Is Negative Self-Talk Chipping Away at Your Job Search Motivation and Confidence?

 photo Is-Negative-SelfTalk-Chipping-Away-at-Your-Job-Search-Motivation-and-Confidence.jpg
What is Self-Talk?

Many people have conversations in their heads as things happen in their daily lives. This “self-talk” can be either positive or negative. Patterns of negative thinking are common, and can have a harmful effect on a person's mental and physical well-being.

You may have developed a habit of being self-critical or pessimistic without even realizing it. This can adversely affect your mood, self-esteem, and desire to push forward. If your attitudes, words, and behaviors reflect these feelings, your job search momentum and the impression you make on employers will likely suffer.

Types of Negative Self-Talk

Negative self-talk often reflects one or more of the following unhealthy thought patterns. The examples provided are thoughts a person might have following a job interview.

Thinking Style
Mental filter
Noticing only the bad in yourself. Focusing on failures, mistakes, and weaknesses while ignoring strengths and successes.
“I did a terrible job explaining my warehouse experience during the job interview.”  
Defining who you are with a single word or phrase.
“I’m such a loser.”
Interpreting single events in a very broad way. Using words such as “always” and “never.”
“I mess up every job interview I go on.”
Mind reading
Assuming you know what other people are thinking.
“The interviewer thinks I’m totally unqualified for the job.”
Believing you know what is going to happen in the future.
“I’m definitely not going to be offered the job.”
Blowing things out of proportion.
“If I don’t get this job, I’ll never find work.”

Confronting Negative Self-Talk

The first step in overcoming unhealthy thought patterns is to be aware of them. You should spend a few moments evaluating negative beliefs as they run through your mind. It's very important to take a step back and consider them objectively.

The following questions have been provided to guide you through this process. A sample answer, related to job search, is included for each.

  • Is there proof that this thought is true? Is there proof that it is untrue?

    “I’ve had jobs in the past, which is proof that I don’t mess up every interview.”

  • Would someone else think this about me?

    “No. Just because an interview wasn’t perfect doesn’t make a person a loser.”

  • What would I say to a friend who had the same experience?

    “I’d say that even if he had trouble with one interview question, he may have done really well on the others.”

  • Is the situation really as bad as I think? What’s the worst that could happen?

    “No. It’s only one interview. The worst that can happen is I don’t get THAT job. There will be other opportunities for me.”

  • Is there another way of looking at the situation?

    “Yes. Now I know that I need to practice describing my warehouse experience. If I can learn how to do that better, I might ace my next interview!”

  • Will this matter in three years from now?

    “No. In three years from now, it won’t matter whether I was offered that job or some other one.”

  • Is thinking this way helping me to feel good about myself? Is it bringing me any closer to achieving my goals?

    “No. Thinking this way makes me feel angry and frustrated. This makes it harder for me to focus and feel confident.”

Download Our FREE Worksheet!

For your convenience, we've developed a "Challenging Your Negative Self-Talk" worksheet to assist you in examining your thought patterns. It consists of the questions listed above, with space to type or handwrite your answers. We encourage you to use this worksheet any time you notice yourself thinking negatively, whether the reason is employment-related or not. If you’re feeling too down on yourself to consider the facts clearly and honestly, ask a supportive friend or relative to talk through these questions with you.

Responding to your negative self-talk in this way will help you feel better about yourself, and more engaged in your job search. You'll also appear more enthusiastic and confident to potential employers. In addition, you'll be better equipped to handle difficult situations and less-than-favorable outcomes in all areas of your life.

Receive email notifications when new posts are added: