business results you achieved by the work you did.
It requires practice.
Most of us won’t practice answering interview questions. Especially out loud. We won’t analyze them after we tell our tale either.
I can tell you this, though: those that practice answering interview questions before an interview have a much higher chance of getting the job. And if they don’t get the job, they will go further in the interviewing process then their competition, only losing out to someone who fits the role better than they.
2. Successful job seekers understand how they do their best work
Are you introverted? Like to do your work alone? Like to collaborate with others? Spend time socializing with your coworkers? Love to drop in on your manager to ask a question? Or would you prefer your manager leave you alone?
It takes time to figure that out. One needs to sort through the bad managers, good managers, great teams and teams that sucked. From all that, you figure out what environment gives you the best opportunity to do your best work. Because that environment gives you the best opportunity to produce great business results — that hiring managers want to hire for their team.
Most people won’t try and figure out how they do their best work. They are just fed up with their current manager/company/coworkers that they just want out. Anything will do. But anything will do doesn’t work. Hiring managers can sense that a mile away.
3. Successful people build a broad-based support group of workers to share information
Or, networking. That ugly word. Can I tell you something? I am not good at this. I know lots of people, but don’t do a good job of keeping in contact with them, figure out ways to support them, and help them do their work. So someday they can help me with mine.
I can tell you this is hard. You have to organize contacts, figure out how to keep in regular contact with people, and do it when you have multiple, urgent, priorities staring at you from your lists. And, most important, doing this because you genuinely like the people you have on this “list” and want to have a relationship with them. But, in a choice between the urgent and the important, unfortunately, we pick the urgent to the detriment of the important.
Besides, working at building relationships is hard. You don’t have to look very far to see how true that is, do you?
Dealing with the uncomfortable is what makes us successful
Yet, successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. It’s a law or something.
But it is true. How successful in your job search do you want to be? How uncomfortable are you willing to be to get really good? Your answer to that will drive your job search success.