Throughout the career transition period
- Focus on the positive 20%: For each interview, especially the ones that you considered "failures", look for the 20% that worked. You may think that you completely bombed the interview, but I am sure there are many things that you did well. Here are some examples: "I built a good rapport with the interviewer"; "I was able to land an interview without much direct experiences"; "I told a great story about my past experience"; "I was on time", etc. Write these discoveries down in a list, continue to add to the list as your career transition progresses. Put the list somewhere visible and continue doing these positive behaviors. This idea came from Tom Chi's talk during Hive Global Leaders Program. The basic principal here is to focus on the positives of a "failure experience". While learning from what didn't work can help us not make the same mistakes the next time, it also makes us feel regretful and sad about the past experience. Therefore, in addition to learning from the mistakes, I encourage my clients to spend some efforts focusing on the 20% that worked. Doing this can help us stay more positive and confident as we inevitably encounter obstacles during our career transition.
- Positive experience meditation: Recall a past experience during which you performed very well and succeed at a certain difficult task. Each day, spend 5 minute meditate on that experience. With your eyes closed, try to recall as much details about this positive experience in your mind. Recall the exact place, the atmosphere, the people, the action you took, the words you and others were saying. Notice how your body feels during this meditation. This exercise can help you and your body remember what it feels like to be powerful and confident.
- Practice a power pose for 2 minutes: This idea came directly from Amy Cuddy's research. Before an interview, you can go to a private place (bathroom stall is usually a good option) and hold a power pose (see Amy's TED talk on what are power poses) for 2 minutes continuously. You may feel silly doing this, but if scientific research shows that it increases confidence and lowers stress hormone, why shouldn't we give it a try? :)
- Positive experience meditation for 2 minutes: This is basically doing the daily positive experience meditation, but right before the interview. Instead of nervously memorizing your answers before the interview, which only increases stress, try this meditation/imaging technique to put your mindset in a positive and confident place.
- Sit straight, take up a reasonable amount of space with your body and be aware of your body position: Obviously we cannot lean back and put our feet on the table during an interview. However, I have noticed in myself that sitting up straight, with my arms supported on the table or chair, and taking up a reasonable amount of space physically with my body, increases my presence in the room and makes me feel that I am more in control. I encourage you to be more aware of your body posture/body language during an interview so that you can develop what works best for you.