Overcoming Barriers While Looking for Work
Today's guest post is written by Dr. Howard Leifman. Dr. Leifman is a NYS licensed psychotherapist and career coach. He works with individuals and corporations to assist them better themselves and their organizations. He has been a SAGE Volunteer since 1990. He regularly runs workshops for SAGEWorks.
Looking for work has never been easy! Somehow when we were younger, it did seem easier, but the truth is, it never was easy. We just either cared less or didn’t seem to be aware of as much as we do now.
The challenge is we look at ourselves and see more doubt, more possible rejections and sadly more barriers! As a therapist and professional coach I work with individuals of all ages work through these barriers, both the real and the perceived ones.
I make this distinction because yes there are some very real barriers to finding work but then there are also some barriers that we put up ourselves. I’ll share some of the most common ones I hear and how I work with people to do something about them.
1. I’m too old!
My response is too old for what? If you believe you are too old to do the job and bring that thinking into the interview then guess what, your interviewer isn’t going to try and challenge you on it. If you don’t believe you can do the job, it is not the responsibility of the interviewer to persuade you otherwise.
One of the biggest changes I try and get clients to make is go into an interview with your strengths showing not waving a banner of your weaknesses! Once again, I am not going to say this is easy, only be careful not to sabotage yourself before you get started!
Some of the ways to overcome this is to think about the requirements of the job that are stated in the job description. Think about experiences you have had in the past that are similar and that you have been successful at. Think about examples you can share with the interviewer that demonstrates where and how you have done this and what the outcomes were. Be ready to share a story that has a beginning, middle and end! A short story not a novel! Have a point of view and come to it quickly.
2. They’re never going to hire me!
With thinking like this you are correct! We call this the self fulfilling prophecy. If you go into the interview already defeated there isn’t much place to go. If you go into the interview saying, I can do this, I have done this and they would be lucky to have me then you have a shot. Don’t be cocky just confident.
Again, here is your opportunity to share where and how you have done something like this or similar to this. Here is your opportunity to share with them how you made a difference.
3. There are so many people to choose from, why would they choose me?
Granted there are a lot of people, of all ages, to choose from. However, because you are more mature than many, you can bring more experience, more knowledge and more understanding to the job than many, you might also be better than most! But you have to believe it.
4. So much has changed in technology I can never learn!
The truth is learning how to go from a typewriter to a computer was more of a change than going from one format to another! While there are a number of new programs and technological skills out there, the basics still remain. Still nervous? Take a computer class or visit YouTube for a wealth of how-to tutorials and brush up on your skills.
The real key to overcoming barriers is trying, learning and practicing! If you aren’t willing to try, it won’t happen; if you are not open to learning new things, it won’t happen; and if you don’t practice it, you take your chances that it won’t be successful.
I’m not saying it is easy, but then again, what is. What I am saying is I see people succeeding everyday so I know it is doable!! This is also where SAGE is so helpful. They have the people and the resources to help you TRY, LEARN and PRACTICE!
So I leave you today with this one thought. Have you tried, learned and practiced something new today? If not, contact SAGE and let them share with you how you can!