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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


When you just started job searching I bet you believed that you would get a job with just a little hard work, persistence, and luck.

So you started by taking a bunch of action - networking, applying online, maybe even up-leveling your skillset.

And then after a few months of consistent action - no nibbles! 

You don’t get it - you are doing everything the gurus are telling you to do. 

And  so you start to think that maybe this won’t work after all. Maybe you should stay at your current job. Or go back to school. Or change the type of job you are applying for. Or, or, or……..

BUT - my guess is that there is one main reason that what you are doing doesn’t work. 

You are job searching backwards! 

Most people think you have to get a job, then do the tasks of that job and then you give yourself permission to think of yourself as that type of professional. 

For example, you get a job as a data scientist, then you do some projects for your company and only then do you think of yourself as a data scientist. 

But that is backwards. 

First you have to think of yourself and truly believe that you are a data scientist. Then you have to do what data scientists do. And then, it is much more likely that you will get a job. 

After all, the company wants to hire a data scientist, not a wannabe, so unless you can authentically and compellingly show up as a data scientist you will get passed over. 

In short, most people think the order of a career is GET, DO, BELIEVE.


The order is BELIEVE, DO, GET. 

I am guilty of that myself. Back in the day when I worked at my first few jobs after law school, I never said (or felt) like a lawyer. When people asked me what I did I said: “I just graduated from law school”, or “I work at a Wall Street law firm”, or “I am rotating through a commercial real estate department at my law firm”, etc, etc.

I didn’t really believe I was a lawyer and so I thought every project was a test of my skills, that every question had a “right” answer, that any day that ends with a “y” could easily be my last.

 It wasn’t until I had 3 years’ of legal experience that I felt comfortable saying I was a lawyer. But when I did, there was a huge shift.

 I KNEW that I was  a lawyer. That no one could change that, no matter what job I had, whether legal or not, or what anyone thought of my skill level.  Conversations became more interesting, I had space to be curious, to even be wrong!  I sought out organizations and groups where I could learn and share. I read books and articles about law. I sprinkled my knowledge and the facts of my experience into casual conversations at networking events, family holidays and even at the gym. I felt comfortable knowing I didn’t know everything. I knew I could figure it out. 

And guess what - that’s what people thought of me as well! They adopted my belief in myself because it was natural and compelling and authentic. Every job, legal and otherwise, was so much easier to get once I made that shift. I wish I had done that from the beginning.

OK - so how do you do that? 

  • First - Lean into believing that you are already in the position you want. Really visualize it, the more detail the better. What are you wearing, how do you feel, what are you thinking?

  • Second - imagine a typical day at that ideal job. Name 3-5 things you would be doing.

  • Third - Pick one thing that is easiest for you to do right now and do it for a week. 

  • Fourth - Rinse and repeat - keep doing all the things.

The magic of doing it this way is that it is a win win. 

  • You actually get the enjoyment of doing what you want to do right now, before you get a job and you are learning along the way.

  • BUT ALSO, and here is the great news - these are the most effective ways of looking for and landing a job. 

You will start to see yourself as the professional you want to be. As you show up with that energy and enthusiasm, people will begin to know, like and trust that you can do the job. That will compel them to engage with you and explore how you can work with them.

The icing on the cake is that you can stop submitting those online applications!!!!

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