Overthinking Can Ruin Your Job Search. Here Are Three Ways to Stop Doing It

Are you a chronic over-thinker? Do you find yourself thinking three steps ahead of a decision you’ve yet to make? Decision-making and job searches go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and over-thinking can become an issue if you are prone to it. While being able to think through different scenarios is a good quality for a job seeker to have, it’s rather easy to cross that line by questioning every step you take. Over-thinking can hurt your job search, and make prepping for an interview much harder than it needs to be. While it may seem like a hard habit to break, here are three things you can do to prevent over-thinking:

Trust Your First Instinct

When presented with a decision, the first answer your brain produces comes from a place of either learned or inherent knowledge. You’ve probably been hearing that since elementary school, but it continues to be a valuable lesson to consider as a professional. Once you start second-guessing your decision, you take into account your own biases and fears, and that can cloud your decision, and introduce scenarios that aren’t relevant to the situation. Instead of deciding what you should be wearing to your interview, you start to consider the worst-case scenarios of how your wardrobe could cost you your job. At this point, anything you wear is going to be a hindrance to your confidence and will affect your performance. A good rule of thumb is to take all of the what ifs out of the decision-making process, and if you feel like you need more information to make a decision, listen to that instinct as well.

Consider the True Stakes of Your Decisions 

While finding a new job may be a “high-stakes” undertaking, many of the decisions you make along the way are inconsequential, and not worth stressing about. Deciding which descriptor word to use on your resume isn’t going to make or break your opportunity, nor is deciding which top or tie to wear for your interview. Putting too much emphasis on these types of decisions can impede your ability to make more important decisions. Deciding how to customize your resume for a specific opportunity, or what you should say when asked where you see yourself in five years, is much more impactful. As long as you use basic job search knowledge and common sense, most decisions you make should come quickly and naturally.  Remember, your first instinct is most likely the correct one.

Use Your Network

Looking for a job may seem like a solo trek at times, but it’s always good to remember that you have a network of people there to assist you. Friends, family members, LinkedIn connections, and ex-coworkers are all there to help you when you need assistance with a decision. Many have been in the same situation, and can give you advice and insights based on their knowledge and experience. Additionally, it’s always good to have someone read over your resume and give you some unfiltered advice.

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