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3 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Applying

Bonny Calfy | May 18, 2023

Very few of us look forward to job hunting, even if we do like the idea of changing jobs. If you made a list of fun activities, filling out applications and stressing about interviews probably wouldn’t make the cut.

Fear of the unknown can be a powerful force preventing job seekers from taking the next step. So can a perceived lack of qualifications. But finding a new position is often the key to moving your career forward.

Nearly half of unemployed U.S. adults say they’re pessimistic about prospects for future employment. Concerns like “Do I have the skills for this job?” or “Is the culture a good fit for me?” are real issues, but they aren’t necessarily unanswerable questions.

If you’re a job hunter worried about what the future holds, here are a few ways to soothe your anxiety and move you closer to career confidence.

1. Add soft skills to your resume

In a McKinsey survey, 58% of respondents said closing the skills gap in their workforce has taken a higher priority since 2020. You may not have the exact recipe of skills listed in the job description, but don’t let that scare you into not applying. Instead, show off your soft skills, which are also extremely valuable in the workplace.

Soft skills include problem-solving and creativity, while typing 80 words a minute or having a real estate license are hard skills. Show employers that what you lack in hard skills you make up for in communication techniques, teamwork or another strength. If you have a willingness to learn, discuss a time you didn’t know how to do something and the process you went through to figure it out. Highlight these skills in your resume, then expand on a couple of them in your cover letter.

According to CareerBuilder, 77% of HR professionals believe soft skills are just as important as hard skills. You can’t afford to throw your soft skills out the window.

2. Work that network!

Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. Don’t be afraid to build a professional network and make it part of your job-hunting strategy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says 70% of jobs are found through networking, so it doesn’t hurt to try!

If you come across someone who has the exact job you’re looking for, reach out to ask them about how they got there and what they think about the job. Don’t forget to mention that you’re seeking a job and what you aspire to do. That person may be able to put you in contact with someone hiring for the very same position.

The most important thing to remember when building your professional network is to be genuine. Even though you’re meeting people who could help you get a foot in the door, focus on building lifelong professional relationships by keeping in contact with them.

Networking doesn’t have to be an exclusively in-person activity. LinkedIn isn’t just for recruiters, 95% of whom use it to view potential candidates. You can use LinkedIn to connect with professionals who would make a good addition to your professional network.

3. Consider the environment

We’ve all had some bad work experiences, but don’t let those memories shape how you view future opportunities. If your work history makes you hesitant to commit to a new workplace, investigate the culture and values of a prospective employer.

Check out its LinkedIn profile, read online reviews and look through the website thoroughly to understand the organization’s culture and values. Every workplace is different, but with a bit of research, it’s possible to get a sense of what that work environment offers and if it’s what you’re looking for.

Fear shouldn’t stand in the way of your goals! A bit of preparation is the antidote to trepidation, so do your research, update your resume, tune up your networking skills and get ready to bravely take the next step.

Do you want to explore the career possibilities offered by a growing company with an award-winning culture? Apply to Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s employer brand supervisor, Bonny Calfy oversees all recruitment marketing and employer brand efforts nationwide. Her brand awareness efforts extend over 10 years and have included launching the Paycom Careers blog and social media channels and producing recruitment videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside work, Bonny enjoys reading; fishing; and spending time with her husband, children and friends.