Category Archives: Psychology of Job Searching

QUIZ: Are you afraid to ship?

Source: via Kristin on Pinterest

Sounds good, doesn’t it? And if you’re one of those people who’s constantly having “open mouth, insert foot” moments, you need this advice.

But if you’re one of those people* who uses those words of wisdom as an excuse to wait just a while longer for the perfect idea, stay quiet until you know just the right thing to say, or tirelessly revise projects that don’t really need it… STOP. And just ship something.

*Full disclosure: I’m one, too.

Odds are, you know which camp you’re in. But in case you’re not sure, here’s a quiz. If any of these behaviors sound remotely like you, start shipping a little more often and thinking a little less.

You’re a job seeker with a fear of shipping if you have:

  • Agonized (for more than 30 seconds) whether “best regards” or simply “best” is more appropriate
  • Rewritten the third bullet point of the fifth job description on your resume five times, and you’re debating a sixth round
  • Spent an hour fussing with an information interview request only to give up because you can’t get it quite perfect, and you’re sure you’ll sound like an idiot
  • Gone into interviews so over-prepared that you couldn’t deviate from your script enough to be effective

If that sounds like you, I can help. As a recovering perfectionist, I understand where you are and what’s holding you back. Just get in touch, and we can put together a plan to have you shipping like a pro in no time.


The crazy-easy way to start a gratitude journal – and some ideas on what to say

After talking about the benefits of gratitude journals last week, I promised I’d share my favorite online gratitude journal. Soooo, drumroll please:

Why I love it

  1. It is dead simple. It’s so simple, I don’t have to remember to use it. Happy Rambles sends me an email with the subject line, “What are you grateful for today?” I just reply with my answer, and away it goes, stored in my private account on their site.
  2. It’s a blast from the past. In addition to asking me what I’m grateful for, the email also includes a past entry and asks, “How good was this?”
  3. It’s consistent. Every night at 8 p.m., I know that little email will show up in my box, and it makes me take just a few minutes and think about the good things in my day.

How it works for me

You can reply in most any form — paragraphs, bullets, photos, even incoherent sentences if that’s your thing. It’s easier and less daunting for me to write three things in a simple numbered list, so that’s what I do. It usually takes anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.

It’s okay to focus on the small things

When I started out, I thought I might run out of things to say; being grateful for friends and family every night would get boring in a hurry.

But I quickly figured out that it’s more fun to focus on the small random things that make you smile or laugh. Here are just a few examples of quirky little things from my journal:

  • The yard guy who stops to pick up wind-blown trashcans
  • Fall moon on a periwinkle backdrop
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Getting a compliment on my new sweater
  • Negotiating with Time Warner
  • New sidewalk from my office to Rite Aid
  • Fresh, delicious, yummy-smelling bagels
  • New laptop battery

Bonus idea for job seekers

Use your gratitude journal as a way to record progress in your search. Make it a goal to have one positive piece of job-search news to report each night. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe you found a new company to research, made a new contact, had a great conversation, figured out a new way to frame your skills, or got a target company to retweet something you said.

So, what are you waiting for? Pop over to Happy Rambles and get your own journal!

In honor of Thanksgiving: Benefits of a gratitude journal for job seekers


What better time than Thanksgiving Eve to talk about gratitude journals? If you’re here, some of you might be thinking, “Um, I don’t have a job, and you want me to say thank you?”

That’s really the point. When you’re job searching, it’s easy to focus on the negative things — the resume you sent that didn’t get a response, the interview question you flubbed, the networking meeting you couldn’t get. A gratitude journal forces you to focus on the wins, however big or small, related or unrelated to your job search.

BTW, a gratitude journal can be as simple or complex as you want. It can be on paper or online. It can be in paragraphs or in bullet points.  Next week, I’ll show you my favorite online gratitude journal. It’s super easy, and it’s free.

Mmk, so, specifically, what are the benefits?

People who keep gratitude journals…

  1. Are more likely to make progress toward goals.
  2. Sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed.
  3. Are less stressed out by everyday hassles.
  4. Do more exercise.
  5. Are more optimistic about their future.

Are you convinced yet? You’ll have more energy to put into your job search, you won’t be as discouraged by little things that go wrong, and you’ll feel more confident about your chances of success. It’s a win-win-win.

So let’s get the ball rolling. Leave a comment with something you’re grateful for, career related or otherwise.

I’ll start — it’s November 23, and it’s almost 70 degrees outside. And I’m grateful that of everything you could be doing, reading and thinking, you’re spending some time here. Thanks, it means a lot.

Need a jolt of pre-interview confidence? Put down your smart phone and head to the bathroom, says Harvard research

If you spend the minutes before your interview nervously tapping away at your phone, STOP! And watch this video.

OK, it was 17 minutes. Maybe you didn’t watch the whole thing.

Quick summary: Harvard research shows that our confidence and stress levels can change in just TWO MINUTES depending on how our bodies are positioned.

If you sit hunched forward — like you do when you’re reading news on your phone — your stress hormone (cortisol) levels rise and your confidence hormone (testosterone) levels decrease.

BUT, good news! If you spend just two minutes in a ‘power pose’ (the researcher’s term, not mine), you will see opposite effects. Stress levels decrease, confidence rises.

Even better news, the study shows that people who adopt power poses are more likely to get hired, largely because they come across as more charismatic and enthusiastic.

Are you now wondering how to pose powerfully? Look at the video image. She’s in a power pose. She’s standing up straight and tall, with her chest puffed out and hands on her hips. Her body takes up as much space as possible.

That’s why the researcher advises heading to the bathroom before your interview. You’ll be standing up on your way there, and inside, you’ll be able to spread out a bit without attracting weird looks from the receptionist.