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Your Career Matters: Mindfulness Leads to a Successful Job Search

Nikki barnett final
Nikki Barnett, Assistant Director of Alumni Career Services

We are living in a fast-paced world, with a strong need for immediate gratification. External expectations to achieve career success are high and your available energy for remaining focused and motivated is often low. Even if we have some time to think about our next career step, our minds are swarming with the many other things we need to do, which makes it hard to focus and engage with the task at hand. The latest studies show that mindfulness improves focus, emotional regulation, relationships, and decision-making; all of these skills are required and essential to making strategic career decisions.

Mindfulness is a super skill. Take this quick Mindfulness Quiz and learn about your current level of mindfulness; enhance this skill by practicing a little each day. Cultivating a clear mind starts with having one place where you can write down and keep track of and measure your thoughts and actions. Being present with your experiences and developing a system that works for you will provide a solid foundation for a successful job search and cultivates a growth mindset; where we learn to persist in the face of setbacks. TIP: Use Trello to manage your job search. Click here for a job search sample board.

In the face of a challenging job search, rather than defaulting to a disjointed and/or disorganized way of managing your to- do lists, here are 2 ways to approach the job search process, mindfully.  

1)   Slow down and focus on depth, not breadth. A common misstep job seekers make is maintaining a broad job search with the hope that someone (anyone) will hire them. Instead, take a minimalist approach and narrow your search to one or two career interests and deepen your market intelligence by using reliable sources.

Create a target company list and learn as much as you can about these companies and career fields – then go even deeper. Whom are you having career conversations with in order to learn more? Are you looking at the career center section within professional association websites to gain valuable industry insight? Learning more information will help you ask meaningful questions and better engage a network of support.

2)   Nurture authentic connections and be curious about others. When you interact with people, do you listen to them? I mean…really listen? Being present and giving people your undivided attention can be very rare. Most people think about what they want to say next while others are talking, or they think about their own agenda. Click here to read about Eight Habits of Curious People. To further develop your connections, tap in to our networking and mentoring platform: SBU CampusTap

Developing a skill of mindfulness provides job seekers with the opportunity to be more present and aware from moment-to-moment. Eventually, this practice will allow you to observe emotions and less likely to be controlled by them when responding to strong emotions. Pause and think through a plan of action; feel connected to and invested in your plan, and recruit others you trust to help further develop your plan. Finally, develop a framework to deepen career and company knowledge and seek to truly connect with people.

Visit the Help Me Explore and Help Me Job Hunt sections on the Alumni Career Service website to learn more.

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