Controlling the Controllables

09/23/2019Staff Writer
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When it comes to searching for a job, I constantly hear words like scary, nerve-racking, frustrating, and deflating when I ask someone how their search is going. The truth is, job searching canbe all of these things, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to having a more pleasant and beneficial job search experience is understanding how to “control the controllables”!

While you are looking for a job, there are certain things that are within your control and others that’s fall outside of your power. Factors such as the job market or the amount of currently open opportunities in your local area might be things that you are not able to control. However, there are other factors that you do have control over! Let’s dive into the 3 areas that you have complete control over when you are looking for a new job. 

Personal Brand:

There is nothing that we have more control over than our personal brand and how we present ourselves to the outside world. Whether we are talking about your resume, your LinkedIn page, or how your present yourself in an interview, these are all factors that you have the power to make as strong, or as weak, as you want. Everyone has heard the cliché, “you never get a second chance at a first impression,” and that relates directly back to your personal branding. How are you presenting yourself on social media? How does your resume reflect your professional persona? How are you communicating with recruiters and hiring managers? If you were on the other side of the interview table or computer, would you hire you? These are all questions that you need to honestly ask yourself and determine if there are areas of improvement.


Networking is a crucial factor in a job search and it is something that every person can do to help themselves. Whether you have 5-10 years of experience, or zero experience at all, you can always network and build connections. Reaching out to past co-workers or managers, or professors and friends is a great way to start your networking process. It might feel awkward or uncomfortable at the beginning, but I can guarantee that these past relationships will help in your job search.

Oftentimes, I have people tell me that they feel slimy or rude when I suggest that they reach out to past co-workers or friends to see if they can help in their job search. But once I explain that people love to help other people, the mindset changes. Put yourself on the other side of the conversation…pretend that an old co-worker, who you enjoyed working with, reached out to you and explained that he/she was out of a job. Would you want to help them? Would you be willing to give them some perspective or suggestions about who might be good to talk to? Nine times out of ten, I would bet that you would want to help your old co-worker find a job! So, don’t hesitate to reach out to those people who you have/had relationships with. The worst they can say is “sorry buddy, I can’t help you,” but nothing is lost from reaching out! Silence the voices in your head saying, “they don’t care” or “they won’t be any help,” and just reach out! I promise that you will get a lot further in your job search!


When you are out of a job for more than a couple months, “upskilling” can be a great thing for you to do in your spare time. “Upskilling” means taking a course or training and helping to advance your skills in the area that you want to grow into. Many people say, “but that costs money, and I am out of a job so I can’t spend money on more training,” but the truth is, CareerCircle provides discounted trainings for you and the couple-hundred dollars that you spend on a course to advance your career is 100% worth it. Think about it from a hiring managers perspective. If you go into an interview after being out of work for 6 months and the hiring manager asks you what you have been doing for the past 6 months while you have been job search, do you think that the hiring manager will be more impressed with hearing that you have taken a course in the specific skills you are interviewing for, or do you think he/she wants to hear that you haven’t been expanding your skills? That’s an easy one, right? Every Hiring Manager loves to see candidates taking initiative and investing in their own knowledge. It shows that you are eager to learn and committed to growing your career! Do yourself a favor and invest a small amount of money in “upskilling,” I can promise you that the short term sacrifice will lead to long term gain!

So, if you are reading this post and feeling a little discouraged about your current job search, I challenge you to reflect on whether you are “controlling the controllables,” and if not, let’s make the change and turn your job search experience around! You got this!