If you’ve been on the job hunt for a while, chances are you feel like you’re lacking something. Something that’s preventing you from getting hired.
Maybe you think it’s experience.
Maybe the right degree.
Maybe a network of people that can hook you up with a good job somewhere.
Well, after years of dealing with job hunters just like you almost every single day, I can tell you this much:
It’s not true.
You already have everything you need.
You don’t lack experience, credentials, or contacts.
Lesser people than you have gotten hired at better jobs than the one you’re shooting for.
If there is one thing you lack, it’s nothing tangible.
It’s something you choose not to have.
Here’s the thing: we all know that the job hunt is a game of standing out. The only way you’re going to have your job application chosen from the stacks and stacks of other applicants is if you stand out in some way.
We all know this.
But here’s the problem: you’re too scared to actually do it.
This may sound weird, but for 99% of the job seekers I’ve talked to, that is literally their only problem.
It’s not that they’re not skilled or special or that they have nothing to show for. They’re just afraid to do what they need to do, to stand out.
And you know what? I can’t really blame them.
Because job hunting is already pretty scary as it is.
It’s about money. It’s about your identity. It’s about big life decisions with far-reaching consequences. So it is legitimately stressful stuff.
And when under stress, our animal brains are hard-wired to just follow the flock and do what everyone else is doing. This is a great idea when there’s a fire–follow the crowd fleeing from danger. But it’s not a great idea when job hunting.
After all, if you want to stand out, you have to resist the urge to do what everyone else is doing, scary or not.
And so that’s the only thing you’re really lacking.
The courage to do that.
This is what I realized after months of talking to job seekers.
Courage really is the only thing you need.
Not just the most important thing. The only thing.
I know we often talk about creating cool projects that impress employers, but you don’t even really need that. If you have a face and a voice, you already have everything you need to stand out.
Because if all you did was send a video of you enthusiastically pitching the role you want, any hiring manager wouldn’t be able to help themselves but mirror that excitement and want to know more.
It works every single time.
All you need is the courage to actually do it.
And so ultimately, it’s a choice.
You can either choose the safety and anonymity of the crowd, follow the flock, and do what everyone else is doing. Or you can muster up the courage to unapologetically be yourself, and stand out.
As you’ve probably already experienced, the grand prize of doing what everyone else is doing, is getting what everyone else is getting: nothing much.
The price of anonymity is mediocrity.
But if you can manage to free yourself from the bonds of your own fear, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Because standing out is not about what you have and don’t have.
It’s about daring to be different.
This post originally appeared in the DJH newsletter.
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