Stop Letting Imposter Syndrome Hold You Back

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Hello book lovers! Before starting today’s post, I need to ask you a question: Have you ever stopped yourself from applying for a job because you doubted your capability?

I have, more times than I would like to admit, and I never realized there was a real term for it until hearing one of my lecturers mention it. Imposter syndrome. And I would assume you are lying to yourself if your answer was no to my question. Whether it was just one minor detail or a task you assumed you wouldn’t be good enough for, so many us of have been there. We get it. You’re not alone. So how do we overcome it? How do we stop holding ourselves back, believing we are good enough for a job that made our hearts leap when we read the announcement, and finally apply to any and every job we desire?

I can’t say I have all the answers because I am still working it out myself, but I thought it would be good to share what I have experienced and overcome so far. One of my previous post’s, 5 Things to Do After Graduation Before Starting Your Career, reached more of you than I expected to and the heartfelt messages I received thanking me for making some of you feel less alone was something I never thought I could achieve with this blog. Another self-doubt! So, I decided it was time to write another post that may help more of you, and will certainly help me by finally putting it down and being honest with myself. So let’s begin!

3897F47B-2A24-4B78-97CB-9A6E0CD1B5361. MAKE A LIST – Prepare for job applications. As a big fan of list making, working out a routine for my job applications has really helped me improve my CV and cover letter quality. The part of this system that I recommend the most for you to incorporate is making a list of your experiences that link to what the job description is asking for. For example, I recently applied to a job that requires “good communication skills”. In your cover letter, you don’t want to cover that by simply saying you are good at speaking to people because

  1. Maybe you struggle to be social. #Introvert Life
  2. Everyone talks to people.

So how can you make yourself stand out? Dig deep. For this one, I got to expand on my networking skills gained through the online book community. This included working with publishers to review books and taking part in campaigns, as well as keeping connected with my 5K+ following on Instagram. Not only did this provide a good example to expand on during the interview, but it also showed my passion and drive for the industry. If you guys are interested in learning more about my job application routine, please leave a comment down below so that I know and will write a post about it!

2. READ – Make use of one of your favorite hobbies. Whether that means reading blog posts or picking up a “how to” book, chances are someone has written about what you’re currently going through. Repeat after me: I AM NOT ALONE. As for someone trying to get into the publishing industry, naturally my recommendations are about that so here you go:

  1. That Publishing Blog. Carl (@thatpubblogger) writes brilliant articles covering everything from key skills to get into publishing to questions you might encounter during job interviews. If you can think of it, he has probably written about it.
  2. How to Get a Job in Publishing: A Really Practical Guide to Careers in Books and Magazines by Alison Baverstock, Susannah Bowen, and Steve Carey. I picked this book up just a few days ago and I have already learned so much that has really impacted me. Not only does it cover various ways you can get into the industry, but it also helps you understand what role would truly suite you best and how to make your application the best it can be. Although I did get a degree in publishing, this book has taught me a lot that I didn’t learn during university so I am very thankful I came across it.
  3. Slumbering Sloth Book Nook Podcast. Emma Ronan (@NovelEm16) is an aspiring publisher currently studying English and publishing at university who created a super clever podcast. Once a week, she releases a new episode interviewing someone within the industry, providing tips and sharing experiences about working in a specific field. Never underestimate how much you can learn from someone who has achieved your dream career.

3. LEARN FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES – Make the most of your job interviews, even after they are done. Whether your job interview went amazing or you left feeling defeated, there is always something to take away from the experience. Maybe it’s realizing you say “um” too much, although you are persistent you don’t (relatable), or you were questioned on something you never learned that wasn’t mentioned in the job description and therefore left you feeling embarrassed (once again, relatable). Whatever the case may be, take your wins and losses and use them to your advantage. This is something that I am still working on accepting and using but it really does help bring you out of the dark hole of rejection – just pull yourself together and come back stronger the next time you get an interview!

4. RESEARCH – Find ways to improve your abilities. So you have worked out that you want to go into marketing BUT you didn’t get a marketing degree and/or you don’t have any marketing experience BUT you do have most of the skills the company is asking for EXCEPT a certain software ability. Boy was that a mouthful. So what do you do? Naturally, most of us shrink back and click the X button on the tab – but that’s not the point of this blog post. Find out how you can get that skill! Google marketing internships. Google online training courses.

There’s an abundance of materials across the web, just waiting in the palm of your hands to use them. Yes, you might not stand out in a crowd of those who have already worked in marketing, but if you do get lucky and get an interview, make a point of the effort you put into gaining that one skill you lacked. That can truly make the difference when trying to impress an employer. Remember that they want someone who wants to learn, as much as rejecting you for not having as much experience as the person they chose may discourage you.

5. DON’T BE SHY – Share your struggles and worries with someone, even if it’s just a comment on this blog post. As often as we may convince ourselves that we don’t want sympathy after a job rejection (“because I failed”) or struggle to believe someone has been in the same position before, we’re wrong. Tweet about how you are feeling. Message someone writing about their job in your dream industry and question how they found a way in. Use the internet to your advantage and search for networking events. Hopefully, this blog post itself is helping at least one of you (fingers crossed) and I only wrote it because I’m not being shy. I’m being honest about my struggles because sometimes that’s just what you have to do to feel better. And it always helps to know you aren’t alone, right?

I better wrap-up this post now – turns out I had more to say then I expected. Just please stay positive, don’t give up, and keep trying. I know that this period of job searching is driving you crazy and makes you feel really down sometimes. I totally understand and am going through the same, but letting our imposter syndrome get the best of us certainly won’t get us that job. Am I right? Or am I right? Until next time. x

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