Job Search Self-Talk: Asking Yourself Better Questions

by Sharon Fleshman

Why am I not getting interviews?
Why didn’t I get an offer?
How many applications do job seekers typically send out?

For those in the midst of the job search, questions like these are posed at some point, and not without valid reasons.   However, I wonder about the effect of asking them too often and for too long.  I imagine that ruminating on the first two queries could produce a downward spiral of frustration that is counterproductive.  The hiring process can be complex and answers to these questions can be hard to pin down.  There may very well be concrete reasons for not getting interviews or offers, but might there also be better questions to ask to get reenergized? From time to time, I hear the third question from those who seek a formula for sending just the right amount of applications.  Yet, is such a strategy really helpful?

Consider the following questions:

  • How can I identify jobs that best fit my skills, interests and work values?
  • How can I connect the dots between my skills, strengths and accomplishments, and what is most important to the employer?
  • How can I show where my core values and interests align with the mission and values of the employer?
  • How can I speak with those who can offer more insight into the job market for my targeted career fields?

Notice the shift from disappointment toward possibility.  These questions are more empowering as they address actions that the job seeker can take in the quest for interviews and offers.  If you are feeling drained by the questions you are asking yourself about the job search, check in with a Career Services advisor who can help you refocus.

“What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question.” – Jonas Salk

Author: Sharon

Sharon Fleshman is the Senior Associate Director of Career Services for students in Education, Nursing and Social Policy & Practice.