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3 Success Strategies For A Winning Job Search Attitude

Strategies For A Winning Job Search Attitude
Written by: Nina Mazurova

I get to see the hiring process from the inside out.

And what I see is that applying for a job is looking more and more like speed dating.

You are given a very limited window to prove that you are the right candidate for the job and the employer is given the same small window to make sure you will fit well into their team.

This compressed time frame means that your first impression is all you have to get your foot in the door.

You may think that you are perfectly suited for a job, but the employer is not always going to agree.

You will not always get a response when you submit an application.

You are not going to be the right candidate for every position you apply for.

This may be hard to hear, but you will face lots of rejection.

It is easy to become downtrodden and upset when all the effort that you are putting into your job search is met with nothing but rejection.

To have a successful job search, you must be resilient.

Getting an industry position is not going to happen overnight.

You do not have control over the decision-making process at a company.

Focus on what you can control, your attitude, and your job search mindset.

When I see candidates who aren’t sure why they are searching for a job or don’t know what type of job they actually want, I know the road ahead of them is long.

Do not make the mistake of neglecting the foundation of your job search: your mindset.

Half of the working population hate their jobs

Why Your Job Search Attitude Matters

Searching for and choosing your next job is not a decision to take lightly.

The commitment to personally invest your time and capacity in a new job is significant.

However, the hiring process from which we must make that decision is not ideal.

From merely having a phone conversation and meeting the team in an interview, you will have to decide whether or not you wish to ‘marry’ that job for 40+ hours per week.

According to a survey by the Conference Board reported in Forbes, only 50% of employees are satisfied with their jobs and according to Glassdoor, only 49% of employees would recommend their employer to a friend.

Half of the working population spends 40+ hours per week in a job that they do not like.

Having the right job seeker mindset before you begin your job hunt is the best way to ultimately find yourself in a job that you enjoy.

Knowing exactly what you want from a job will allow you to avoid wasting time applying to companies that do not fit your requirements.

The average job search process, as reported by Time, takes 43 days.

This number increases to upwards of 70 days when you are targeting those management and C-level positions that are well-suited for PhDs.

Don’t waste time and effort applying for jobs that you will ultimately be unhappy with.

Set yourself up for industry success by preparing yourself mentally with a strategic mindset.

3 Essential Steps To Developing A Strategic Job Search Attitude

Finding the industry job you want and leaving the troubles of academia behind you is an exciting time.

There are many different types of industry positions available to PhDs.

But the challenge comes in figuring out which position and company is the right fit. How can you know which job is the one for you?

By starting off with the right mindset.

Before you begin your job search, you should ask yourself some tough questions about why you are looking for a job and what you want to accomplish.

Take some time to assess your core values and be prepared for the ups and downs of a job search so you don’t get discouraged.

Here are three steps to developing the right job seeker mindset so you can secure the industry position you want…

The ability to maintain your motivation, momentum, and effort during a job search are critical to success

1. Figure out your why.

There are multiple steps in the job hunting process and very few are within your control.

To maintain your sanity in this uncertain environment you must know why you are job hunting.

The ability to maintain your motivation, momentum, and effort during a job search are all dependent on your answer to the question, ‘Why?’.

Your why depends on your emotions, your focus, and what ultimately drives you forward and gives you fulfillment at the end of the work week.

Without a why your job search will fail.

The why is your mental foundation and you must build this foundation before you begin your search.

You cannot build a house without first laying the foundation.

Once you know why you want to leave academia and get an industry job, defining the steps to get there will be much easier.

The ‘how’ is always secondary and infinitely easier to tackle when you know why you are pursuing that direction in the first place.

Everyone has a different driving force. Figure out what your pain points are and use them as motivation to get out of academia and find a fulfilling career in industry.

2. Pace yourself.

The excitement of starting or shifting your career can be haunted by uncertainty, doubt, and exhaustion.

You may have been told that a career in industry is a lesser option compared to academia. (It’s not.)

You may think that you are not qualified for an industry position. (You are.)

You may have no idea how to develop a job search strategy. (Here’s help.)

These worries are normal, and overcoming them is all part of a successful transition from academia to industry.

But, you are not going to make the transition overnight.

Burning yourself out will kill your momentum, whereas strategic consistency will keep your momentum moving for the full distance.

Staying up all night and submitting your non-optimized resume to 20 jobs online will lead to burnout.

A job search strategy that relies on networking and targeted resumes will keep you motivated for the long haul.

Whether you are actively searching for a new job or you are still completing your PhD and passively keeping an eye on the job market, the same fundamentals apply.

There are so many unknowns when applying for a job, you need to be prepared to maintain your motivation long-term.

One candidate will receive a phone interview request six months after submitting an application, while another candidate who submitted an application on a Thursday will confirm an on-site interview for the upcoming Monday, with an offer before she even reached home.

The take-away for job hunters: pace yourself.

Pursuing interviews and making every step with your best foot forward is not only taxing, but can be demoralizing when your effort elicits nothing but rejections and silence.

After submitting your application, there is little that you can anticipate accurately.

Spare yourself the stress of guessing and instead focus your energy on the pieces that you have control over.

A career is a journey of collecting many skills and tools while moving closer to your personal endgame, which ultimately will become your legacy

3. Strive toward your ultimate goal.

Once you have figured out why you are looking to transition from academia to industry, and have a long-term job search strategy in place, make sure you are heading toward your ultimate goal.

Figure out your dream endpoint. Think big.

Do you want to be a director at Genentech? Do you want to work from home earning six figures? Do you want to be the CEO of a successful startup company?

Whatever your goal is, it does not mean that it must be your first industry job — it simply means that you now know what your long-term plan is.

With a long-term goal in place, you can determine what skill set you will need to develop to get there.

What skills will allow you to impact a space filled with individuals that have already had success in what you are hoping to achieve?

Focus your current job search, and any subsequent job searches, on gaining the skills and experience needed to bring you closer to your ultimate goal.

A career is a journey of collecting many skills and tools while moving closer to your personal endgame, which ultimately will become your legacy.

Your mindset is the catalyst for your job search. It can spread your fire or extinguish it. Reaching the industry position of your dreams is not going to happen immediately. You will need to be mentally strong and strategic to achieve success. If you clearly define your why before you submit a job application and keep an eye on your long-term goal, the unavoidable obstacles that appear during your job hunt will not be as demoralizing. Getting out of academia and securing a position in industry is possible, as long as you develop the right mindset.

To learn more about the 3 Success Strategies For A Winning Job Search Attitude, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.

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Nina Mazurova

Nina Mazurova

Nina is a subject matter expert in candidate-centered career consulting with an academic background in Psychology and professional expertise in Life Sciences staffing and recruiting. She actively pursues her own personal and professional development, and provides resources for those searching for breakthroughs in their careers. Currently, Nina works as a pro-bono career consultant for academic organizations and as a recruiting and business development consultant, and is actively developing her own business and entrepreneurial ventures.
Nina Mazurova
  • Shawn Lyons, PhD

    I haven’t been focusing on the long-term, big picture as much as landing my first position. However, I can see how helpful it would be, as having a long-term plan will help me build the skills and experiences I need to qualify for that dream job. I really appreciate it, Nina 🙂

    • Cheeky Scientist

      Yes, Shawn! Even after landing that first position, you may notice a number of opportunities open up after you get your “foot in the door.” Always good to have that long-term plan in mind.

  • Madeline Rosemary

    Ha-ha! I love your analogy about speed dating! That’s what it feels like when you’re trying to get a new position, whether it’s your first as a PhD or you’re trying to advance. 🙂

    • Cheeky Scientist

      Glad you enjoyed it, Madeline!

  • Carlie Stevenson, PhD

    This article is great because it covers the overarching questions of what your core values are and what your “why is,” but it also gives very specific, practical tips such as allowing some time for the search, not bothering with jobs where you know you’re not going to be happy, etc. I always advise new PhD’s to keep their eyes open for something that really excites them instead of just taking any old boring job where you set yourself up for failure. Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities out there for all personality types.

    • Cheeky Scientist

      Absolutely, Carlie! Great points. PhDs have access to many different job opportunities.

  • Marvin D’Esprit

    I’ve just completed my PhD and feel pretty exhausted. I think I’m going to take you up on the idea of pacing myself (at least for a few days). 😉

    • Cheeky Scientist

      Congrats, Marvin! Definitely take some time and celebrate your accomplishment.

  • Kathy Azalea

    I know what you mean about tending to your mindset and gearing yourself up for an unpredictable, possibly fairly long search time. And it is a full-time job to search, in my opinion. But I’m definitely on the move.

    • Cheeky Scientist

      Great to hear, Kathy! Yes, job searching takes up a lot of time. Keep us updated on your progress!