Positive Vibes: Avoiding Negative Thoughts When Applying For Your Dream Job/Internship

By Alisa Hrustic on February 26, 2014

Photo by Waponi via flickr.com

Spring is in the air! You know what that means – sandy beaches, a break from work, fresh air and hopefully bright blue skies. While spring break is a perfect relaxation period for your typical college student, it’s also a common time to dive into summer job and internship applications.

Feeling intimidated? Well… you should be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be afraid of the application process. Feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed are perfectly normal. However, these feelings should keep you motivated, but once you let negative thoughts hinder your passions, it may be time to go through a mental Spring cleaning.

Depending on what you’re looking for, whether it is a new writing gig, research experience, or a position with a well known company, the job market for these types of positions are normally highly competitive and it’s easy to get discouraged with the application process. The primary problem I’ve seen with my peers (and myself) is how negative we suddenly become toward our beliefs, motivations, and abilities after realizing how much genuine effort needs to be put forth to land that interview.

These are just common things I hear from others (and myself) that will only serve as obstacles on the road to success.

“Did you see those requirements? I’m not even going to bother applying.”

Courtesty of weheartit.com/Yuna98

This is a huge mistake! Job and internship listings will often post a set of qualifications for applicants and yes, they can be quite daunting, but don’t let that discourage you from at least trying. As cliché as it sounds, you do miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

Instead of talking yourself out of applying for a job or internship, try telling yourself why you should do it. How is it going to benefit you, even if you don’t get the job? Even if you don’t come out of the process with a new job for the summer, you’ve still put yourself through the work and it will help you ease into applying for other things later. It’s all about familiarizing yourself with the process, which you’ll no doubt have to do time and time again.

“Even if I were to miraculously land this position, I know I’m not what they’ll expect.”

Not having confidence in your abilities is a big old no-no. Confidence is a must for almost anything worth accomplishing in life. Asking someone on a date, raising your hand in class, running that marathon, and applying for your dream job all require a certain kind of confidence. Being aware of your personal strengths, unique quirks, motivations, and passions is only going to push you forward when you’re faced with challenges, and employers notice this!

Before you muster up the courage to proofread that resume or start the highly feared cover letter, give yourself a pep talk! Make a list stating why you should get the job and how you will benefit the company, its employees (hopefully your future mentors), and their mission.  You can’t convince a hiring professional that you’re the best candidate if you don’t believe in yourself first.

“That person already has so much experience, why can’t I be that way?”

This one is tough. Most fields that require internships or time-consuming job applications are highly competitive and selective. This can be a discomforting thought—especially if you are surrounded by people who want the same things you do. You will encounter those who are determined to fight for the best spots to further their own career paths.

 Tip: Be one of those people.

I’m not saying that you have to play dirty or suck up to get ahead, but you need to find motivation within yourself to really fight for what you want and deserve, because chances are your competition feels the same way. Often we meet a person and they seemingly have all aspects of their life together. Their LinkedIn profile is almost too well put together, they’ve had an internship every summer, and they’re heavily involved on campus. The first thing you should do is resist comparing yourself to people, especially if they’ve had more schooling. You can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

The second thing you should do (all jokes aside) is reach out to this kind of person. They can be valuable resources to you and may be able to teach you a thing or two. Instead of seething with jealousy (we’ve all been there), try to have a conversation with them instead. Reach out and ask a few questions about how they got to where they are, and you might just make a new friend in the process.

“I can’t go out tonight, I really need to get through a ton of applications.”

Your newly found determination also comes with a warning symbol. Don’t let applying for jobs and internships consume you to an unhealthy level. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of constantly applying for things, but that’s not all you should be doing. It’s still important to take a break every now and then. Letting school, work, and a pile of applications take over every minute of your life calls for some severely unhappy days.

Finding a healthy balance is crucial. Devotion to your passions is never a bad thing, but don’t forget that you’re only human. You’ll make a few mistakes along the multiple roads you’ll take to your eventual career. The key is reminding yourself that the only thing you can do is learn from it, and pushing yourself to do better, to ensure you become your best.

This photo was taken from Flickr. Photo Credit: Next TwentyEight



(Want more from Alisa? Find her stories here!)

I'm a Journalism student at the University of Iowa. When I'm not reading and writing, I'm probably creating a playlist somewhere while trying to find something new to read and write.

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