Diana*, a recent graduate of a Women’s Studies Master’s Program, was on the hunt for a job. While job hunting is rarely a picnic, Diana was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the process.
“I feel like I’m going in 10 different directions with my job search. I’m not able to find a focus,” she wrote to me. “I also feel like I have no credibility and that is holding things up for me.”
During our coaching call I asked Diana what type of job she’d really like to have.
“I’d love to do something dealing with communications for a women’s center. My focus during my Master’s was on domestic violence. I’m really interested in that area, and I would enjoy doing related presentations for the community.”
I asked Diana to tell me more about her interest in domestic violence. As she did, one thing in particular struck me. Domestic violence is not an easy topic, yet Diana spoke about it with such a calm, reasoned, and informed voice that I was eager to learn more from her. She not only had an interest in the area of women’s studies, she also had a knack for explaining the concepts in an easily digestible way.
“So how many of your job applications are related to what you just told me?” I asked Diana.
“Not many,” she replied with a little laugh.
“What’s the deal with that?” I questioned.
“I feel like I don’t have any skills to offer,” she answered.
“So let’s look at that for a minute. How do you feel and act when you’re thinking the thought, ‘I don’t have any skills’?”
“I feel overwhelmed and confused. Frustrated too. I second guess if I could get the type of job I really want and instead begin applying for whatever job I can find. Then I get responses from applications that I wasn’t actually interested in.”
“So let’s look for a thought that leads to a more helpful set of feelings and actions,” I instructed.
After some brainstorming we came up with, “I’m passionate and knowledgeable about women’s studies.”
This thought led Diana to feel more confident and focused. With those feelings she would be more likely to focus on applying only to jobs that she really wanted.
To give Diana an even bigger confidence boost I asked her to look to her past and think of instances where she had been successful before. Next, we discussed some immediate action steps that Diana could take to make more inroads into the field of women’s studies.
A few weeks later Diana wrote me, “Wanted to let you know, I have emailed a bunch of women’s centers and am now connected with several in the area. Already much happier. :)”
Diana knew what she wanted, but her self-doubt had been getting in her way. Once we injected her mindset with a shot of confidence she was able to take a more focused approach with her job search.
*Name and identifying details have been changed to protect confidentiality. Printed with permission.