Posted by: Postordinandy | September 9, 2016

Selling yourself without selling out

Job hunting is a pain – hours spent wading through various websites; clicking link after link to get the information you require; all-too-often finding that you fall just short of requirements of experience or qualification; answering the same basic questions over and over again (but never quite in the same format as perviously, so impossible to cut and past easily; trying to find a way of saying “I’m worth a punt on this” without sounding too cocky or needy; sending CVs into the vacuum of e-space; waiting for an apparent eternity for notice of successful or otherwise application…

And that’s before you get to any job interview.

I’ve been unemployed for a day now, but have been job hunting for 3 months without success…. it doesn’t help that I am, as a friend once put it: “highly qualified within a stupidly narrow field”

I have never been great at selling myself – my instinct is to acknowledge that there are others who could do whatever it is I am being asked about better than I. Indeed, much of my career has been spent finding and nurturing skills in others so that they can become better than I.

Humility is a tricky thing to embrace. We all know people who seem to lack it completely, just as we all know those who can’t seem to see how brilliantly they shine. But true humility includes an acknowledgement of where and how one is gifted, alongside the willingness to wear such skill lightly and to admit areas of weakness.

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not just “high-achievers” who suffer from this. Many people whom I know to be perfectly competent and able in their chosen career, if not lauded by all around them, have confessed to me that they suffer from this in some way too.

We all, I think, to some degree are waiting to be ‘called out’ by someone who considers us less than we (or others) claim us to be.

And this, for many of us, is one of the big barriers when we have important things looming in our lives – be it job hunting or otherwise. We need to find the confidence in ourselves to be able to sell ourselves, but we will often have a small voice whispering in our ear “really?! You think they are going to buy that!?


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