Developing the professional mindset

While on the job search for a full-time position, I noticed there was a disconnect between me “my natural self” and me “my professional self.” I would be so focused on the professional side of myself that I put personal projects and activities on the backseat. This is the professional me– a solid candidate dedicated to her work, that she is willing to do what it takes to succeed, with integrity.

For any job seeker, there’s a certain amount of fear that resides within them. No matter how confident you are, or how you believe you will get a job soon, there’s that impending uncertainty. Many try to shrug it off, but what worked for me was to manage the fear.

I acknowledged my fears and wrote it out on a list I titled, “Catharsis and Frustrations.” For every fear, I wrote a corresponding reason why this fear is irrational. As an example, I wrote that I fear not “being connected enough” then I countered it by thinking about my network and my strong interest in meeting new people, so I wrote that I am “connected, and these are the organizations I’m involved with, and the number of people I’ve met so far. What else can I do to be seen, and to see others?”

There came a realization during a low moment in the job search: I realized that I need right now to act like the professional I will be on the job.

On the job, I know I will be a good employee because I have proven it. Not only do I think I am well-trained and prepared for at least an entry-level position in marketing, but I also have a passion for developing myself, for learning something new. I adapt quickly– which was something I had to do a lot of while growing up– to new environments, new people, new situations. In all the places where I’ve worked, I arrive at work earlier than most, and leave late (without getting into overtime, if it’s not need).

Yet for a bit of time during the job search, I was frustrated. I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere I wanted to go. I have big dreams, and I can’t even get to the first step. And, like the makings of an onerous avalache, little thoughts of self-doubt started trickling it. “Even though I think I have the smarts, perhaps I’m not good enough to be hired?” “Maybe, I’m not ready after all?”

Fortunately with the support of those around me and learning to manage my fears, I was able to snap out of it. I thought to myself, “How do I keep current and develop my professional skills, while in the process of seeking for opportunities?” I started treating the job search like a project in the business world.

What are the parallels between the job search process and a business project? First of all, both are situations in the real world (Yes, not having a job doesn’t mean we’re not part of the real world). Both of these situations require project management, as well as time-priority management. They also require business development skills to seek and follow leads. They involve identifying resources, and learning how to work with limited resources. They also include enlisting a team of individuals who will help you be accountable for your work.

I need right now to act like the professional I will be on the job. I will expound on the bolded points in later posts.

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