Deteriorating economies and a constantly rising unemployment rate across Europe are having huge ramifications for job-seekers. Those circumstances require individuals to take a fresh approach to their job search. According to an HR director of one of the Global 500 companies: “The game has changed : now, more than ever, job seekers need to turn their mindset from looking for ‘openings’ to looking for ‘opportunities’. Opportunities are born out of crisis and chaos, and exist even in the worst economy.”

In my observation though, most job-seekers tend to concentrate a lot on the mechanics of the job search: polishing off their resumes, mastering cover letters, practicing for interviews, honing their networking skills.  While all those skills are important, without the right mindset they do not bring the desired results.

Your mindset is your attitude. It shapes how you interpret, understand and respond to situations. What is the right mindset when you are after a new or different job/career?  I call it the resourceful or empowering mindset, and its opposite is the limiting or disempowering mindset.

The resourceful mindset will guide you to look beyond job postings and move into marketing yourself to the companies and organizations who are experiencing problems that you can solve.

The fastest way to decipher whether your mindset is resourceful or limiting is to observe your self-talk.  Here’re 5 clues that will point out that the real reason you’re not landing the job you want might be hiding inside your head:

1. You compare yourself with others (colleagues, former colleagues, other candidates).  This is part of the self-limiting mindset: by doing that you undermine your effort and “shoot yourself in the foot”. You need to compete against yourself instead of others.

2. Your self-talk is sprinkled with “yes-buts”. Example: “Yes, I will give my best shot at this job application but I know that there are hundreds of other applicants, so my chances are very slim” or here is another, very popular one: “I want to get a better-paid job but there’s a crisis in France”.

3. You often use ‘should’s, ‘must’s and ‘have’s while motivating yourself. Those words represent the paternal style of talking. When we talk to ourselves using those words, we inevitably encounter inner resistance and either don’t move forward or make a halfhearted effort, feeling forced and obliged, rather than energized and enthusiastic.

4. You negatively react to lack of desired result. For instance, you say “You knew I wouldn’t get it!” or something similar if you are not short-listed for an interview, or if you are not selected to move on to the second round of the interview process. This type of self-talk manifests negative expectations and a lack of self-belief – which in turn jeopardize your job search or career transition.

5. You often feel discouraged, anxious, stressed, afraid or pessimistic. The dominant feelings of a person with the resourceful mindset are enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, sense of adventure.

If you’ve identified 2 or more clues among the above, do not despair. The empowering or resourceful mindset can be developed with the help of a good self-help book or within a few coaching sessions. Of course, regular practice is paramount.

By the way, congratulations – you have just made the first step towards the resourceful mindset!  You’ve gained awareness of what is not working and what is keeping you from new professional success. Stay on the track of action.

To your empowerment!








  • Well said, Nadira. Too often in the past, i have made this mistake. I focused on getting everything perfect “on paper” but I hadn’t taken the same time and energy to work on getting my internal “house” in order. That affected my energy when I reached out into the world and the results were discouraging. The best thing I’ve learned is to take the time for finding my dream job, be patient and do the work (inside and out) to inch closer to that perfect opportunity. Curiosity is key! When i’m curious, i meet more people, make more connections, and find out more from others on how/where my skills could be needed. And i have more fun 🙂

    • Thank you for sharing your experience, Sylvana! While it’s important to be clear on what your ‘dream’ job is, it’s also equally important to let go of the attachment to the outcome, and fully enjoy the process of getting there. That’s when the curiosity you mentioned comes handy – when we are in an open curious empowered mindset, we see opportunities, often unexpected ones, everywhere and things start shifting. And it’s a much more fun, as you said, and a less fearful place to be in.

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