I bet you like to play it cool at all times during the job hunt in front of your friends. Waiting to hear back from a recruiter? No big deal. Anticipating an offer that you’ve been working hard for? You got this. Didn’t get the position? Whatever.
But the truth is (and you know it) that you aren’t always so calm and collected. In fact, while you’re playing it cool in front of others, your brain might be going crazy. But, before you let your mind wander and come to some inconclusive findings about your job search again, here are a few things you’re letting yourself believe way before they’re true.
1. “I’m Out of the Running Because I Made a Typo on My Cover Letter”
As many times as people have told you not to do this, it’s tough not to re-read your cover letter after you’ve submitted it. There’s little you can do to change any errors you might’ve missed, and yet, there’s a little birdie in your ear that says, “Hey, just take one more look. I bet you’ll feel better if you do.”
Of course, it never makes you feel more settled because there are always a couple of things you wish you had done differently. And if you’re like me, you’ve also gone back and noticed that you misspelled the hiring manager’s name. Disaster, right? Well, not exactly.
When I became a recruiter, the first lesson I learned was that a majority of candidates weren’t taking the time to figure out who at our company was responsible for recruiting. I quickly lost count of the number of cover letters addressed to “Dear Hiring Manager.” On the handful of occasions that cover letters were personally addressed to me, the candidate found a way to misspell my last name.
What did I do? I gave the candidates who made an effort some brownie points for trying. There are very few last names that are straightforward enough not to misspell. So if you happen to notice that you’ve made a mistake, don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world.
2. “It’s Been a Week, and I’ve Gotten Radio Silence, So I Didn’t Get the Job.”
Getting ghosted is never fun, in any context. When it comes to searching and interviewing for a job, it’s easy to assume that any amount of radio silence means that you are the absolute worst. And when you hear nothing but static for a week, it’s only natural to assume that not only are you the absolute worst but that you should just pack it all in and give up on the entire job search.
While you’re not crazy for wondering what the heck is taking the company so long to get back to you, here’s a little reminder that employers have to do a lot of work between each round of interviews. There are lengthy discussions with hiring managers and other leaders that need to happen. There are always scheduling issues with the next person you’re supposed to meet. There are a handful of individuals who need to evaluate that take-home assignment of yours. And many of these people are doing this on top of their typical responsibilities.
So, while it’s entirely reasonable to wish that you wouldn’t get left you in the dark for so long, it doesn’t always mean that you didn’t get the job.
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3. “I’m Never Going to Find a Job”
This time last year, I was brand new to freelance writing and half of my days were spent looking for new projects. And on some of the rougher days, I’d find myself on the couch, covered in potato chip crumbs, thoroughly convinced that I was doomed never to get an interview again. But a funny thing happened—I kept at it and eventually came across the listing for this freelance position at The Muse. And suddenly things started rolling to the point where I had two awesome gigs by the end of the summer.
I’m not saying there’s a silver-bullet answer to solve your fears. And yes, it’s totally understandable to feel down if your search just keeps dragging on. But here’s the thing—if you keep at it, something good will happen. That might not necessarily mean an amazing offer right off the bat. But you’ll learn a lot along the way. And you’ll use the lessons you learn to make yourself a more appealing applicant.
Finding a new gig is never fun, and sometimes, it’s almost soothing to talk yourself out of every opportunity so you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t come through. However, not only are you making your life harder than it needs to be, but you’re also keeping yourself from doing what you need to do to land your next great opportunity. I’ve been there my fair share of times, and while you shouldn’t beat yourself up over jumping to conclusions, don’t worry. Give yourself a minute or two to recover from what you’ve let yourself believe, and get back to searching for your next dream job.
Photo of stressed person courtesy of Dougal Waters/Getty Images.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.More from this Author