A friend told me about an interview he did last week. He was disappointed with the candidate. The guy seemed great on paper, but he came across with really low energy in the interview. It seemed like he was more interested in getting out of his current job than moving into the role this friend offered.

That can happen with burnout.

Just when you’re at the end of your rope, wanting to find something else, the burnout that makes you want to leave your current job can make your job search even more difficult.

Any time you’re looking for a new job, your mindset and energy will play a big part in your success. If you’re leaving a difficult situation, that’s even more important. Here are a few critical aspects to pay attention to:

Clear Out Bad Feelings from Your Current and Past Experiences

If you’re currently in a role where you’re burned out, tired, and sick of grinding every day, that’s likely to cast a shadow over your job search. At the very least, your current exhaustion can make it hard to sound enthusiastic about a new opportunity. Worse, you may be understandably wary of repeating a bad experience in your next role. If you’re not careful, that wariness can have you come across as guarded or even defensive as you ask about expectations for the new position.

Bad experiences in your past can also haunt you. Feelings of shame, disappointment, and frustration can linger. Any time a job doesn’t go as expected, you’re likely to have lingering doubts or stories about how you might have contributed to that situation. Those feelings can resurface when an interviewer asks about that prior role.

There you are, in the middle of the interview, when a flood of feelings comes over you, leaving you anxious and upset while you try to carry on. This is definitely not a recipe for success. That’s why one of the key components I work on with my clients is really clearing the air of any bad feelings from their current or prior roles. Even an experience deep in your past can still linger.

But with some attention, those bad experiences can be reframed. Once they’ve processed those old feelings, my clients can more easily move into and project the confidence, ease, and self-contained executive presence that makes them an attractive candidate.

Know What You’re Moving Toward

Your energy, excitement, and curiosity are the most important ingredients to bring to your interviews. Generating that requires knowledge about the role, the company, and the industry. Doing some real homework ahead of time can help with this.

While you can do a ton of research online to cover these topics, there’s no substitute for talking with others. Real conversations with people in your target company, industry, or role can help you get a feel for what it’s like to do the work. They can provide you with insights and topics for future exploration. This will be hugely important when interviewing, particularly for an executive role.

When interviewing for a junior position, the exchange is relatively predictable: “Tell me about a time when…” or “Tell me about your experience with…” At more senior levels, the conversation needs to go beyond the basics. You must show that you are thoughtful and understand something about the role or field. It’s essential to have some interesting questions at hand so that you come across as the kind of thinking partner that’s needed in the executive ranks.

When my husband and I moved to Houston several years ago, I needed to get to know the oil industry. I reached out to a cousin who works for one of the major oil companies to see what I could learn. He shared a few things and then suggested that I attend the Offshore Technology Conference, the largest conference in the industry that takes place in Houston every year. I booked myself into the conference for a day when they’d be focusing on HR issues.

While at the conference, I talked to people, attended sessions, visited the booths, and listened, absorbing as much as possible. I picked up the language of the industry: upstream, downstream, onshore, offshore. I learned about the HR and industry trends. I found things I could be excited about. This experience was so helpful. I’m sure that’s what helped me land my first project in the industry.

Here’s what happened: I was interviewing for a change management position for Shell. I had many years of experience with change management and was sure I could add value to their project. But I had to convince them of that, given my lack of industry experience. In the interview, I used what I had picked up from the conference to ask insightful questions about the challenges that they might be facing, given what I now knew about HR trends. The interviewer was impressed, and I’m convinced that’s how I got the job. That project lasted for three years and led to several others that kept me employed for the 12 years that we were in Houston.

Put Energy into Relationships – Including with the Interviewer

It’s important to bring your own positive, feel-good energy into the interview. When you enter the room or hit the “Join The Meeting” button on Zoom, your energy should convey confidence and preparation.

You get to that confident, calm state by putting in the work BEFORE the interview – by developing what I call your “internal executive presence.” This means really getting in touch with yourself, getting grounded, and being mentally available for conversation, regardless of the direction it takes.

When you have a strong internal presence, you won’t be thrown off by nerves or triggers that bring flashbacks of your past. You’ll know how to breathe through those feelings and use the energy in them to focus even more clearly on what you want. This is performance psychology at its most powerful. When you build this capacity, you can quickly return to a centered, grounded state. And once you do, you’ll come across as confident, even though your heart may be beating a bit quicker.

Are you ready to build your unshakeable mindset?

Building your internal executive presence can be challenging on your own. Working with a coach can accelerate the process. A qualified coach can help you process your past and create a vision for the future that excites you. They can help you build the mindset you’ll need in order to succeed. They can also help you prepare for the nitty-gritty of the job search, so that you know exactly how to position yourself in your resume and interviews.

With the right preparation, you can create an interesting conversation, communicate clearly about anything that has happened in your career in the past and talk about it without any hiccups. And do it all with confidence.

This is the place where I want all job seekers to be. Once you’re here, the future can look—and feel—pretty bright! And that’s exciting. If this is something you’d like some help with or something you’ve been struggling with, my team and I would love to help you get there.

Reach out to us by booking a free consultation with my team. On that call, you’ll talk about where you are in your career, and where you want to go. If we can help you get from here to there, we’ll chat about what that could look like. If not, we’ll see if we can point you in the right direction for more resources.

Our goal is for you to walk away with some clarity and a real plan to get your career to the next level that fits you. I truly hope you’re doing well, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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