5 Reasons You're Holding Back on Your Job Search

A new year often brings with it some clarity, perspective, or an overall refresh: great for a closet full of unworn clothes, but can be a little daunting for something like a job search. The search itself is only half the battle. The remainder of the struggle lies in what's behind your quest for a new position. What are you really after? Why aren't you coming up with a plethora of available options? 

Borrowing an ounce of "New Year, New You!" attitude, the early weeks of 2023 can be a valuable time to reevaluate more than just your workout intentions. This post is for those of you who are feeling stuck in your job search (or haven't even started one), whether the situation is due to personal motivations or external factors. We're here to get you unstuck. 

What's really holding you back in your job search?

You're scared to move on.

Abandoning comfort is a frightening thing. The lingering effects of 2020 have given our post-pandemic lives a mission to be content and settled. Think about being in your current position three years from now. How does it feel? If you can't see that being a possibility, then get out now. Remind yourself that in three years you could be just as comfortable as you are now, in a completely new position at a different company. If you're hanging on because of benefits, that's a completely realistic strategy, but keep in mind that you might find the same benefits out there at another company. 

You need to expand your pool of options.

Sometimes a major hurdle to overcome is determining what new role best fits your needs, wants, and capabilities. Do you want to own the same job title, just at a different company, or are you looking to expand yourself, bringing your current skill set to an adjacent or superior position? You may find more opportunities available in positions that differ slightly from your current role, opening the doors to more success in your search. While a more lateral move may make sense, a slight step out of your role would benefit you in the long run. Plus, changing jobs is a fast track to increasing your salary over time. 

You feel out of control.

How do you walk on ice? Do you stride along like usual? Or do you take baby steps like a penguin, maintaining forward motion but with a lesser risk of falling? The illusion of control can feel lost in the unfamiliar (and icy!) landscape of a job search, and results seem so "out of your hands." Take baby steps where you are able to, and where it will make a difference. Instead of waiting around and then being forced to hurriedly prepare materials and apply the very moment something pops up, prep for this moment ahead of time by developing a few different versions of your resume and portfolio for different types of companies. Develop a system for tracking where you've applied and how it went, or standardize the time spent on your job search each day, or utilize a checklist to ensure you're doing everything possible. Creating order out of chaos in any way possible will calm your nerves and take back control. 

You don't actually want a new job.

Sometimes a new job search is a reactive move after something unsatisfactory happens in our current roles. If you find yourself wanting to leave only when stuff hits the fan, maybe some part of you thinks there's hope left. You can make changes at your job, if you really do see the value in holding onto it. First quarters can bring an openness on management's part as well, as yearly company goals often encompass more than financial numbers. Company culture can always use an improvement and even a seemingly small change can have a big impact. See if higher ups are receptive to any critical changes needed for you to remain, and if they aren't, you can rest easy with the definitive knowledge that you've done all you can. Giving up on a job search is the same as giving up on a job: neither one feels great, but if you benefit from either decision then it's worth it in the long run. 

You're setting goals, not intentions

We know, we know, what's the difference between the two? Well, goals are naturally infused with pressure and a binary success or failure conclusion that can be discouraging if, well, life gets in the way. Reframing your goals as "intentions" may relieve you of the inevitable [need a different word for discouragement] that may come with not achieving your expected results when it comes to your job search. Think of intentions as more of a starting point, while goals are treated as an end point. This is a journey, and all bumps in the road can be hit with stride. 

A job search is a burdensome undertaking (though we know some people who can make it a little easier, *wink wink*), and it's very common to hit a rough patch or even to delay starting one in the first place. We'd suggest taking a look inward, ignoring outer influence, and evaluating if your materials are accurately and adequately portraying your professional self. There's no better time than a new year to do just that!