The thought of getting your dream job can be scary, especially if you hadn’t planned on leaving your current role. But sometimes, an opportunity presents itself that you just can’t walk away from; the perfect job, the one that ticks all the boxes. The only trouble is, that something’s holding you back from hitting that ‘apply’ button.
Whether it’s fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, or fear that the other candidates are just better than you, it’s time to lose the fear of applying for that dream job.
Here are six of our best tips on how to overcome your fears when it comes to applying for the job that you really want.
1. Fear: You’re an Application Outsider
Is your dream job in an entirely different industry? Maybe you looked at the job spec for the job you really want and it’s full of jargon you don’t know, or references that have left you unsure of your own capabilities. An unfamiliar job spec can lead to concerns that you’re a complete outsider.
When applying for your dream job, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: everyone has to start somewhere. Fear of being an outsider is often a top reason why people don’t apply for their dream job, and if you allow the fear to get the better of you, you could potentially miss out on a life-changing opportunity. In fact, there are many excellent reasons why companies will specifically hire people with no industry experience. And, there are many industry experts around the world that started out feeling like you’re feeling now.
2. Fear: The Other Applicants are Better Than You
It’s common to be worried that the competition is more capable than you when it comes to applying for your dream job, especially if you’re applying through a job board where you can see how many people have applied for that specific role, for example, LinkedIn.
When faced with competition, it’s a natural human instinct to think that the competition is better than us. But the question to ask yourself is why are you assuming the worst when you could be assuming the best? There’s always a strong possibility that the other applications for your dream job are a case of quantity over quality, and your CV could be one of the few standouts.
The fear of competition when applying for a job mostly boils down to self-confidence. So, it’s important to have a little pep talk with yourself about all the great things you’ve achieved so far in your career, no matter how small.
3. Fear: You’re Underqualified
Do you feel like you aren’t qualified enough for your dream role? Has something on the job ad made you doubt yourself?
There are always going to be jobs that need you to be qualified to do. For example, you can’t practice law without a law degree and you usually need an engineering degree to become an engineer. However, there are many hundreds, if not thousands of jobs you can do without a degree or any form of higher education, that pay well and offer exceptional career enhancement opportunities.
On the flip side, you might have recently qualified, or even gained a degree many years ago, but the job ad is asking for additional qualifications.
Either way, don’t stress it. Many employers ask for a degree in the job ad to cover their bases, especially if it’s for a job where a degree isn’t a ‘must have’ but a ‘nice to have.’ Often though, they’ll consider candidates without a degree, if the candidate can demonstrate either the experience or the right set of skills to do the job.
Trying out new experiences is what pushes your career to the next level. If you emphasise (and demonstrate) on your CV that you adapt to new skills quickly and have a willingness to learn, employers love this. Back everything up with examples; this could be something small that you adapted to, or it could be something bigger that was a career-defining moment for you.
4. Fear: You Don’t Like Change
If your dream job has suddenly just appeared out of the blue, the thought of a sudden change can be daunting. You might be settled in your current job but deep down you know that you want to apply for your dream role.
A new job comes with lots of change: different colleagues, a new commute to work, unfamiliar tasks and new company culture to get used to. So you might start to think that sticking to what you know is the much safer option.
Safer isn’t always the best option.
Being too safe can leave you stuck in a career rut that it’s then difficult to get out of. You need to take the leap of faith every now and again. You don’t want to miss opportunities and then start to regret them later down the line.
5. Fear: The Timing isn’t Right
If there’s been a change in your personal life, or you’re expecting a pay rise/promotion in your current role, the timing of changing careers right now may not feel right.
You may also feel that you’re letting your current company down, or being disloyal. You might be halfway through completing a big project and leaving it could leave a big hole in the company. Either way, it’s completely normal to feel guilty about leaving a job especially if you have a good relationship with your boss and your colleagues.
Overcoming the fear of bad timing or leaving your current employer in the lurch is often quite difficult. But, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and think of how you would react if it were one of your colleagues who were offered their dream role. They would more than likely go for it and you’d be really pleased for them. Besides, the fact of the matter is, no-one is indispensable. However friendly you might be with your boss, they’ll replace you in a heartbeat if they need to.
6. Fear: The Dream Job is Too Much of a Dream
Have you ever found yourself thinking that you’d love to do something, but knowing, in reality, that you never will? When this applies to sky-diving or swimming the Atlantic, we’d understand if it was too much of a dream, and it stayed tucked away in your subconscious for a while longer.
However, when it comes to applying for your dream job, you may only ever get one opportunity. ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,’ is a famous phrase coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt when he prompted action in bringing the American people out of the Great Depression in 1933. The phrase is equally as relevant when it comes to applying for your dream job.
If you’ve seen a job advertised that’s captured your attention and your mind keeps thinking back to it, maybe you need to apply – something is telling you that this is the perfect opportunity. The only thing stopping you is you.
It’s time to overcome your fear of applying for that dream job, and just do it.