Job search and self-esteem

Keeping your self-esteem topped up
Self-esteem is an essential ingredient for life and helps us to develop some resilience when dealing with setbacks or rejections. If you are looking for a job or finding study difficult then it’s really important to keep our self-esteem high so we feel capable and connected to the world around us.
So how can we give ourselves a boost to keep our energy levels topped up, so we can cope with the inevitable knocks?

self esteem conceptual meter

1 – Don’t blame yourself
It’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind. Although unemployment figures are falling that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to walk into a job straight away! You are still going to face competition for the job you want and remember that some of the reasons you don’t get the job might be outside of your control!

Why not start remembering all the skills and abilities you have and keep focusing on your key strengths. It’s important to remember you still have those skills and you will get the job where you will be able to use them and build on them.

Another way of boosting your self-esteem is to jot down all the good things you do on a daily basis. Try it for a few days and see how much you help others, or set yourself some small challenges and write these down. The power of setting and achieving goals is enormous and will give you a huge boost.

2 – Take the initiative
Asking for feedback seems straight forward enough but if you don’t act on it or find out more are you really learning anything about yourself or your performance? Let’s say an employer give you a fairly standard response “there were people who had more experience than you” How could you approach an employer for a bit more information?

Well you could ask them to scale you from 1-10. If you find that you have lots of experience and scored high then you know you are on the right track and maybe only narrowly missed out. You could even ask them “what would make it a 10.”

Alternatively, if you are quite a way off the mark then this is just as useful and could help you to focus on what you need to do to improve it, maybe by getting some more work experience or voluntary work. Maybe you could look for organisations in your area where you could approach them direct to see if they have any opportunities for you to learn. Your self-esteem will get a massive boost as you reap the rewards of doing something you like and will help you gain your own sense of self-worth and belief.


3 – Get some balance in your life
Don’t forget to spend some time doing the things you like! If you approach your job search as if you were working Monday to Friday then use your “down time” to do something for you. Maybe you have always wanted to learn something new. I know lots of our learners come along to our classes to improve their skills with the added bonus of socialising or even making some new friends.  Or if you need a cheap way to learn how to make things then why not look online. One of my clients has taught herself how to make small gifts out of recycled materials. So not only is she doing something new, she now has some ready-made gifts for people! You could learn how to make something by looking online at tutorials or a craft based website. Learning something new will almost guarantee a boost to your self-esteem, so why not give it a go?

4 – Health matters
It might seem obvious that a good diet and exercise are good for you but have you ever thought about how it could help your self-esteem? Feeling good about ourselves is important and by undertaking some form of exercise, whether it’s a short power walk or a long hike, the increase in your energy levels will help you to maintain a positive mind, which will boost our self-esteem!

5 – Keep in touch with people
It’s important to spend time with people who like you and appreciate you. Make one of your goals to spend time with these people, ask them for advice on what they like about you, what do they see as your strengths? Often we don’t see our own strengths and need reminding every now again. Also, remember social media has many positives but if we compare our lives to what we see online then it might not be the best way to improve our self-esteem.


Thanks for reading! As always we would love to hear your comments.

There are lots of tips online on ways to improve your self esteem. Here’s one I use regularly.





Meeting the criteria

The hardest part of completing any job application is writing about how your skills match the essential criteria. In other words are you a good match for the role?

meeting the criteria
It’s not enough to say “yes I can work in a high pressurised environment” or “I can work as part of a team” you have to prove you can do it and the best way to do that is to give an example. So what’s the best way to do that? Here’s a typically worded advert…

cafe advert

You might be thinking, I have experience of working in hospitality and can be trusted to provide excellent service to customers, but how do I get my message across that I’m the best person for this job? Well one way to do it is to break down the work you did from greeting customers to taking their bill over at the end of the meal. This way you have a clearer picture of what you did and how this meets the advert. You can now write in more detail about the work you did and your excellent understanding of the role!

In my previous role, I was responsible for all aspects of the service; I took food orders, advised customers on specials of the day, waited on tables and took the bill payment. Whilst working for The Café, I used my initiative on a daily basis, for example, during quiet periods, I would restock the self service area, check with kitchen staff on food availability and make sure I knew of any changes to the menus and keep the area clean, tidy and attractive to customers. I would also undertake a stock-take to keep my manager informed of any produce we needed to order from the wholesalers. I regularly provided feedback to kitchen staff on any customer comments and would assist others when I could.

Working in the service sector has given me the ability to think on my feet and react quickly to changing workloads and the challenges faced with a sudden influx of customers. In these instances we worked together as a team to ensure that customers were not kept waiting long, provided tables with complimentary bread baskets and a fresh supply of water.

I was regularly commended by the shift leader on my professionalism and attention to detail. I enjoy interacting with customers and believe that providing a good quality service will lead to repeat business.

I am interested in helping a business grow and have plenty of ideas for different themed events to attract and retain customers.

This example would be suitable when applying for a position advertised without a personal specification. Once you have run through this method a few times it becomes a lot easier to match your transferable skills to other environments.

Large employers such as Local Authorities, NHS or The Police have a different method for recruiting and that is a whole different ball game! Watch this space for details…..

Have a great week and thanks for reading.