by David Scoppa

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

– Wayne Gretzky

Recently I came across this inspiring quote by Wayne Gretzky, the greatest (ice) hockey player, to ever skate. Many sports can be linked to personal development, however I really like this quote as it is completely related to your career.  Also I don’t mind hockey despite living in sunny Australia.

Reflecting on your career, has there been a time when you have missed an opportunity because you decided not to apply?

Perhaps at the time you felt you weren’t ready or questioned your skills, background and experience you could offer and thus self-assessed yourself out of the opportunity.

Self-assessing out of career opportunities is a common occurrence. This way of thinking stems from doubting our abilities and fear of failure rather than focusing our attention on the positives of what new opportunities could potentially bring.

Applying for new jobs or a promotion is the clearest example to describe this.

Regularly I hear staff members talk themselves out of applying for positions for various reasons. The general scenario is how they feel they do not meet one or maybe two aspects of the position and thus believe they are not suitable at all. They won’t even put in an application for a chance at an interview. Based on their personal opinion and self-assessment, there is only one outcome and that is simply they will miss out on the opportunity.

When faced with the dilemma on whether to apply for a career opportunity, it is important to remember many factors can influence the recruitment outcome. For example, a hiring manager may be looking for a candidate with an edge or a set of skills similar to what you have to offer. They may see qualities in your application that other applicants do not demonstrate or motivation that can be developed through training and coaching.

It is also important to remember that the hiring manager’s interpretation of the position and the skills/experience discussed in the job advert/position description will be different to yours so I strongly believe you have to let them make the decision and the only way to do this is to put in an application.

With all job applications, there is always the potential of receiving unsuccessful news when seeking new opportunities however, look for positives. Valuable feedback through applying for jobs allows you to gain an insight into the skills and experience you need to work on so you can be in a better position to succeed for the next application. There is also the chance of secondary opportunities popping up and you being top of mind for such roles within that organisation.

In addition to receiving feedback and potentially being on the radar for future positions, I believe it is your reaction to such setbacks that is what will set you up for future success. Unsuccessful outcomes can be difficult to take at the time, however developing your resilience to move forward is the key to successfully navigating through the job application journey. Resilience allows you develop positive thinking and continuously improve and thus manage your expectations for future similar situations.

In saying this, I do not mean you should lower your expectations, however remind yourself that job interviews are a competitive process and if you are going to be applying, then you need to be able to manage the potential of receiving unsuccessful outcomes.

The easy option may seem to simply wait for the next opportunity or question your level or experience, however in years to come, you will look back on missed opportunities and see them as positives for many reasons and you may even be able to link them to your current success.

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