How You Can Fight Imposter Syndrome in Your Job Search

Apr 29, 2021 | Job Search Strategy

Fighting Imposter Syndrome in Your Job Search

Even the most seasoned professional can encounter imposter syndrome when faced with a job search. Here’s how to learn how to have faith in your skills. 

By: Grace Mitchell | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

Ever feel like you don’t actually deserve the success you’ve had in your career?

Imposter Syndrome is a hot topic in the job search world right now, and for good reason. Imposter Syndrome describes a persistent feeling of doubt in your achievements and anxiety that you’ll be “found out” to be a fraud. Essentially, this syndrome is marked by an inability to internalize your level of success, no matter how high.

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If you experience Imposter Syndrome in your job search, you’re not alone. Whether they’re 20 years into a career, transitioning to a new field, or a recent graduate, many people have a hard time believing that they’re worthy of their accomplishments.

Job searching requires you to broadcast your achievements, but if you’re suffering from Imposter Syndrome, you may be underselling yourself on your resume or avoiding career opportunities where you’d be a great fit.

Like a good Grandma, we want you to put your best foot forward in the job search, so here are some ways to combat those feelings.

Keep a “Brag Book”

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Writing down compliments you receive will give you “evidence” to refer to later when you’re feeling insecure about your performance. Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

The best way to confront a lie is with the truth. By writing down your successes, contributions, and compliments on the job, you maintain a log to return to when doubt in your performance creeps in.

Your journal can be simple, even just a sentence or two, like: “3/27/21: Wrote 85 lines of code. Boss called me an asset to the team.” These quick notes not only help restore your confidence, but they can be a good source of information for quantifying your achievements on your resume.

Make Daily Affirmations

If you’re struggling with Imposter Syndrome, your internal monologue is likely reflecting your doubts and insecurities. Notice how you talk to yourself about the job search. When a job posting sounds exciting to you, is your first thought something like “There’s no way I’m qualified for that” or more like “Wow, I’d love to apply my skills to that job”?

A clear sense of what skills you have to offer can help combat that negative self-talk, but positive affirmations also provide some important armor in this fight. Positive affirmations remind us of our worth and help us keep the goal in mind. While it may take time, you will get a job offer if you put the work in. Believing that you can achieve this goal gives you the confidence to get there!

When you begin your job search for the day, start by telling yourself, “I have the skills I need to land the job I want!” or any other affirmation that resonates confidence for you. Try saying this out loud in front of a mirror or to your cat, or even enlist a trusted roommate to help you get in a positive mindset for the work ahead.

Talk to Someone You Trust

two woment chatting Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Discussing your aspirations with a mentor can help you build confidence. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Sometimes we need a bit more help or guidance than an affirmation can offer. If your Imposter Syndrome has you in a hole you can’t seem to climb out of, consider opening up to a mentor. Breaking the silence of your struggles can be a great first step in working through them, especially since your mentor knows what an asset you would be to a new organization. If they didn’t think so, they wouldn’t be investing time in mentoring you!

If your Imposter Syndrome is causing you anxiety, you may even consider talking through these feelings with a trusted friend or mental health professional. Whoever you decide to open up to, know that you’re not alone in this struggle.

Remember That Everyone Feels This Way Sometimes

There’s no way around it: Looking for a job is stressful and discouraging work. The promising conversation with a recruiter who then doesn’t follow up, the rejections, the numerous resume rewrites and stress over applying at the right times… No one feels confident 100% of the time even in ideal circumstances, let alone on the job hunt!

This isn’t cause for despair, though. You’re doing a hard thing right now, one that takes time. But you’ve also accomplished hard and time-consuming tasks before! Having feelings of inadequacy doesn’t make you inadequate; in fact, it puts you in the same category as Tom Hanks, Maya Angelou, and Tina Fey.

Everyone feels like a fraud sometimes, but armed with knowledge of your skills, a positive mindset, and some wise counsel, you’ll come through this struggle with greater confidence and a job you love!

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