Getting to Know Yourself While Job Searching

There are seven basic steps that make up a successful job searching process:

  • Accept
  • Assess
  • Target
  • Present
  • Interview
  • Negotiate
  • Begin Again

This piece, it's about getting to know yourself. How do you see yourself as a job searcher? How do others see you as a potential hire for their organization? In this article, we'll discuss the Dunning-Kreuger effect and why it is an important tool to better understand yourself.

Job searching is a full-time gig. Focusing on getting work can make it easy to skip steps that don’t feel productive. You have to be able to step back and focus on understanding who you are as well as your strengths and challenges. This will help you avoid overconfidence and mistakes.

We're built to be determined. Determination is what makes us able to go out and find work.

However, that same quality means that we sometimes leap before we look. It’s okay not to know everything involved in the risks you take. No matter how much research you do, there will always be unknown information about a potential job opening. This means assessing yourself to figure out your skill level and areas of mastery is essential in the job search.

People who are unskilled at something can overestimate their competence and possess hyperinflated views of their skills because they don’t realize the full scope of the topic. In contrast, competent people can underestimate their skills, because they are more aware of how much they don't know. This cognitive bias is called the Dunning-Kreuger effect.

Job Search Dunning Kreuger Effect

Everyone experiences this bias at some point. It doesn't mean that you're not intelligent. Part of the work when it comes to job searching is being able to say, "I don't know." Develop a critical mindset by which to review, evaluate, and challenge yourself in relation to your job readiness.

The skills you possessed in previous roles may not have the same value to an organization now. Think about it from a business perspective. For example, how many organizations can you think of that were once market leaders that are now doing poorly or are out of business?

Here are three examples:

  • Kodak
  • Blackberry
  • Encyclopedia Brittanica

At one time all three companies were market leaders. A variety of factors--not taking advantage of emerging trends, changing consumer tastes, other competitors developing superior products and services--contributed to their respective downfalls. You can experience a similar issue if you’re not careful with your job search. Be prepared to challenge your assumptions, and stay open to new ideas.

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