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How to Stand Tall & Get Out Of Your Job Search Shadow

Good news! Over the weekend, visionary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged from the ground and saw his shadow predicting an earlyPhoto from Twin Cities Natural Site, shows groundhog in winter with shadow spring…and six fewer weeks of winter.

Despite the good news, February can still feel like a cold and dark month — especially if you’re in the midst of a job search and waiting to hear back from employers. Here at StartWire’s headquarters, we’re still short on daylight. Today, our sun rose at 7:01 am and will set at 5:05. We’ll gain an average of 4 minutes of daylight every day — and see sunsets at 5:30 by month’s end. Still it’s a long time in the dark. (You can chart your own daylight here.)

Groundhog or no groundhog, one of the biggest challenges you may face in your own job search is getting out from your own shadow. The psychological process of applying and not hearing back promptly can be exhausting and can take an emotional toll on you. Just as many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder when there is a smaller amount of light, it’s not unusual for job seekers to experience depression or feel sad.  (Here are some of our suggestions on action steps you can take to deal with the blues.)

People often associate the blues with inaction — sleeping a lot or not being proactive. But, there can also be another side of it in the job search process: Do you find yourself feeling less sure of yourself?  Do you ever sit with your shoulders hunched over? Cross your arms when approached by strangers? Cover your mouth when you talk?

Are you hiding in your own shadow?

Don’t. It could cost you your next job offer.

Your non-verbal communication skills are as important — if not more important — than your words. In fact, it is estimated that up to 93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues… How you stand, speak, and gesture can make a tremendous difference in how your actions and words are interpreted by other people.

Fortunately, you can use a few simple techniques to stand taller, feel more confident, and make a stronger impression in person.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, has developed a two-minute routine you can use to stand taller, feel more confident — and get out of your own shadow. If you’ve got 20 minutes, watch her video here:

If you want the highlights, here are a few tips:

  1. Anything that you do to make you smaller, takes away your power in the eyes of others. This includes crossing your arms or legs and touching your face or neck.
  2. When you stand “wide,” make sweeping gestures with your arms — you appear more powerful.
  3. If you don’t feel powerful, one way to get there and increase your confidence is to fake it till you make it. One way to do this is to make yourself smile. To try this, put a pen lengthwise between your teeth and hold on to it for a minute. Feel better?
  4. Striking a powerful pose for as little as two minutes, can improve your confidence — and your performance. You can try it anytime — including before your next job interview.

Try it out and let us know how it works for you!


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