8 Traits You’ll Find in Every Fearless Job Hunter

Jane Bianchi

fearless job huntWhy is it that some people just seem to effortlessly climb the career ladder? You know these folks we speak of: They always know how to dazzle during an interview, and they have a knack for nabbing that prime position before it’s even posted.

What’s their secret?

According to the authors of “Fearless Job Hunting: Powerful Psychological Strategies for Getting the Job You Want,” these are people who have mastered the job hunt by not only honing their skills but also building up the psychological know-how to get through a sometimes soul-crushing process.

We tapped two of the book’s coauthors—Bill Knaus, a psychologist who specializes in personnel selection, and Russell Grieger, a psychologist and organizational consultant—to find out what makes such so-called fearless job hunters tick.

Based on their research, Knaus and Grieger have pinpointed eight key traits that they say make these job-seekers so resilient—and a hiring manager’s dream.

Fearless Trait #1: They Accentuate the Positives

It’s easy to feel down on yourself after getting rejected for a dream job, either telling yourself that you’re a failure or that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. According to Grieger, that’s because “so many people wrap their self-worth around their careers.” There are, however, ways to dig yourself out of that hole of negativity, and approach the process in a more fearless fashion.

First, ask yourself whether what you’re thinking is logical—and whether it gets you anywhere. Here’s a hint: The answer to both should be no!

Then flip the script, and tell yourself, “This will be hard, but I can do it,” or “I’ve accomplished a lot in my life, and I’m fully capable of accomplishing this.” Even if your career prospects don’t pan out, don’t accept that as the be-all, end-all. Instead, say to yourself, “If I fail at this, it doesn’t mean that my whole life is a failure,” or “I have a lot to offer—if this interviewer doesn’t appreciate it, someone else will.”

Finally, give yourself a pep talk by writing down a list of your best qualities as a person, as well as an employee, and then read them aloud. This will help to build up your confidence—and further motivate you during the job hunt.

Fearless Trait #2: They Identify Their Hang-Ups

Does job hunting stress you out so much that you keep putting it off? Once you can confront your specific issues head on, you’ll put less stress on yourself—fearless job hunter-style.

Start by pinpointing what could be the underlying cause (or causes) of your particular hang-up, and then “strip away whatever loadstone you have on your back,” says Knaus. For instance, if you’re nervous that your résumé isn’t up to par, ask a mentor to critique it. Or if you’re unsure of what to say in an interview, practice with a friend and videotape the session, so you can review it and improve upon your delivery.

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  • Ayn Roberts

    On the point about having a passion for your job, I think it’s important to consider the idea that you don’t necessarily need to land your “dream job” in order to have passion and satisfaction in the work that you do – it’s as much about your perception of your environment as it is about your actual environment. Even just taking the time to search and discover the intersection of your values with the job you currently have can be a surprising and shifting experience for you, taking what used to be deemed as a lackluster position and mindfully finding what can make it meaningful to you.

  • Watchedby Angels

    This article sounds good unless you’ve had life experience. It’s not practical, though it sounds like it is. It is in effect one author’s theories. It’s not that it would not be a bad idea to put some of these into practice. Not everyone can. There simply aren’t that many good mentors out there, for example. Not everyone has access to one, even the best of people. The danger is that one might bounce one’s resume/interview abilities off the wrong person. Your mother is going to say you’re perfect. The guy in accounting is not going to understand what you need to do as a social worker. The professor feels he or she must make an intelligent point, yet has no real idea what an employer in your field is looking for. This is the type of article that “blames the victim” and makes most people who read it feel inadequate. It is like advertising or marketing, it creates the desire/need (feelings of inadequacy) that was not there in the first place. It is biased toward employers not job hunters. There are far better articles on interviewing.

    • will

      that was helpful b/c sometimes their articles sound good but are impractical

    • Tahoe Topher

      Way to encourage the writer…negative Nancy. You try to make it sound that like, by stating your opinion, you know what you’re talking about…welll, NOT.